A good teacher is one who cares about their students as more than just students, but as unique individuals who deserve your time and love. Throughout my life I have been blessed with several teachers like this. They care about your education, but also ask about your dreams and seek to get to know you as a person outside of the school day. There are so many great teachers here at Nyack who go above and beyond their required seat hours to pour into the lives of their students. As an intercultural studies major a few of my teachers live on campus and I have had the pleasure of going over to their houses and sharing a meal with them. It was wonderful to be able to spend time in community with these teachers and other classmates as we discuss life issues and our dreams for the future. This has been a huge blessing during my time here at Nyack so far.
There is one teacher in particular who I believe was a wonderful teacher inside of the classroom as well as a person who I knew I could talk to even once I finished his class. Barry Jordan was the missionary in residence this year at Nyack College and was the teacher of my Culture and Communication’s class. He, his wife Patty, and their family have been serving in Indonesia as missionaries for many years now, but have spent their last year on furlough at Nyack. Barry has become a sort of father-figure on campus through his open-door policy and continuing friendly gestures towards all students as well as the name by which myself and many other students call him. His name on campus is ‘Bapak’ which is the word for father in the country which he serves. When I was in Bapak’s class I learned much about culture and specifically about the people of Indonesia as one can quickly see his love for these people. I learned much from his personally stories of different situations which he had encountered on the mission field. It was truly a wonderful class to be a part of as I gained knowledge, but also made lasting friendships with my classmates and my teacher. Even though the class ended in December I still carry on a relationship with Bapak as well as many friendships that were born and nurtured in that class. Even now I have made many visits to Bapak’s house, nestled in the center of campus, for dinner, parties, or just to show up on his front lawn to be invited in for cake and ice cream. Bapak and his family’s hospitality and love was a huge gift to this campus for the past year and he will surely be missed as he heads back to do God’s work again in Indonesia.
You go to college to learn and equip yourself for the work force however it is the people you meet and friends who quickly become family who make college such an unparalled experience. Just living life beside these amazing people has greatly enhanced my life and taught me countless lessons. Giving people your time is one of the greatest gifts you could give a person whether you are studying for a Spanish test, making a late night run to Dunkin Donuts or going out for dinner. These are the places where you become more than a fellow student, but a friend through living intentionally with one another.
There is such an indescribable and deep bond you can form just by eating dinner with a friend on a regular basis and sharing in intentional conversation. God has put a lot of wonderful women in my life and once a week I sit down for dinner in the cafeteria with one girl who I have gotten very close to. We meet and talk about our day and our lives in general. It is something I look forward to all that day and throughout the week. Just to know that someone cares and wants to listen to your life is so valuable as you deal with some of the stresses that come along with college life. This relationship has been a huge blessing in my life as we make time outside of classes or dorm life to invest in a meaningful and encouraging friendship.
So coffee dates and dinners in the caf are such blessings, but it is also great when I get the chance to go off campus and have fun at one of the many amazing eateries in and around Nyack. This area of New York is so diverse and full of so many different opportunities to experience new foods and cultures or to just relax and cure the occasional home sickness with some comfort food. I have spent countless nights journeying late-night to Applebees for half price appetizers, spending hours in laughter and conversation. I have had my fair share of risky trips through the snow in order to secure cannolis and muffins from Rockland Bakery. And, I have spent many a day in downtown Nyack sharing a meal with a friend at one of the diverse restaurants in the community. When it comes down to it we are all students, but more than that we all desire community and sharing a meal is a great way to connect with people. God has blessed me with many wonderful and new people in my life and I love how there are so many unique ways to spend quality time with them as we grow together.
Love Jesus. Grow with Others. Serve the World. These three phrases sum up my life in a whole. I picked up this mantra from my church back home in Northeast Ohio. I never fully understood how perfect it was until I started here at Nyack College in fall 2011. I was moving to a place where everything was unknown and scary. But, it didn’t take long for me to realize my purpose in this community. In college I have slowly been finding out more and more about myself. Through that experience I had to hold on tight to Jesus and trust that he was making me into a woman after his own heart. I have learned so much about God’s heart for me as I have been away at school. However, the best part is that I am not going through this college journey alone. The community of Nyack College and the many friends I have made are always around to support me as they grow alongside me. Whether we a worshipping our way through a Deeper Life series, praying our way through a Bible study, or crying alongside each other when we a facing trials, we stick together as a community of believers. There are so many people to meet and new friends to make. I quickly learned that if you open yourself up and reach out to people they will bring countless blessings into your life and truely enrich your time here at Nyack.
In addition we are serving the world around us as we reach out to the community of Nyack, the people of New York City, and the world. One of the things I love about this school is its location. You could walk down town and serve with organizations such as the Nyack Homeless project. You could catch the bus to New York City at any time and go interact with people from all over the world. Or you could even take a trip to another country on a Global Service Learning trip. This place is full of opportunity, and for me as an Inter-cultural studies major this is something I thrive off of. Nyack is not only equipping me for my future on the mission field, but opening the door for me to serve right now. It all boils down to the fact that Nyack is a place where I can love and grow deeper with Jesus, grow with the people around me, and serve the world in new and exciting ways.