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Topic: Like a Fish Out of Water( 10/24/13)
A Whale of An Opportunity
By LaVonne Wood
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There is no turning back now, I reasoned. With my family rejecting my new-found faith I had nowhere else to go. Everything I owned was still packed into my car except the few bags I needed for the night.
Housing officials didn’t know quite what to do with me, since I was older than all the other freshmen. Should they keep me in the freshman dorm or move me over to the second -forth year dorm? Arriving in the middle of the school year added to the situation. They said they would decide in the morning. Meanwhile, I could sleep in a storage room for the night. I somehow felt unwanted already.
I didn’t sleep a wink that first night. It was 30 degrees below zero in this North Dakota town, and the room felt extra cold. I found out later that the heat was turned real low because the room was not normally used. Don’t know if warmth would have made any difference anyway, since I was terrified of my new surroundings. The bible verse my pastor gave me, “I can do all things through Christ which stengtheneth me (Phil.4:13 KJV),” kept racing through my mind and helped me to stay.
Coming from a background of a domineering father and a non-social environment, I felt lost with some 400 students surrounding me. I had gone to a one-room country grade school with only four classmates in my eighth grade. I took my high school by correspondence so I could work more on the family farm. The fact that this was a Christian college gave me a little hope. Yet, how could I make it through this year with almost no social skills.
The next day proved to be more inviting with friendly personal and a loving atmosphere in the whole school. Leaving me in the freshman dorm eventually turned out to be the correct decision. I soon embraced my new surroundings and made many new friends. Yet, rather than becoming one of the crowd, my maturity and common sense enticed the girls to seek me for advice and prayer. Many started calling me “the counselor”.
I made it through that first semester with a lot of prayer and a lot of help from my new Christian friends teaching me how to socialize and especially how to have fun.
I never did make it out of the freshman dorm. The next two years I took the position of RA (resident assistant) in that same dorm. With that position, I made it a priority to get to know every girl on my floor intimately. We prayed together, cried together, played together and studied together.
To my surprise, I was asked to be Assistant Dorm Counselor my third year and held that position for the next two years.
What seemed to me, at first, like being a fish out of water that first semester, turned out to be a whale of an opportunity to serve God the rest of my time in college. I took courses in Social Science with the intention of becoming a full time counselor upon graduation. I learned that God usually puts us in positions where we need to depend on Him to see us through. He knows the plans He has for us and leads us accordingly (Isa.42:16). Then He uses us in a mighty way to touch others. I’m so glad I stayed that first night.
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