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Q & A with Bill Bemis

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This year Bill Bemis will not be serving as Oakwood/Slater Hall's resident director for the first time since 2001. After a decade of service as a resident director Bemis is now the assistant director for student development.
Bill Bemis who served as the resident director of Oakwood/Slater Hall since 2001, will begin a new role this year at Bethel College. (photo from bethelcollege.edu)
JW: What are you up to these days? BB: Still hovering around 158 lbs. JW: What is your current role at Bethel College? BB: I have the title of Assistant Director for Student Development.  It’s a part-time position and my primary responsibilities include Chapel Attendance issues, student Motor Vehicle issues, and many of the issues and/or concerns that come up with our male students.  I work closely with Shawn Holtgren and Julie Beam, and serve at the whim of all but one of the Resident Directors! JW: Best memory of being the RD of Oakwood? BB: The changes that have taken place in Oakwood-Slater Hall over the past ten years have to be attributed to the Lord’s involvement!  During my first year in the dorm we lost 15 residents by semester break due to their immaturity; so many incoming students were not serious about what they were undertaking.  They treated college like summer camp!  Unfortunately, this attitude showed through in many aspects of their lives.  As time passed, tuition costs rose, admittance standards rose, and the Lord answered a lot of prayers.  I think the maturity level of the students coming to Bethel now is higher than it was in the past.  We’ve watched lives changed ever more as the years passed.  My best memory will always be the relationships with Christ that developed deeply while the students lived in OSH. JW: I know you were an architect at some point in Las Vegas, what is it that drew you to Bethel College? BB: I believe that who you are is defined in your relationship with the Lord.  What you do for a living, who you have been given as a family, people and circumstances that come through your life, should all be viewed in light of that relationship.  I was blessed with an opportunity to get a degree in Architecture at Notre Dame, which I almost squandered in the immaturity and self-absorption of trying to keep Christ out of my life.   It wasn’t until I submitted to Him years later that I began to understand all of the opportunities and blessings that He had given me.  At that point, my career became secondary and we followed a calling to be involved with our church’s Youth Group.  That went on for about twelve years.  All the while that our hearts’ desires were for that ministry, the Lord continued to bless the career in Architecture that He had given us.  The side things that happened are many amazing stories of His involvement in our lives.  At some point we noticed that our hearts were being turned toward the college-aged.  We had already come to know Bethel (through more of His workings!), and were near finishing putting both of our kids through college here.  When the Lord’s push became quite obvious, we closed down my Architectural firm and sold our home.  We bought a house here and then knocked on Bethel’s door, stating that the Lord had prompted us to come and work with college students.  At first we didn’t know what we were supposed to do, and the college wasn’t sure what to do with us, but the Lord sure knew what was taking place.  In short, the Lord drew us to Bethel College. JW: Most elaborate prank ever pulled under your watch in Oakwood? BB: I don’t know what you’re talking about!  There were never any pranks pulled under my watch in Oakwood!  Honest, Dr. Engbrecht!  I plead the fifth … JW: How did you know it was time to move on and step down as RD? BB: Wow, God gets credit for this one, too!  It’s amazing how involved He is in our lives, isn’t it!?  As you probably noticed, I’m a bit older than most of the students in OSH.  But the Lord worked with that.  Then, still a part of His plan, the college followed a prompting to allow a student who had graduated to continue as a “Super RA” in the dorm.  Apparently, rusty old iron is still supposed to sharpen iron, and vice-versa.  The changes that were happening in the dorm over the years accelerated greatly with superman in the dorm.  Particularly in the spiritual area.  God had once again stirred someone’s heart for the ministry that is OSH and then led that person there.  In the meantime, the Lord continued to bless us (six grandchildren!)  He was done with us in OSH, and our family wanted more of us in their lives.  The OSH transition timing was very clear, and we’re grateful for all that this new page in our lives holds. JW:What will you miss the most about being Oakwood’s RD? BB: Definitely not the pitter-patter of little feet all night long! Joshua Matthew Hartsell.  No question.  Heath, you’re a far distant second ….. sorry! JW: What are you most looking forward to in life after Oakwood? BB: More time with Carol Jo, Sara Kathleen, Earl, Mark David, Angie, Aimee Jean, Aiden Chase, Ana Jo, Caitilin Grace, Ezekiel David and Briene Jace.  And whatever the Lord has in mind!  
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