Bethel student takes the stage as chapel speaker

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On Friday, April 13, senior Trisha Cousino, an intercultural studies and communication major, led chapel as this year's ministry student speaker.

"When the student ministry speaker got up my freshman year, I was like 'I'm going to do that,' " said Cousino. "God put that fire in me a long time ago and I'm excited to do it." This opportunity was the result of a homiletics course Cousino took during the fall semester under assistant professor of Christian ministries Keith Koteskey. "[Homiletics] is the art and practice of preaching," said Koteskey. "The tradition at Bethel has been to have one of the homiletics students from that class in the fall preach in chapel in the spring... I think it's fantastic that Bethel gives students an opportunity to do that... I think it says something about Bethel's value on the experience for students." Cousino is no stranger to the realm of public speaking, having previously spoken for the National Future Farmers of America Organization. She's also gone to the nationals for prepared public speaking and has spoken in several churches. However, she said she felt more nervous about this opportunity than previous speaking engagements. "Chapel is definitely up there," said Cousino. ''[It's] one of the biggest venues, and the most intimidating because it's the people that have taught me theology and taught me biblical studies, and I'm an RA [resident assistant] so it's girls on my floor, and so it's just a very different audience." Cousino also spoke about how her classes at Bethel have prepared her for not just this opportunity, but also future speaking opportunities, particularly concerning Scriptural texts. "My study backs everything that I do," said Cousino. "You have to take into account sociology, context, philosophy, biblical studies [and] hermeneutics, plus your life; you have to be vulnerable enough to share. So, I think all those disciplines coming together has been the perfect storm of really good things that I've gotten from Bethel." Koteskey has been impressed by many aspects of Cousino as a student and preacher of the Bible. "I would say several things about Trisha," said Koteskey. "I have appreciated Trisha's rigor in studying a text that she's going to preach from so that she considers the context and the setting... I think she has a passion for the Word, and I appreciate that as well in a preacher who is seeking to convey a message that God has for us from His Word in a way that's meaningful. I think she does a great job of finding illustrations that convey the ideas and the concepts that she's wanting to communicate in her sermons as well." Following graduation, Cousino plans to attend graduate school to pursue her masters’ in divinity and a PhD. "I want to be a professor," said Cousino. "I really want to work with college students, in and out of the classroom... I'd love to come back and speak at Bethel and do this again sometime." Cousino is thankful not only for what her professors have done to prepare her for this, but also for how God is working in her life. "My religion is no longer about me but about who [God] is," said Cousino. "I hope it serves as an encouraging word, and I'm just really blessed that they're going to let me speak up there."
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