Campus News

Students reflect on extraordinary day

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The following are writings from students about the events on campus Wednesday, Feb. 16. Jordan Hall There was a point in time when it became clear that this was not an ordinary chapel. It started off like any other service. Prayer and announcements gave way to worship and from that point on, things were just a little different. “Open the blind eyes Unlock the deaf ears Come to Your people As we draw near Hear us from heaven Touch our generation We are Your people Crying out in desperation”  We sang this over and over, seemingly a prophetic invitation for God to do what he would in that auditorium. Jeff Kling, recent cancer survivor, took the stage next. He shared unbelievable testimony about what God had done in his life. Jeff had gone from having stage four cancer to being completely rid of it in roughly two weeks. In 2009, Jeff was diagnosed with a cancer that had started in his back and was spreading quickly to other areas of his body. He had encountered a woman in the waiting room while going in for tests that had the same affliction. This woman told Jeff that God had told her to pray for healing for him. Not much for spiritual things, Jeff, in desperation, agreed. Things went on as planned and while lying in his hospital bed after surgery, Jeff literally heard from God, telling him how much He loves him and how he had to use this affliction to get his attention. After that experience all tests have shown that he is completely cancer-free, despite the reluctance of his doctors to believe. He has since traveled around the area, sharing the amazing news of what God had done for him.             At the conclusion of the message, Jeff seemed at a loss for how to handle the situation and asked Bethel’s Senior Vice President Dennis Engbrecht to help him with an alter call. After a long time of watching streams of people flood to the altar, Engbrecht asked the audience if anyone had a word from the Lord, and so it began. What followed defied the imagination of virtually everyone in the room. One person read verses that had been laid on his heart. Then another. Then another. Eventually part of the chapel band retook the stage and led the audience in some impromptu worship. Then members of the audience took up instruments and played pieces that God had laid on their heart. All the while, the lines of people, clamoring to give their testimony, grew. The spirit moved in different ways in different people. It led some to confess hidden sin, others to share a word of encouragement, and still others to testify to what God had done in their lives.  The chapel audience was undeniably captured at the point. Though it was well past 11, few people left. More people continued to go down to the altar while still more boldly left their seats to join the line of people to speak on-stage. There was poetry read, hymns sung, and prayers offered. As morning gave way to afternoon, the lines only grew longer as more and more people called to join in. Noon ran into 1 which turned in 5. It was at this point that it was determined that a dinner break was needed. Vespers was moved to the auditorium to accommodate the mass of people.  After a long day of spiritual revival and ground breaking progress, Vespers gave sobering news; all of this is for naught if we keep it to ourselves. While the life change here is real, it is not meant to be kept to ourselves. Like with the great Bethel Revival of 1991, it is now our job to take what we have heard, seen, and experienced and take it to the world. Revival has hit Bethel College, it remains to be seen how far it will spread. Lydia Beers It was a Wednesday. Students filed into the Everest-Rohr, some begrudgingly as they considered what else they could be doing with the next 50 minutes of their time. As usual, staff members passed out something at the door—that day it was a survey, asking what classes Bethel should offer for May term and summer. Shouts to friends and loud chatter filled the room, from the very first row of seats all the way up to the seats much closer to the high ceiling. The smell of somebody’s breakfast wafted through the stuffy air as people crammed into the crowded seating areas. Backpacks and bags littered the floor, giving the feeling of being packed in. The students of Bethel College had made it to the middle of another week—only two school days left until the weekend. Just a few more hours, and the day would be mostly over. The few hours passed, and where the auditorium is usually deserted except for the odd band or choir practice, hundreds of students from the morning’s chapel still remained. Inspired by the speaker, Jeff Kling telling his story of hearing the voice of God in his hospital bed, scores of students were praying, giving their testimonies, and listening to the heart cries of their peers. It was now 1 p.m., and the 3 hour chapel was still going strong. “I can’t tell you guys—how much He loves you!” Kling had said, brushing tears from his eyes near the conclusion of his story.  “It’s like if you have a swimming pool, and you take all the water out of it, and fill it up with—with love. Then you dive in over your head,” continued the burly man, describing what he had felt that night in his hospital bed.  After Kling concluded his message, right on time at 10:50, he had lifted his hands in a gesture of uncertainty.  “I’m not sure what to do now,” Kling said.  “I guess I’ll turn it over to Dennis (Engbrecht, vice president of Bethel College).”  Engbrecht approached the stage, and students waited for the inevitable dismissal to their classes. But it never came. Engbrecht instead did something that he admitted he usually never did, calling himself a “control freak.”  “Like you, I don’t know what to do,” said Engbrecht to Kling. “So I’m not going to orchestrate anything. I’m going to ask if anyone has a word from the Lord.”  At this, two people stood immediately. One was an athlete, who, with his backpack on, headed not for the door to leave but to the altar to kneel and pray. The second person was an adult, who approached the stage with a Bible, and read a Scripture passage.   A few more people stood up, starting a line for the microphone, and more trickled down to the altar. Then, it was as if floodgates had opened. An overwhelming number of people now formed a line, waiting for the microphone to share their stories. The two lines on either side of the stage snaked almost all the way past the seats on the floor of the auditorium. Some of the students waiting to speak held Bibles. Others just held their head in their hands as they contemplated what was going on, both inside themselves and around them in the room.  For a long time, no one left. It is typical for several students to leave chapel almost as soon as the speaker begins his conclusion. But on that day, no one was anxious to leave. The altar began to be crowded, and students were sitting in the aisles, praying, crying, and holding a friend close. People who typically throw paper balls and talk loudly during chapel were silent. Everyone was respectful of what was happening, even though the meaning of it was not clear.  After a while, it became apparent that whatever it was would not end anytime soon. A few students could be seen leaving, only to return with sandwiches from the Acorn. Engbrecht urged students who were believers to pray, and not just to be a spectator at this event. Kling and Engbrecht stayed on the stage, Engbrecht facilitating the students coming to share while Kling sat on his seat, alternately crying and patting the backs of the students who came to share.  This continued until 5 p.m., when a halt was called with a promise to start again that night at 9. Students walked out of the Everest-Rohr, dazed with the experience. Some had not eaten all day. Most classes had been canceled, to let chapel continue. It’s a good thing too—because nobody would have shown up. Students who did leave the chapel before 5 had formed groups around campus or in the dorms, discussing what they had seen and heard. The weather on this Wednesday was particularly warm, reaching an unusual high for February of 60 degrees. Coats were abandoned and the sun beat down on the backs of the few students who had ventured outside the chapel building. The feeling on campus was one of shock and bewilderment. What had happened? What would the long term effects of this day be? A quick look at the Facebook news feed revealed the thoughts of many students. “Revival!” was the general consensus.  Barbara Brutt                                                    Leaping into a pool of love Lounging on my couch with Bible, journal, and multiple devotional books around me, I sat quietly and contentedly in the presence of God. Stretching back thoughtfully, I consider how much I enjoyed this time of quiet. In my mind, I spoke, “God, I wish I could stay like this in your presence forever.” Little did I know how the day would look. Like a dutiful child, I went to chapel. I may or may not have dragged my feet a little bit. I was not eager to be thrown into a day of monotonous normalcy. In my heart, I desired to return to my couch and seek the presence of God.  Sitting in chapel amongst a row of four empty seats, the speaker struck the audience with his humble wish to share God’s glory in his life. He did not claim the story as his own, but a testimony to God’s power and love. Although Jeff Kling, the speaker, may not be remembered for his speaking, he will be remembered because of His desire to please God and share His story. In a way that cannot be explained, the atmosphere with the chapel became pulsed with urgency and change. The Holy Spirit attended chapel yesterday in a way that people did not expect. After the normal time allotment for chapel ended, Dennis opened the microphone “for those who have a word from God.” Generally, when people open a microphone up for testimony, an awkward silence reigns supreme before some figure well-known for their spirituality comes to the platform. When Dennis opened the microphone up to the student body, my heart froze in my chest. I feared that no one would walk to the front. I should not have worried.  Not a moment passed before a student approached the stage and the microphone. That one student opened the floodgates. Students streamed down one by one. They came to testify to God’s goodness and His power. They came to confess before their brothers and sisters. They came to pray. They came to praise God’s work.  Not only were students publicly proclaiming God, students came forward to kneel at the altar and to be prayed for. Others stood in their seats and worshiped while still others honored God with their musical ability on stage. After an hour and a half, many students left to get lunch and some never returned. However, many left and returned. Some came because they had received texts about the strange thing occurring in the chapel. A few came right after student teaching to see what God was doing.  I stayed from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.when it all came to a close. My stomach put up a loud clammer around lunch time, but I refused to listen. In my head, I asked myself, “How can I leave when God is in this place? If God is here, that is where I want to be.” For the shortest 8 hours of my life, I sat and listened attentively to every student that held the microphone. Incredibly, the chapel was completely quiet of any whispers of conversation. When people approached the microphone, some may have expected rejection. They found none. After the first four hours, Dennis began referring to this time of extended chapel as revival. I shied away from the thought. Revival is an awakening in people’s spiritual lives that require change and movement in their everyday lives. Skeptically, I wonder if students are capable of making such changes to their lives. Desperately, I want it to be the case.  Yet, even if the majority of those at the chapel allow this emotional high to fade, I believe that there are those yesterday who will choose that chapel as a pivotal turning point in their life. For myself, it has illuminated some places in my life that need cleansing. However, Jesus used the chapel to affirm many areas of growth in my life.  I believe that the Holy Spirit came. The students who spoke at the microphone were those who would never in a million years even imagine doing something so public and so vulnerable. Yesterday, I saw many students for the first time. I believe that the Holy Spirit came because we welcomed His presence. While students spoke, others prayed and worshiped. This time pleased God. On February 16, 2011, I believe that the Holy Spirit came and attended our chapel in a way that caught us by surprise. Maggie Caldwell                                                                      God’s Surprises Jeff Kling had no idea when he woke up Wednesday morning that his testimony would affect an entire college campus the way it did. In fact, after he flunked out of Bethel College in the ’80’s, he probably never thought he would be back. And just two years ago, Jeff wouldn’t have dreamed that he would have a relationship with God, let alone a world-rocking testimony. I have come to the conclusion that God likes surprising us. Each person that lined the stage (and there were dozens) had no idea when they woke up Wednesday morning that they would leave their fear in their seats and unabashedly proclaim in front of their peers their own “testimonies of triumphs.” And God used the least likely. It seemed like 90 percent of the individuals who had the guts to be raw and honest in front of thousands of people were some of the shyest students at Bethel. God likes surprising us. There was a constant trickle for hours and hours of people joining the lines on either side of the stage. Every few testimonies, I would make a point to look back at our speaker’s face. Jeff was overwhelmed, you could tell. He just looked amazed. Amazed that God had used him in this huge way. This wasn’t spiritual emphasis week. It was supposed to be just another chapel. There wasn’t a “come up to the altar and get saved now” call. He was just real. Surprises.  Listening to the hearts of my peers didn’t lead to me judging them for their baggage. It led to me “zooming out.” These people that I pass by on the sidewalks, that I stand in line with in the Dining Commons, that I daydream next to in class… they all have identities. They all have hurt. I can see them now. And I love them.  It’s so easy, for me at least, to become complacent, especially on a Christian college campus. The lyrics of Addison Road’s anthem “What Do I Know of Holy” spell it out perfectly. It says, “I guess I thought that I had figured You (God) out I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about How you were mighty to save But those were only empty words on a page Then I caught a glimpse of who you might be The slightest hint of you brought me down to my knees.” That song rings so true with me and a lot of other Christians at Bethel. We think we have God figured out. We know our Bible stories, and we have become so good at talking that we’ve forgot about walking. We know all the words to say and how to act. The whole “I’m a Christian” routine? We’ve got it down pat. But yesterday, on February 16, 2011, the Bethel College student body caught a glimpse of God, and it brought us down to our knees. I think that terming yesterday’s 7-hour chapel a “revival” would be speaking too soon. Revivals can only be determined after-the-fact. A revival isn’t just an awesome chapel service. It’s a change. But I can say that something is in the works. God isn’t finished with us yet. After all, he is full of surprises.  Melissa Payne Feb. 16, 2011 was a day that has been prayed for by numerous people for many years—the Bethel College Revival. The campus was alive yesterday with testimonies and messages that God laid on the hearts of students. His presence was so alive and moving, impacting countless lives. Though I was only there for a short while, as soon as I stepped into the Chapel I could feel the presence of God, I could see Him in the words and actions of the packed room. And as we sang our worship to Him, the place burst with praise, love, joy, and hope. I only heard one student’s message, and he was speaking through tears about the love of God. It was inspiring.   Stacia Brundage I’m in awe. Bethel’s revival blew me away. For one to be a part of a revival is somewhat rare. But I, Stacia Brundage, freshmen at Bethel College, got to be involved in one, and witness it first-hand. Calling my parents later that night, I caught myself stumbling over words and adjectives to explain the event, and even at a loss for words at times. I didn’t know how to describe it. I kept repeating myself saying how it was so, awesome! Like one of the speakers said, “This is the Genesis of the Revival.” Yesterday was only the beginning, we’ve got so much heading our way, and I’m stoked!  Chapel starting at 10, we were expecting to be out of there around 10:50. God had other plans; he had a whole different schedule for the day. And I’d pick his structure over the usual day-to-day structure, any day! Being in there for 7 and ½ hours might seem crazy to some, but it was so powerful and didn’t seem that long at all. Perhaps I needed a quick 30 minute lunch break, but after words I went right back to my seat, and got involved once again immediately. Story after story; testimony and testimony, I was simply amazed at the genuine hearts of the students at Bethel College. They were being so honest, so vulnerable- it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced. Towards the end professors and faculty went up to pour out their hearts, telling us how they aren’t perfect either, and that they need to take their masks off. This really allowed me to gain respect for so many of them, seeing how open they were being with not only the student body, but their confessions to God. I had tears of joy, tears of sadness, and tears of compassion. Ignoring the fact my make-up was everywhere; tears continued dribbling down my cheeks almost every testimony and song. Some may say that I’m emotional at times, when I’m fixed upon a tear jerker or someone shares a sad story about a puppy. But yesterday is the hardest I’ve cried in so long, it was wonderful. It was needed. I’ve had an amazing relationship with Christ a lot of my life, especially with my father being a pastor and being raised in a very Christ-centered home. Even coming to a Christian college and making so many great spiritual friends, and not being pressured by things that were shoved in my face throughout my public high school experience. Yesterday was needed in my walk with God. I spent so much time in prayer up at the altar, and even my arms extending high while worshiping him in song. Things were straightened out between God and me at the revival, promises that have been broken were forgiven, changes were made, and actions were challenged. I can’t say that it touched everyone, but I sure can admit that it touch me in more than one way. God knew I needed it as I’m sure a lot of others did, just like a little jump start, a spark in my heart. Everything that God did yesterday was so cool; it is almost like he was showing off. It wasn’t like a little talent show we’re talking about here; it was a campus wide revival that God performed. Never have I experienced something quite like that. Never have I felt God in a room so strongly. And never have I been more excited for what God is going to do in my life. As Keith mentioned, “Now we must stop saying the word revival, we must start saying the word GO.” So let’s go! And do! And change the Campus of Bethel College. I am so ready for this campus to take off! Julie Schmidt Waking up on Feb. 16, I thought it was going to be a normal Wednesday. I went through my usual routines, and headed off to chapel. Little did I know what was about to happen on Bethel’s Campus. The speaker, Jeff Kling, was in his upper 40s and he recently had become a Christian. “The only reason I’m here is to tell my story,” Kling said. And tell his story, he did. He was not a Christian and he had stage-four cancer.  But God spoke to him and said “you’re healed”. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Why would you want to heal me?” He questioned God. “Because I love you,” God replied. God wanted Kling to tell his story. Kling no longer has cancer and tells his story to everyone he meets. When he concluded his story he wasn’t preaching fervently about repentance or showing how great his life was. With his face turning red and eyes welling up with tears unable to catch his breath, “God loves you,” is all he could utter. He spoke with a genuine heart full of love for God’s people. Through a simple story and through a simple phrase, the Holy Spirit filled the place. A revival broke out One-by-one people came down to the front of the Chapel. On the side steps people lined up to tell their testimonies. There was praise and prayer. We would sing a few songs, and then several people would tell the crowd what God is saying to him or her. Listening to each person talk, my body would tingle from head to toe. When one girl played a song on the guitar, I couldn’t hold on anymore, I just let go. I am not one to cry or shed tears in public, but I couldn’t help it. Tears started streaming down my face listening to the song. I have no idea what the song was or even the melody, but it moved me. It humbled me. Hearing the passion in others voices of God’s love and how each Christian is to love others, my heart stirred. I was ready to put what I had just learned for the hundredth time into practice. “What was I waiting for?” I asked myself again. I left the chapel after 3 hours to take a test, but many people still remained. After the test I was able to talk to people I have not seen in months. I was willing to talk with them, and say what God is doing. God gave me the people to talk to, but the day before I probably would have passed them by or only said “hi.” God loves us. He wants us to love others. What are we doing about it? I am taking it one day at a time, trying not to miss the opportunities God has put in front of me. Lindy Overpeck Arriving to Bethel this morning, Feb. 17, 2011, I looked around campus and the snow had begun to melt. Besides being able to finally see the ground again me, campus seemed the same. Was I in for a surprise. Once in class I realized the professor and the students knew something I didn’t know. “Could it really be a revival on campus?” Professor Tim Ceravolo asked.  What was he talking about? After his question was raised there was a buzz in the room about some experience that happened yesterday. I couldn’t make out everything the class was saying. But I was able to make out someone from the other side saying it lasted till 5 p.m. What lasted till 5 p.m.? I glanced up to the front of the classroom at the screen. The Bethel Beacon was pulled up with the article “Revival on Bethel’s campus.” I tried squinting to see what the article had to say, but it was too small. I raised my hand. “I wasn’t here yesterday, so I have no idea what you’re talking about. What happened?” Ceravolo explained that at the end of chapel Bethel’s Senior Vice President, Dennis Engbrecht, asked students to come forward and share how God was working in their lives. After Engbrecht opened it up to students, there was no looking back. Living on campus last year I know chapel lasts until 11 a.m. But not yesterday. There were students still lined up wanting to share their testimony when they had to end the service at 5 p.m. I asked one of my classmates to tell me about the speaker. I mean, they must have had an impacting message for the students to want to open up like that. She had a hard time coming up with his name or where he was from, but what she did remember was the last three words he spoke during his message. Through his emotions Jeff Kling said the words “God loves you.” And that did it. Those three little words set Bethel on fire! Wednesday night Vespers was moved from the Octorium to the Everest-Rohr Chapel building to keep the momentum going. They needed the extra space. Even though I personally wasn’t there to experience it, when I hear about it from someone who was there I still get goose bumps. Keep the momentum going Bethel! Chad Ganus After arriving on campus this morning, I was greeted with a proposal to express my reaction to the previous day’s campus revival. Since I wasn’t present during this event, I was unsure of what had taken place. So I turned to an article that was written in the Bethel Beacon titled, ‘Revival on Bethel’s Campus’. In that article, author Joshua Winningham, paints a portrait of love and companionship with one another driven by the essence of the Lord. My understanding was that monotony could have possibly taken over the chapel worships, and a revival of the Lords spirit was long overdue. Students filed in seeking direction, and some seven hours later, those same students slowly trickled out with a sense of enlightenment. The power and aura that was present throughout chapel will be an event that will remain in the consciousness of those who were present for some time. As an individual who struggles to relate or relinquish power to God, I’ve began to understand the power he is capable of. Branden Paulun It’s normally during the sleepless nights and trials that we go through where we find out how faithful God is.  During “The Revival” is where many students finally saw a glimpse of that faithfulness that God promised.  On a day that started out like any other, it quickly became a lifetime memory for everybody.  Like any other chapel, the service started out with worship and prayer.  During the “Testimony of Triumph” series, the speaker was Bethel Alum Jeff Kling, who attended Bethel between 1983 and 1985.  Kling shared his college days as a baseball player and living the life of the party, and at a time in his life where he wanted nothing to do with the Lord.  It wasn’t until he was diagnosed with stage four skin cancer did he finally hear the voice of God.  In a hospital bed, Kling finally listened to what he had ignored for so long, and at that same time, was cured from cancer.  Only the start of what was to happen that day, Kling sparked a campus wide “Revival” that cancelled classes for the rest of the day. Something that started out as mandatory 10 a.m. chapel became a time where hundreds of people showed up to share their testimonies and either bring God back into their lives or accept Him for the first time.  Ten in the morning turned into 11.  Eleven turned to noon.  The sequence continued for seven and a half hours before a break was called at 5:30 so everybody could eat dinner.  “The Revival” resumed at 9 p.m., lasting until just after midnight as students and faculty packed the chapel.  By no means does “The Revival” mean that life will get easier for anybody, but time will tell if a new start will turned into a lifetime of change.      Allison Pennington February 16, 2011 was an extraordinary day in more ways than one. The day dawned bright and sunny, the birds were chirping and a semi-warm breeze blew about. God, it seemed, was giving Mishawaka an enticing taste of the spring to come. The beauty of the day, however, went unnoticed as the majority of Bethel College students were swept up in a revival service that lasted almost all day. Students filed into the chapel building for the 10 a.m. service, same as they have done three times a week since the beginning of the semester, not knowing what was about to take place. After the worship service, the special speaker was Bethel Alumni Jeff Kling, who shared his testimony of being miraculously healed from cancer. Kling had lived a life apart from God, but spoke on how God had spoken to him in the hospital and gave Kling a feeling of what is was like to be showered in His love. Kling ended the service by telling the students, “You have no idea how much God loves you. I wish I could convince you, but I can’t.” Choked up, Kling continued to pray for the students as Dennis Engbrecht came up on stage. In an uncharacteristic action, Engbrecht opened up the stage to students, offering them the opportunity to share how God has been working in their lives. It started with just one man coming up and reading a passage of scripture, and slowly but surely, students started to trickle down towards the stage. Some knelt at the altar; others waited for their turn to speak on stage. Many students shared their testimonies, confessed what they had been struggling with, and offered hope and encouragement from the Bible. In an attitude of thankfulness and worship, Bethel’s campus participated in the revival until evening. The majority of afternoon classes were cancelled as many professors made their way into the chapel to participate. In between the giving of the testimonies, songs were sung as people continued to raise their hands in worship. God seemed to be working not just in the lives of the individual students that day, but on the majority of Bethel’s campus. However big the blessing of the revival service is considered to be, Bethel now faces a challenge. A true revival is not just a momentary thing that spans a day, it is a life changing action and decision that alters attitudes and behaviors. The true blessing of Bethel’s revival will be evident in the actions and lives of the students who participated that day. Hopefully, what has happened in chapel will not stay in chapel, but will reach out and touch individual lives with the love of Christ.  
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