Alumni Reflections – Rosie Perkins

Continuing in our series of past students reflecting on how the programme has impacted them, this week we are hearing from Rosie Perkins.

Rosie Perkins – Autumn 2014
Then: Student at Geneva College
Now: Care Worker

Rosie

Rosie in 2014

rosie

Rosie in 2017

Semester in Scotland was a season in life of being discipled by people who deeply love the Lord, and I often share that it was the best four months of my life.

CLASS TIME
The foundation of each day was reading Scripture a while. I grew incredibly with that set time to read the Word every morning.

Class afterwards was discipleship, pure and simple. Kenneth, Stephen, Jimmy, Andrew, and Beth really cared that our hearts be changed by what we learned, that we actually grow in conformity to Christ. Andrew said one day that if studying God’s truth through SIS doesn’t change our hearts, we’re all wasting our time. But praise God, He’s faithful!

Learning from godly people, studying personally, and discussing the Bible inflamed my love for God and made me more passionate to serve Him. (I know this has been true for other students as well!)

CHURCH LIFE
Worshipping twice on Lord’s days, attending Bible studies, helping with Kids’ Club & Covenanter Youth, going to prayer meetings, and fellowshipping… I’d never had all these at one church before! SIS students are taught what it is to be active in a local church, and that is such a gift.

I am also thankful for all the saints I met in Scotland. I have so many brothers & sisters in the RPCS now! You all are a huge encouragement to me, there’s a passion for Christ in many of your members that’s incredibly rare. From Donalda’s prison witnessing in Glasgow to Rosie Tait’s evangelistic heart in Edinburgh, I’ve made loads of friends I can imitate as they imitate Christ. I pray they can say the same of me.

I’d also never been experienced preaching like we sat under in Airdrie and Glasgow. Three years later, I still listen to Andrew and Kenneth during the week, and they are always a blessing to my soul.

TODAY
Lastly, SIS is the reason I am at my present church. In Scotland, I learned what excellent preaching and shepherding look like in practice. I became ravenous for it.

I am so, so thankful to God for my months with His saints in Scotland. He used your discipleship and fellowship to grow me in my love for Him, and then bring me to my present church body.

 

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Alumni Reflections – Debbie Shafer Beer

Continuing in our series of past students reflecting on how the programme has impacted them, this week we are hearing from Debbie Beer.

Debbie Beer – Autumn 2014
Then: Student at Geneva College
Now: Homemaker

Debbie Shafer

Debbie in 2014

Beers

David, Debbie, and their son in November 2017.

The Semester in Scotland program was life changing and a dream come true. I had dreamed of doing the program ever since I went to visit Scotland the summer before my sister did the program. Ten years later, I was so excited when I was finally able to go! I learned so, so much about the doctrines of the RP church and it helped me establish a firm foundation for my beliefs and answered the many questions that I had. The tours of Scotland were also very edifying, teaching me of the history of Scotland and of the Covenanters. I loved every bit of my time in Scotland with this program and wish that I could do it again. There is always so much to learn and this was my favorite place and way to learn it! I will never forget my many amazing adventures, and Scotland will always hold a special place in my heart.

Alumni Reflections: Christopher Little

Continuing in our series of past students reflecting on how the programme has impacted them, this week we are hearing from Christopher Little.

Christopher Little – Autumn 2013
Then: Student at Geneva College
Now: Church Planting Pastor in United Brethren Church

Christopher

Christopher in 2013

Christophernow

Christopher and Elizabeth Little in March 2018

Few things have impacted my life like Semester in Scotland has. The courses were insightful, challenging, and conducive to good conversation, both in and outside of the classroom. The teachers pushed the students both academically and spiritually.
The people at Airdrie RP were also incredibly welcoming to the students. During my time at Geneva College I never felt so quickly connected to a church than I did in four short months while in Airdrie.

The biggest impression left on me, however, was witnessing Andrew Quigley and how he lived his life. I spent every weekday morning with him reading a chapter from Proverbs and praying, two days a week with him in the classroom, one evening a week in a small group, and then twice on Sundays listening to him preach. That’s a lot of Andrew time!
Andrew’s faithfulness to God and His church is something I will never forget, and something I continually try to emulate in my ministry.

The most important thing that has stuck with me after Semester in Scotland is staying rooted in God’s word. Before SiS, daily devotionals were rather hit or miss with me. Andrew’s passion for Bible study was something that inspired me to get into Scripture on a daily basis.

I would not be where I am at today if it were not for the spiritual disciplines that were learned while spending time in Scotland. I so appreciate all the effort that Andrew, Beth, and others put in to make this program happen.

Alumni Reflections: Nathanael Miller

Continuing in our series of past students reflecting on how the programme has impacted them, this week we are hearing from Nathanael Miller.

Nathanael Miller – Autumn 2013
Then: Student at Geneva College
Now: Youth Pastor at Faith Bible Fellowship Church

Nate at Commando memorial

Nathanael in 2013

Nate now

Nathanael and Shelby Miller in February 2018

Not too long ago I was speaking with one of the youth in our church about their desire to attend college after high school. One of the questions they asked me was, “What was one of the most impactful moments about your college experience?” It has almost become second nature for me to respond with, “my time in Scotland.” And I would say that my Semester in Scotland was not just one of the most impactful times in my college experience; it was the most impactful.

For a student attending a 4-year Christian college; amid all the activities, academics, relationships, and responsibilities, I do not think there can be a semester better spent than in a country as beautiful as Scotland studying theology and ministry. There was not a time in my college experience where I was more theologically equipped, or more academically enriched than my 4 months in Scotland. Though it was no small number of materials to be read and studied, I often reference those works to this day, and have greatly benefited from their content. And it was not simply the reading and studying of various works that bore a great memory, but also the engagement of the culture, and the history of our faith. Scotland is a country with an incredible history, especially for those of the Christian faith. In my time there in 2013, I was blessed, along with my 3 classmates, to study the significance of the first and second Scottish Reformations. For a portion of the program, students take part in a class that covers the history of the Scottish Reformation and many of the brave individuals that risked their lives for the sake of Christ. Some to note are: John Knox, George Wishart, and Patrick Hamilton. Following the in-class time, we were blessed to engage in a 2-week tour where we visited much of the gravesites and locations of monumental moments of these famous Covenanters.

It truly is difficult for me to put into words the sort of impact this program had on my life. I was challenged spiritually, blessed relationally, and had the unique privilege to see some of the most beautiful sites in the world. In addition to the academics, history, and culture, I was also blessed to be engaged in the life of the local Reformed Presbyterian Church for 4 months which was a blessing in itself. To be able to study theology, visit famous Christian landmarks, and be involved in the local church all at the same time is a rare gift, and I am grateful for that to this day. If there are ever any students on the fence about participating in this program, I would simply encourage them to consider the incredible impact this trip could have on their lives both academically and spiritually.

Alumni Reflections – Kelly Favand

Continuing in our series of past students reflecting on how the programme has impacted them, this week we are hearing from Kelly Favand.

Kelly Favand – Autumn 2013
Then: Student at Geneva College
Now: Seamstress

Kelly at Tantallon

Kelly in 2013

Kelly now

Kelly in December 2017

The Semester in Scotland programme left a mark on my mind and heart that I do not believe will ever fade. I believe this is because of what the programme offers students in the form of time and relationships. Being so closely tied with the church family in Airdrie we students were able to build relationships that had lasting value.

The opportunities offered during the SIS programme were unlike any others I had during my time in college. The small class size allowed for engaging discussion times with teachers, that were almost entirely unparalleled in my other semesters. I also had some one on one lessons which gave an opportunity to be mentored, not just taught. The most important aspect to me though was the way we were given time. The structure of the day, beginning with intentional devotional and worship time was something that I did not experience in other college classes, but found to be refreshing in SIS. Because we were not moving between buildings to get to classes or trying to stick to rigid time schedules, we had time to focus on our readings and to carry on discussions about the most important topics, without running into another class’s time (at least most of the time). Because of the ways SIS used time and small class size I realized over the following years that I was being nonstop discipled for nearly five months. The spiritual liveliness that grew in me during that time developed in me the importance of being deep in Christ and the desire to help others grow deep into him as well.

The week that we went on the Reformation Tour was wonderful, though it took me through an emotional journey as the stories of faith and endurance came to life when we visited the places where faithful believers had worshiped or been martyred. Reading and hearing their stories hardly compared with walking their footsteps, except that knowing the stories ahead of time prepared us to understand what we were seeing, so that I was able to understand the sacrifices the Covenanters made, and why they were so important.

The field trips were another excellent benefit. When visiting a new place I never know where to go, but the weekly trips with church members prevented that, as they generously took us to their favorite sites, where we were able to learn about the history of Scotland, as well as their personal lives as we conversed during the journeys.

Over all, my semester in Scotland is the semester that I still talk about the most often, and I am thankful that Geneva College and the Airdrie RP church were able to partner to provide such an excellent opportunity to grow.

 

Alumni Reflections: Tim Wolff

Continuing in our series of past students reflecting on how the programme has impacted them, this week we are hearing from Tim Wolff.

Tim Wolff – Autumn 2013
Then: Student at Geneva College
Now: Director of Youth Discipleship at Visalia Christian Reformed Church

Tim at Craigmillar Castle

Tim in 2013

Tim slider

Tim and Shelly Wolff in September 2017

The Semester in Scotland program was a lot more stretching than I was expecting it to be. Beyond having the chance to explore the most beautiful country in the world each day, it was a chance to grow in my understanding of God with the help of some of the smartest, most thoughtful pastors/professors I’ve interacted with. It was evident when they taught, they weren’t just sharing information, they were sharing their passion with us. They were always willing to go the extra mile to help us understand the more complex topics we faced. Of any semester of my college career, it was hands down the most growth I experienced. And did I mention it takes place in the most beautiful country in the world?

Alumni Reflections: Graci Arias

Continuing in our series of past students reflecting on how the programme has impacted them, this week we are hearing from Graci Arias.

Graci Arias – Autumn 2011
Then: Student at Geneva College
Now: Speech Pathologist/Therapist

Graci in London2

Graci in 2011

Graci now

Graci in February 2017

I participated in the the Semester in Scotland program in the fall of 2011; it seems odd that it was so long ago because I think about it so frequently. The Semester in Scotland program was unlike any experience in education I have ever had and has formed my thinking and my theology deeply. The design of the program including reading and discussion allowed me to really soak in the topics without the pressure of having to regurgitate for exams or papers. It allowed me to wrestle through some of the harder topics gently and thoroughly where I probably would have become embittered had I not had the time or the support to go through them in any other way. While I loved our classes and our discussions, what has impacted me the most was seeing and participating in the church life. The church participated in the program as much as we did by taking us on excursions, providing us with meals during hospitality, inviting us into their homes, and loving us even though we were only there for a few months. The life and love of the church set the example for me of unity, hospitality, and service, which I hope to imitate continuously in my church now.

Alumni Reflections – Jonathan Key

Continuing in our series of past students reflecting on how the programme has impacted them, this week we are hearing from Jonathan Key.

Jonathan Key – Spring 2009
Then: Student at Geneva College
Now: Student at Mid-America Reformed Seminary

Sir Jon

Jon in 2009

Jon now

Jon in July 2017

Because of the Semester in Scotland program, I gained my first real exposure to Protestant theology. It helped set my course as I pursue seminary and theological training in a way I never could have anticipated. God used those four months and the people I met to shape the rest of my life.

 

Alumni Reflections – Ryan Dewey

Continuing in our series of past students reflecting on how the programme has impacted them, this week we are hearing from Ryan Dewey.

Ryan Dewey – Autumn 2008
Then: Student at Geneva College
Now: Student Ministry Director at Cornerstone Church

Ryanold

Ryan in 2008

Ryan now

Ryan in February 2018

When I think of my time in Scotland back in 2008 there is nothing but great memories. It was awesome to be apart of a church in Scotland where the Gospel is preached and having a relationship with Jesus is lived out. I was trained and taught by great leaders who relied on God. I was blessed by many new friends I made while I was there, and still have stayed connected with some since. Scotland gave me an opportunity to learn more about church history and new cultural experiences too. I’m so thankful God opened the door to go on this trip and will never forget my time there. I encourage anyone who is thinking about going to Scotland to go. My life was changed by it and I know yours will be too.

Alumni Reflections – Jasmine Martin Thompson

Continuing in our series of past students reflecting on how the programme has impacted them, this week we are hearing from Jasmine Thompson.

Jasmine Thompson – Autumn 2007
Then: Student at Allan Hancock College
Now: Studying Graphic Arts, Design, Printing, Photography at the Art Institute of Tennessee and Nashville

Jasmine

Jasmine in 2007

Jasmine2

Jasmine and Travis Thompson and their son in 2015.

My time with Semester in Scotland was a wonderful growing experience, emotionally, and spiritually. I think it’s very important for us to learn about the roots of the reformed faith and remember those that laid down their lives for Christ’s Crown and Covenant.