I didn’t come from a very strong faith background. Even though I went to church occasionally, I never truly knew what it meant to be a Christian. I would tell people I was Christian, but I had no relationship with God.


I wanted that to change, but I was never quite sure how. One of my first steps in strengthening my faith was coming to Goshen College. I saw Goshen as a small Christian private school with a running program that I would love to be a part of.


At the time, I saw this as a place where I could grow in my faith and figure out what it meant to truly be a Christian.


I am almost finished with my third year here, and it hasn’t quite been how I would have expected it to be. Instead of finding my faith through the institution itself, I have found it in the everyday people and communities in Goshen.


For now, I’d like to write about just a few of those moments.


It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t start out writing about how much my current roommates have impacted my faith.


From the beginning of my first year here at Goshen College, Kelsey Winters was planting seeds in me, whether she knew that or not. She was showing me what it meant to be a Christian, but also how to be kind and loving to everyone.


My second year is when I became closer with one of my other roommates, Lourdes Resendiz. I am sure that she doesn’t realize it either, but she has shown me how to not just talk about my faith, but actually act out my faith.


And last, but surely not least, Nasim Rasoulipour. Nasim, who is not a Christian, has shown me so much about what it means to act out my faith.


She has taught me how to listen to others and how to be open to different opinions, ideas, backgrounds and everything in between. She taught me how to find the commonality in our differences.


All three of these women have shown me how faith impacts their lives by living each day with patience, kindness and love.


They are only three of the many others who have played a huge role in my faith journey since coming to Goshen College.


When I reflect on what has had the biggest impact on my spiritual growth, it is never the college itself. It hasn’t been the Bible studies. It hasn’t been the chapels. It hasn’t been any of the programming.


While I have gained a lot from my roles and experiences on campus, when it comes to growing my faith, people have made all the difference.


I am not sure what the Student Ministry Team will look like after this year. I am not sure how Goshen College will change after I graduate. Honestly, I am not even sure where I am heading.


I do know one thing though. We have to embrace and appreciate the amazing people we have around us. I believe the key to living the best life we can is by living in community and relationship with one another.


If you feel like the people surrounding you aren’t supportive or good influences, for whatever reason, I encourage you to step out in faith. Find friends that encourage and empower you. Take some time and actually get to know the person next to you.


If you would like a resource for connecting with others, the Student Ministry Team is starting Belong Groups this week. Find a group of people, a place where you can feel welcomed and accepted, and watch yourself grow and develop.


Relationships beat programming every single time.