Tuesday, October 20, 2015

New College & Unconscious Influence

It has been a whole new experience for me to attend a secular, public college. My initial impression of the school on the first day classes was that of a busy airport... everyone seemed to be going about their own business, hauling their luggage (school backpacks in this case), trying to locate their correct "gate" (classroom) before the "plane embarked" (lecture commenced).  It was rare that I would gain eye contact with someone, much less exchange a smile...

This is different for me. You see, walking around on the Ouachita Hills College (which I still call my school) campus is an almost polar opposite experience. Wherever you are, either on the sidewalk or in the hallway, you almost never pass someone without exchanging some kind of greeting and a warm smile.  Friendly conversations are often heard echoing through the hallways between students or students and teachers. Everyone knows everyone at this school. It's like a big family. I'm truly blessed to be able to pursue my dream in health evangelism (Nursing), while still living in the midst of this warm, Christian campus. (Disclaimer: Even though the above is true, OHC is not a perfect campus and there are occasionally times when student's interactions are not so warm.)

So back to my new school, National Park College. There is such a kaleidoscope of different styles, cultures, clothing, & attitudes there. There are the timid youngsters fresh out of high-school, stressed-out parents who came back to school because they want to have a better paying job, artsy students that dress in astonishing outfits and some even topped off with bright blue hair.

Then there's the few overconfident body builders and the prissy, fancy girls that look like they spent two hours getting ready that morning. And there are a few bold homeschoolers that don't quite yet have their social skills refined - like the one guy that strides through the middle of campus with earbuds in his ears, enthusiastically singing along with his music. You just can't miss him.

Interestingly enough there are even a few girls that wear skirts like me. (Most of the girls that wear skirts have super long hair like the lady in my Algebra class that has hair so long it brushes her calves.)

Overall, I have enjoyed the classes so far... The teachers seem nice enough and I like how organized they are (probably because I'm a very organized person). The variety of new faces are becoming more familiar and I'm making friends with a few of them. I am realizing again that people are people wherever I go. All humans have their own triumphs and difficulties, their own joys and sorrows. And all of us need a Savior.

Another thing that's different in the NPC classes is that there's no mention of a loving Creator in heaven, who cares about us - even in A&P class that simply oozes with evidence for a wise, intelligent design. There are no prayers offered at the beginning of classes, like was the practice at OHC. I miss that.

I am so thankful that I had went to OHC first... where the Bible classes were more like a mini GYC (Generation of Youth for Christ) seminar session than a college lecture and where the teachers truly care about their students as if they were their own children. The principles I learned there have helped to create a strong foundation for my life and future.

~     ~     ~
Now for the story...
One morning early in the semester during a break between classes, I found a nice quiet picnic table up on a little rise by some office buildings. As I dusted it off, I noticed a guy from my college Algebra class seemed to be observing me from his picnic table across the way. I didn’t think much of it and sat down to study for the quiz in my next A&P class.

About 30 minutes later, I heard footsteps behind me. “Who could that be? Does that girl from A&P class want to study with me or something??”

I turned around and saw that it was that curly-haired guy from my Algebra class. He offered his hand for a handshake. 

“Hi, my name is Andrew. What’s yours?”

“Hannah.” I replied. Trying to quickly sift through my memory, I wondered, "Am I supposed to remember him from somewhere??"

He shyly continued. “Uh, well. I just wanted to let you know... that uh, well... I really appreciate it when girls dress modestly. Keep it up!”

“Oh... well, praise God!” I responded.

As he walked away, I realized anew that we Christians are being watched and may have more of an influence than we realize. It was also an encouragement to continue dressing modestly even if most everyone else wears mini shorts and tank tops. I think we girls don't realize how much of a breath of fresh air it is for the guys to be able to be around a young woman without being tempted by seeing too much form or skin. 

It probably took a lot of courage for him to come all the way over to my picnic table, which was not right along the path... especially at a community college where everyone is going about his/her merry way and sometimes don’t even seem to notice that you’re even there. 

This experience reminded of these words of inspiration:

"Our words, our acts, our dress, our deportment, even the expression of the countenance, has an influence... by our unconscious influence thousands may be blessed." God's Amazing Grace p. 231 

"The unstudied, unconscious influence of a holy life is the most convincing sermon that can be given in favor of Christianity. Argument, even when unanswerable, may provoke only opposition; but a godly example has a power that it is impossible wholly to resist."  Gospel Workers p. 59

It is my prayer that my life will reflect the lovely character of my Savior. May it be a light that shines brightly for Him in this world of sin & darkness.

May our lives be a witness for God wherever we go...

Remember you do have a powerful influence on those around you... Be a light for God.

No comments:

Post a Comment