Work stations set up on saw horses, smells of paint and sawdust, sounds of saws and hammers and lots of people were what greeted me the evening my family and I arrived at Jehovah Jireh Hall. I’ll never forget Michael, the Residence Director, walking up to us and apologetically explaining that the paint in my dorm room was still wet, so I would not be able to move in until tomorrow. That night as I sat on the bed in one of the dorm guest rooms, I considered the unexpected journey of how God had led me to attend NEBC.
The first time I heard about Northeastern Baptist College, I was a freshman in high school. At the time, I never considered the possibility of attending NEBC. I was positive that God was directing me towards a profession where I could share the Gospel while caring for the sick. Therefore, I believed that God was calling me to be a nurse. By the time my junior year of high school arrived, the details of furthering my education fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I was going to attend an area Bible Institute for a year and then attend a community college and major in Nursing. I was certain that everything would run smoothly and within a few years I would be using my medical knowledge on the mission field.
Jenelle’s work study position is Clerical Assistant for the Academic department
However, God had a different plan in mind and the May proceeding my high school graduation I stopped at a NEBC admissions booth while attending a homeschool conference. Although I was still not interested in attending the college, I decided to fill out the first step in the application. After I filled out the application I shared with Tim, the Admissions Director, that I would have to earnestly seek God’s direction concerning attending NEBC because at the moment I felt that God was leading me in another direction.
Tim replied “Our desire is that every student follows God’s direction for their life, even if that means not attending NEBC.” He shared a scripture verse with me and then asked me a question that changed my life, “How can I pray for you?” As Tim prayed that God would give me direction concerning my future academic pursuits and that God would richly bless me, my heart became open to attending the college for the first time. If they had a student and staff member this committed to living out what they said they believed, then I had to be willing to at least consider becoming a student.
A year later, I arrived at Jehovah Jireh Hall. I was preparing to begin my first year as a student at the college, where I felt God calling me to major in Christian Counseling. God had placed within me a desire to heal, and through His word and much prayer God revealed that I could do that through counseling. Because, after all, spiritual healing is even more vital than physical healing. After a few months of classes, God again began to direct me. This time He was asking me to add a Biblical Studies Concentration to my degree.
Jenelle (center) on a mission trip to Scotland with NEBC.
“God, are you sure?” I thought. “If I’m supposed to add a concentration, couldn’t I add Business?” “Doesn’t it seem like that would be helpful for a Counseling practice?” But, once again, I was seeking my own desires. I longed to do what I thought I would enjoy the most, rather than what God knew was best. God has since helped me see that by adding this concentration, I can aid in the work of church planting by using the skills of counseling to aid in the discipleship process of developing churches and offer support to the wives and children of the planters as they navigate the process of adjusting to a new environment as they serve God.
Yet even in the midst of seeing a glimpse of God’s future plans for me, God reminds me that He has blessed me with everything I possess. And one day even my dreams may mold with His, and I might be blessed to work in administration as well. God’s plans are always bigger and better than mine could ever be. Attending NEBC has been a part of the story that God has written for my life, because those at this school faithfully, and prayerfully believe in the power and majesty of God’s plan–His plan for individuals, for churches and communities, and for the world. They are willing to dream God-sized dreams.