In a beautifully written letter to theHeart, Sandy Siegel shares her appreciation for a church family that has meant so much to her daughters and to their family over the past seven years.
By Sandy Siegel, Mountaineer Mom
As parents preparing to send our kids to App State, we read, re-read, and discussed the book “How to Stay Christian in College”. And that was our prayer: that our daughters would not walk away from their faith during their college years. We prayed often and hard but with a low bar: that our girls would still identify as Christ-followers upon graduation. God answered our prayer so far beyond anything we had dared even hope for. Isn’t that our promise in Ephesians 3:20 from “…Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”?
In addition to campus ministries and Christian roommates and friends, God quickly brought both of our girls to theHeart. Our oldest daughter would walk both ways from campus during her freshman year. (Our youngest didn’t have to suffer such hardship since we required her sister to drive her and her freshman friends each week.) It is here where their faith was nurtured, challenged, and stretched. We’ve been Mountaineer parents for a total of seven years and, during our frequent trips to Boone we, too, have grown to love this body of believers.
theHeart is a special place where our family has been led to know God better, follow Christ closer, and love one another better. We were skeptical at first of the skinny-jean wearing, pony-tailed pastors, and admit to listening intently (more like critically) to each sermon to ensure the teaching was Biblical, solid, and true. It was. Week after week.
When our youngest went to Emoyeni for three months the summer before her junior year and came home four days before classes resumed, we drove her back to Boone. My mother’s heart was aching and fearful not having had time to debrief her about the life-changing spiritual and relational things she had just experienced. We were warned about reverse culture shock. Would she be "OK" back in Boone after living in Africa for three months? How would we know if she wasn’t? How had she changed? How did her relationship with the Lord change? But, when we came to worship that Sunday and talked with Josh and saw the love of Christ in his eyes through the tears in our own, we knew beyond any doubt when he assured us “we have her”, that God had her. Our tears of fear turned to ones of relief and joy.
So, when you welcome college students, disciple them, offer them fellowship, open your Bibles and homes to them, and feed them, you are the answer to many parents’ somewhat desperate prayers for their children as they send them up the mountain to school. It has been our pleasure, blessing, and privilege to support theHeart with our prayers, attendance, and financial giving. And know, too, that the last part of that verse in Ephesians says “…according to His power that is at work within us.”
God’s power is at work at theHeart. And we praise Him for that. And each of you.
Your Voice Matters
Sharing how this time of uncertainty has affected you can be life-changing. It gives you the opportunity to process things while also allowing your church family to learn something profound from your experience. Through your personal story, we all get to see God at work in real and meaningful ways. And don't we all need that kind of hope right now? Understandably sharing your story can feel intimidating, but we want to give voice to your insights—they matter. Whether it's written, captured with photos, or recorded on your iPhone, would you consider contributing to theHeart Blog? Here's how it works:
Email your story idea to firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh will contact you directly to discuss how best your story can be told on theHeart Blog (written, photos, video).