I didn’t plan to go to Northeastern. My trajectory from the time I was little until my senior year of high school was to attend college in North Carolina and earn a music degree. Last fall, however, my dad became a professor at Northeastern Baptist College, and I enrolled in NEBC’s dual credit Early Scholars program for my last year of high school. Even as a high school girl, I found that musical abilities were in such high demand here that I and my fellow music students couldn’t stretch ourselves thin enough to help all of the churches who need musicians and worship leaders. Realizing that musical talent is a huge vehicle for communicating God’s truth, I began to wonder if God had a specific purpose for me here in the Northeast, where my life could make a greater impact, rather than being “one in a million” in the South. For months I thought about it, prayed, and constantly vacillated between the two colleges.
One day, after praying earnestly, President Ballard spoke in chapel. He had the mic passed around the room so that multiple students and faculty could share how God had specifically worked in their lives while being a part of NEBC. The stories were awesome, and inspiring to live a life of faith like theirs. However, as I listened, I still felt empty of any direction for school, since I knew I could live that life of faith no matter where I stood on the globe. I needed some kind of direction why one place might be better than the other. Professor King then recited a quote that hit me, “Whenever you see God at work, its an invitation to join him.”
Rachel and her Dad at her High School Graduation
Those words hit me and stuck with me. God is working all over the USA, but I know without a doubt that He’s working in amazing ways at Northeastern. Everyone is invited to join Him. It was not a coincidence that I had spent a year at NEBC as an Early Scholar and seen first hand how God is at work here. In addition, I had known for a long time that my musical abilities were especially valuable in this area where many churches need people to lead worship. Thankful to God for his faithfulness to guide me, I decided to study at Northeastern. Here, I can get the musical education I need, while at the same time delving straight into God’s eternal work along side my schoolmates.
I have already become invested in God’s work here by becoming the Pianist at First Baptist Church in Bennington. Like He guided me to enroll at Northeastern, God showed His hand in leading me to be a part of this church. At a moment when I was about to move from New York to Vermont, was preparing to graduate from high school, was applying to college, and had just finished my first year of college as an Early Scholar, getting a job was far from my thoughts. However, my sister pushed me to send my resume to First Baptist since we’d both noticed a flyer for the open Pianist position. Four days after moving to my new home in Vermont, I met with the Pastor of FBC, Bob Wiegers, for an interview.
Rachel playing piano and singing at First Baptist Church.
Within one week of that first meeting I had been offered the job, prayed, and accepted it. First Baptist Church is a beautiful old stone building in the center of Bennington, in which there is not only a church body, but also a variety of social programs, like a free clinic and services for those affected by domestic violence. Consequently, the church is well known by the people in Bennington, setting it up for prime opportunity to share the gospel in the community. I am excited to be a part of God’s work, and even this past week was delighted to hear from Pastor Weigers that I was an influence in a young man’s salvation through the Sunday morning worship. I hope to continue investing into First Baptist Church with God’s help, and I hope to be able to contribute in my own small way to God’s amazing work here at NEBC.