Torrey Rome (January 2009)
Senior – Biochemistry/Philosophy
We went to many churches that contained absolutely stunning works of art. These works ranged from sculptures and mosaics to frescos and paintings. Besides the sheer awesomeness of these works, I was also struck by the use of art in helping worship. It seemed like each piece of art was designed to hearken the viewer back to some biblical or early church narrative in which the viewer would worship with that narrative in mind. One of these works, Caravaggio’s The Calling of St. Matthew, was especially impactful. Looking at it, you feel like you are there as Jesus reaches out his hand to point at Matthew, who is seated shamefully at a table. You feel the rawness and awe-inspiringness of the situation and it helps put you in a position of humility.
Middle Eastern Studies Program (Spring 2009)
Senior – History, Middle East Emphasis
Today was Galilee/Capernaum/Nazareth day, and I did it: I got baptized in the Sea of Galilee! A dear brother of mine, Dan, willingly accepted my request for him to conduct the baptism. So there we were: Dan and I, gowned in white in the crisp green Sea of Galilee. The history was crushing. Jesus walked on this water. On shore were 30 witnesses with cameras ready. All of us sang a hymn, and I shared a brief, (hopefully) gospel-riddled testimony. Then, in the three names of our Trinitarian God, Dan immersed and baptized me. There was no dove; nor was there a theophanous voice of God’s pleasure with this sacred moment. But there was Dan, there were 30 witnesses, there was me, and most importantly, there were the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit present. Soaked and dripping, I exited the water and was welcomed by open arms. I am but one man, and this event will never find its way into a history book. But for one man this was a milestone forever engraved into my heart. To God be all glory, honor and praise!
Washington Journalism Center (Spring 2009)
Senior – Print Journalism
Attending the inauguration of Barack Obama was mindblowing. There was just so much anticipation and enthusiasm in the air. Everyone was excited. We left our apartment building at 6:30 a.m. and walked to the National Mall, where we ended up stuck in a giant mass of people. I could barely move. We made friends with the people around us, partially because we were physically touching everyone around us, and partially just because everyone was so friendly and wanted to share the excitement that they had for this particular event. It was frigid, to say the least, and I thought my toes were going to fall off at several points, but they showed a recording of the inaugural concert from a few days earlier for us on the screens, so we sang and danced and tried to stay warm with the movement. When the inauguration moment actually came, the roar of that crowd was deafening. Everyone was jumping, screaming, cheering and raising their hands. The crowd was stoked. And then when Rick Warren said the Lord’s Prayer, the crowd started saying it with him. There’s something about saying the Lord’s Prayer along with hundreds of thousands of your fellow Americans. I was blown away.
Bethany J. Cissel
Biola London (Fall 2009)
Junior – Photojournalism
It was a bustling, brisk Saturday in London. The fall foliage was a vibrant juxtaposition to the blacks and grays of the weekend crowd’s coats. After perusing the exhibits at National Portrait Gallery, a few of us meandered down a quiet street, away from the gigantic lion statues and bubbling fountains that attract thousands of tourists everyday. When we began our small ascent up the stairs on a bridge, I did not realize our location, but I quickly put the pieces together — we were in the heart of London. On the left there was the London Eye; on the right I could see Big Ben and the House of Parliament. Above me was a beautiful blue sky, scattered with clouds; below me was the constant wake of tourist boats slowly floating down the river. It was a tangible and highly photogenic reminder that I was here and would be here for the semester — studying, learning, exploring and soaking in the beautiful, historic city of London and beyond. It’s a Saturday that I will always remember.
Uganda Studies Program (Spring 2009)
Senior – Intercultural Studies
All 16 or so of us American students who had been across Uganda in our tour bus had our eyes glued to the TV screen in front of us. It was a documentary about the Rwandan genocide and the single American who stayed out of hundreds of relief workers who had been living in the country. The video showed how they all got out, in tour buses just like the ones we came in on. I hated those people, who had space for their dogs, but not for the Rwandans they were leaving behind, whom they had claimed to come to serve. Suddenly my focus changed as the screen turned black, and I saw our reflections on the screen: a bunch of American Christian 20-somethings wanting to change the world. But if anything like the genocide broke out, we would be whisked away just as fast.
Cinema & Media Arts Trip to Japan (January 2009)
Junior – Film/TV/Radio
Hot chocolate in a can out of a vending machine; Silent rides on packed trains; Mount Fuji clearing up for a majestic view; God allowing things to be completely out my control so that I could accept my shortcomings a little easier. … Those are some of the things that I remember from my trip to Japan last winter when I produced the film Jitensha, which has been accepted into major film festivals and won best short film at the Heartland Film Festival. Japan was a place where I definitely felt out of my comfort zone. It was only about 50 degrees each day, much colder than the weather in my hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. And you had to walk or ride a train most of the time to get to a destination. But beyond the cultural differences, the experience of producing a film abroad was one that changed my life.