Is there life after Holsby?
Yes, there is life after Holsby! Proof came this week through a visit by Kerstin, Magda and Markus. They had all been students and had also worked as volunteer staff and now were back for a week to reconnect.
Christine and I sat down with this happy trio for some Swedish fika and we talked about life after Holsby. As is usually the case, their time at Bible school had been formative and life-changing. And like many students before them, returning home seemed daunting and overwhelming: “Will I just fall back into old patterns and habits? Will God take care of me beyond the safe confines of Holsby? Will anyone back home understand the changes that have taken place in my life? Is there life after Holsby?”
Markus: “I prayed more often after Holsby than while at Holsby. And I prayed differently. While at Holsby I felt God’s presence so clearly, but at home I was more dependent on knowing God was present. And that changed the way I prayed. Sometimes I was confused by what God seemed to be doing – or not doing – in my life and circumstances. Things didn’t just fall into place right away, and my job situation was confusing and frustrating. It was really tough. But I had the sense that God was with me. People back home told me that I’ve changed. In my opinion, everything changed!”
After finishing a year of civil service in his native Austria, Markus will start his studies in architecture at a university in Vienna.
Magda: “When I got home, I realized that I had changed, but many of the circumstances at home had not changed. I was afraid to fall back into the same life as before. And, in some ways, that is what happened. It was hard for me. I tried to share with others some of what had happened in my life while at Holsby, but not everyone wanted to hear about it. In a way I can see why so many students are afraid to go home, because they have changed so much. But I discovered that there is no good reason to fear, because God had prepared the way for me. Yes, there were new things to deal with, but the Lord helped me to handle them, and He also helped me to handle the “old” things – just differently!
It is so important to make the decision before you leave Holsby to trust in God’s faithfulness, and that He will care for you when you get home. Be open and willing for changes in your life, and be on the lookout for God’s preparation to meet the inevitable challenges in life!”
Magda comes from the same youth group as Markus back in Austria, and is studying to be a teacher of religion and English. Magda finds herself still using the word “fika,” and can’t understand why her friends look at her strangely!
Kerstin: “I see so many things differently than before I came to Bible school. Some of my friends back home have also changed and have gone in a completely different direction. It was helpful to be busy as soon as I got back home, so as not to fall into a hole of disappointment and apathy. It took me a while to realize that life does go on back here at home in Germany. It has been so encouraging to see and experience many little answers to prayer. It shows me that God does care for me; it is so good to see!”
Kerstin is studying International Management at a university in Karlsruhe, and hopes to make an impact for Christ in the business world.
Many years ago, the believers in Philippi may have been asking similar questions as our Holsby students. When faced with the apostle Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, they were maybe wondering: “Will our faith survive? Will God take care of us?” And Paul writes to them these wonderful words of encouragement and hope: “…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6). We all can place our hope in this same promise. Yes, there is life after Holsby, because there is life in Christ!