By Vida Velasco, freshman Jewish Studies major
I am not your typical Moody Bible Institute student. When you look at my face, I look as young as those who grace these halls and learn in these classrooms, but looks can be deceiving. I am 10 years older than most of those around me and yet, this is where the Lord wants me to be.
I cannot fathom how Moody would look if it was not a tuition paid school. However, since it continues to be such even in its 125th year of existence, we are able to concentrate on our studies and apply our learning in ministry. Without the faithfulness of the donors, I would not have experienced the kind of God–centered community such as I did only the other night at a Kesher dinner fellowship.
The Jewish Studies program is my reason for being at Moody. The Lord has laid on my heart a burden for my Jewish friends as well as the people of Israel. The Bible is overflowing with the love He has for His chosen people, something that will not and has not changed. I can identify well with His grace towards the people of Israel, even in the midst of their rebellion.
When I look back on my life, even through the times when I was so far from my Creator, I see the thread of His faithful pursuit of me. One of the main characters during my time away from the Lord was my boss/mentor in New York City. She had taken me under her wing and given me the gift of true mentorship. There was a time when people would ask me who I was and I would tell them that I was her “sponge.” Our professional relationship flourished and my income grew in proportion.
I had been building a successful career in real estate until I came to the point where nothing could satisfy me. My beautiful apartment in the city, my amazing career, my youth, my income, my status and its symbols, none of it fulfilled the deepest longings of my heart. It took two years, but God was so faithful. He continually broke me down and made me realize my inadequacy. The road has been painful, but I know that I am exactly where He wants me to be. I am able to deepen my faith and trust in God in a safe environment. This is an unbelievable gift as I know what it is like out there in the world.
I was able to share this part of my journey with my former boss only yesterday. She had been thinking about me all week and gave me a call after months of silence between us. The Spirit gave me the words to say, and I am praying that she has the same restlessness that I had that was only truly satisfied by surrendering my life to my God.
After this monumental conversation, I went to Jenkins Hall to have dinner and fellowship with my fellow Jewish Studies majors and our friends. At one point in the evening, I looked around at all of the incredible people and my heart was overwhelmed. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Each one of us is so different from the other but we have a common ground in our Savior. For most of my life, I had very few believers as friends, and I know now that I am finally experiencing community as it was meant to be.
When the crowd died down and only a few of us were left, one of my friends who is becoming more and more dear to me, started playing his guitar. Lifting my voice in praise together with my beloved friends, who are also fellow children of God, made me weep with joy. My soul is ablaze with the wonder and all consuming fire that is our God. I am grateful from the bottom of my heart for Moody.