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Involvement at Dordt
I’ve been involved in campus ministries all four years now; as a freshman I auditioned. My junior year I led a team as well as my senior year. A year before I went to Dordt I started leading worship back home with my youth service in Indonesia because my dad pushed me to. I was a closet guitar player and he said, “Go out there and serve God.” I didn’t understand what that meant by serving God through singing. I understood that I was worshipping him, but I didn’t understand why I was serving. I came to Dordt and I think after two years of being involved I was finally like, “OK, I finally get a hold of it.” I definitely wanted to join because my dad always pushed hard for us to be used for God. I think this is one of the biggest ways that shows my time, attention, and affection for God—all three in one. That’s why I joined.
I get to lead a team that leads on Thursday nights. We practice on Tuesday night for an hour or two, and then on Thursday we gather to start at 6:45 p.m. to practice and then move everything up there. We have sound check at 9, we play from 10 to 11 and we clean up until 11:30. On other days, it’s my job to plan the sets, but I feel like it’s all inspiration—it’s listening to God’s spirit and waiting for him to put a word or theme on my heart. It can change the way people think or the way people live, depending on the words you say or the songs you sing. Sometimes people come up to me afterward and say, “The whole set was about this!” and I’ll say, “Yep.” The most humbling part is being able to listen and follow God, to realize that we’re all in this together.
Valuable Experiences at Dordt
[For me it's] meeting people. This is probably a no brainer, leadership 101 quote, but you can’t lead people who you don’t love. I struggled with that, too—I can’t love everyone. But truth is, Christ loves them, so if he lives in me then I can say I love them. And if I don’t love them, I can’t lead them—who am I to go up there and sing from a microphone if I can’t love them? At Dordt it’s easy to live with people because you’re all clumped in the same place, but living for people is one of the best things I’ve learned here at Dordt.
When I auditioned for leadership in the spring of my sophomore year—I wasn’t living my best life, I wasn’t making the best decisions. When I auditioned, it was alright. All the other judges—the past worship leaders—said no. They thought I was egotistic and doing bad things and hanging out with the wrong people. Jon De Groot, Dordt's campus ministries coordinator, stuck with his gut and said that I had the “it” and that he believed God would use me. He stuck up for me because he believed God had something great for me and that God had something great for his people through me. When he told me that, it was really touching. It was a picture of Christ telling me, “Hey, there’s always a chance.”
I run every big decision through Jon De Groot. I don’t know what I’d do without Jon. I don’t know if I’d lead a team here if it weren't for Jon. I don’t know if I would have secured a job by now. I love that man. He stuck his neck out for me. There’s a lot of people like that at Dordt, but he’s the biggest example in my life.
He challenges me a lot. I always need something new; I need to be challenged. I can’t always be comfortable. I don’t want a comfortable life. And he always knows how to challenge me. He always points out the opposite side of the coin when I make a decision because he wants me to think about things. He wants me to think critically and to not just stick to what I know. He challenges me. If I do something, he’ll always ask me a deeper question to unravel my grounds behind a decision.
Academics at Dordt
I think my professors care about me a lot. The first two names that come up in my head are Dr. Justin Bailey, assistant professor of theology, and Bruce Kuiper, associate professor of communication. Dr. Bailey really cares about our learning. He doesn’t just say it, he means it. When he looks at you, he looks at you with intensity—like, let’s have a conversation. These theological things we’re talking about is a conversation until the day we die because we’re all trying to figure it out. He taught Christian Leadership, and I actually came to him with one of my leadership issues, and we met at the Fruited Plain, and I talked with him about it, and all he did was sit and listen. He was very empathetic. Before he gave a solution or an answer, he just made sure I wanted an answer. His objective was for me to be heard and feel loved, to know that leadership is lonely, but I’m not alone. His goal wasn’t to give me a solution; he cares for my soul. That’s the kind of leader he is. He exemplifies Jesus. I want to do that too.
Bruce Kuiper is my adviser. We always have a lot of fun—I go into his office and we plan out my classes. We joke around, and I have a good friendship with him. We tease each other. I like him. When he teaches, he’s very detailed. He always involves us. In Family Communication, he asks deep questions and personal family questions and encourages us to share by him sharing his own stories. I don’t know if “engagement” that first comes to my head, because more than engaging us, they’re walking with us and understanding what it feels like to be in our shoes and understanding that we’re learning. These profs that have empathy and have a strong heart sense can walk alongside us. That’s one of my favorite parts of learning here.
What's Next for me
I’ll be working at First Reformed Church in Sioux Center, working as worship director full-time. I think it’s crazy. I started attending there sophomore year, and in my junior year I led a couple times here and there because I like to serve in church. Now it's a full-time job, partnering with the church and understanding where they want to go.
what i would tell prospective students
There are opportunities here that students might not usually get an opportunity to have. The whole goal is to get involved in the community. Dordt has so much to offer. I think Dordt tries to open up its opportunities to actually serve and love Him in the things that we do. We need to be in contact with other believers—we’ve got to get out there. We want to be with other believers and strengthen each other. One way community can be enacted is through co-curriculars, joining clubs, worshipping at chapel—you can live fully into what he asks for you if you take most opportunities Dordt offers. It’s no coincidence that I’m here—I’m an Indonesian kid in Sioux Center. God is sovereign and he plans to have me here for the sake of him and for the sake of his people. If I didn’t take all these opportunities, I’m not living into what God has for me. God’s always working and we just get to be a part of it.