Attending Ambassador Bible College was a unique experience in my life. Not simply due to the COVID-19 pandemic causing the cancellation of in-person classes, but because of the purpose it instilled in me, the knowledge I was given of God’s Word and the opportunity for practical application that gave me a safe environment to grow.
Throughout every class, every seminar, and every meeting at ABC was the common thread: What does God expect from me as a member of His family and what is my purpose in His Church? I learned the importance of ambassadorship and service—that it is not a glamorous vocation given only to the ministry, but a calling God has for each one of us.
I had the opportunity to be the music director for my class and to work with Mr. Shoemaker and Chad Browning to put together a musical program. That experience was one of the highlights of my year. As a pianist, I had never felt a sense of passion or pride about special music but mostly felt nervous that I would make a mistake. However, Mr. Shoemaker brought such a zeal for serving God through music that it showed me that God uses every aspect of our church service and of our lives to show His love and His power.
I’ve grown up in the Church and was baptized in January 2015, yet I never knew the Bible could come alive the way it did at ABC. The faculty balanced the curriculum with deep understanding of the Bible. Many students, including myself, said that they had come to ABC not for the social atmosphere, but for biblical knowledge. Our class was uniquely held to that statement when safety measures for COVID-19 canceled nearly every single event ABC students usually put together.
I will not sugarcoat things; it was a painful three months watching everything we had worked toward—chorale performances, the charity auction, the class trip, graduation celebrations—be canceled. I personally struggled to understand why it happened the year I came to ABC. However, I realized that an important part of life and the Ambassador Bible College program was not and could never be canceled: knowledge of God and study of His Word. Classes continued online and although it was a less personal learning approach, I learned more than I thought possible. Importantly, I learned that God wanted me to open my Bible and spend time getting to know Him regardless of circumstances. Socials and ceremonies are not the priority—God is.
The faculty is there to help you succeed—and that includes challenging you to grow and learn. Whether you are a recent high school graduate, in college, a recent college graduate (like me!), in the middle of a career or retired, ABC is a program that will meet you where you are at and support you to grow. If you come willing to put in the work, you will excel and learn more than you thought possible. It is truly a safe place to ask the nitty gritty questions about God, about the Church and about yourself.
COVID-19 may have left our class saddened because we were separated and unable to finish the year together, but it also gave us a greater appreciation for each other. The small pet peeves or little squabbles that resulted from being in class together all day every day seemed so insignificant when we could no longer crack jokes in the lunch line or give each other a hug good morning. Our class was smaller, and some could say on the quiet side, but we were strong and through the struggle of staying positive no matter what events were canceled, we became a family.
After ABC, I now go about my daily life with a renewed sense of purpose that I am a child of God, an ambassador of His way of life and an individual that is able to give an answer for the hope that lies within me.