The women of Hobb’s College share their experiences

By Morgan Smith, Assistant Faith Editor  (Photo by Jonathan Soder/The Bison)

The Hobb’s College of Theology and Ministry is known for educating the next generation of pastors, missionaries and theologians.

In the past, ministry and theology programs have typically been male-dominated, but through the years, more and more women have entered the college.

In fact, many of Hobb’s women have found unique ways to put their degrees to work both overseas and in the Shawnee community.

Senior Haylee Belcher is a cross-cultural ministry and communications double major. She said she has noticed that more women have entered the college, with many choosing to focus on cross-cultural ministry.

“A lot of my classes are primarily men, and so that’s really interesting,” she said. “I’ve seen, at least in my class, and especially in the incoming classes, a lot more women in the classes. It also depends on the type of class. I find in all of my cross-cultural ministry specific classes it’s primarily women, whereas if it’s Bible it’s usually men.”

Belcher said her experience in Hobb’s College has been great, and the fact that her classes are primarily made up of men has never been a problem.

She also said she thinks one of the reasons why cross-cultural ministry specific classes are primarily women may be because of the number of women who aspire to be missionaries.

“Honestly, just more women come into college with a plan of being missionaries that I’ve seen anyways, and guys usually want to be pastors,” Belcher said.

Belcher plans to use her experiences at Hobb’s to serve overseas in Brazil after graduation.

Seniors Amyy Schumer and Caty Bridges, are also cross-cultural ministry majors, with minors in teaching english as a second language.

Like Belcher, both women said they’ve enjoyed their experience in Hobb’s and that it’s helped them grow in their ministry.

“I like learning new things about ministry, like different ways to reach people,” Bridges said. “Like this past fall I did hands-on in Thailand, and the way we reach people was to teach English. I liked that a lot.”

Bridges said she would like to go into full-time missions after graduation.

“When I was younger, I used to think I knew what kind of ministry I wanted, but right now I don’t,” she said. “I just want to serve to the best of my ability,”

Schumer said she is planning to serve in the Shawnee community as a police officer after graduation.

“I feel like this is a calling that has a unique impact on the community,” she said. “I am going to continue serving others and starting Kingdom-focused Communities in Shawnee, bringing the Light of the Gospel to the darkest parts of this city.”

She said Hobb’s College can seem intimidating at first, but all the professors are intelligent and care about their students.

“Honestly, there are times I am hesitant to tell people what my major is because they think I cannot get a job with a degree in ministry,” Schumer said. “But I always tell people that the things I have learned in my classes have made me grow as a person that I could not have gained from any other classes.”

Bridges also said she has never felt any kind of inferiority in the college.

“All the professors in the college are men, but I’ve never felt like they’ve undermined me because I’m a female,” she said. “They’ve always been really respectful.”

Schumer and Belcher both encourage other women who are interested in studying theology or ministry to be brave, and not feel intimidated.

“Don’t go into ministry just to find a husband and have babies,” Schumer said. “Go into ministry knowing you can make a difference in the world. Follow Jesus boldly, and know that you don’t have to have your life together all the time just because you are a ministry major… but never stop seeking earnestly after the Lord.”

 

Commitment to Christ in a Whole 30 age

By Loren Rhoades, Assistant Features Editor

Commitment is a strong word, especially when it comes to committing our time to Jesus. We are a generation who lives off of committing our lives to worldly things, but who can’t seem to commit to a 30-minute quiet time each day.

It’s saddening how much easier it is for society to commit to a diet, an exercise routine or even academic pursuits than it is to commit to our faith.

We spend our days proclaiming everything we do is influenced by our relationship with the Lord, but we struggle to make ourselves just open our Bibles more than once a week.
We seem to be focused constantly on our physical and mental health more than we are our spiritual. This is evident on many college campuses, even
OBU.

If you were to walk around campus and ask 50 students if they had done the Whole-30 diet, over half would say yes. But, if you were to go around and ask the same 50 people if they had read their Bible every day this month, the answer would most likely not be the same.

It is so easy to get caught up in the excuses for not spending time in the word. Excuses like, “I’m too busy”, “I will do it later” or “no one will know if I just skip one day”. But excuses can turn into days, weeks and even years. There should be no excuses for embracing one of the most helpful things in our spiritual walk.

I am not one without blame in this situation, because I struggle with this myself. I am the queen of missing my quiet time, but that is something I want to change. I want that to change because I know how much better I feel when I’m committing that time to the Lord, and I also know how much better my actions are in those times as well.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand how hard it may seem to stick with a steady reading plan, especially when you are in a busy season of your life.

But you can’t give up just because something seems somewhat difficult. If you are able to keep up with the rest of your busy schedule, you should be able to set some time aside each day to spend with the Lord as well.

It’s time to take initiative. It’s time for us Christians to consistently be good examples in our faith. We can exemplify faith in many ways, but perhaps we can start with just being intentional in our personal relationships with the Lord and being intentional about the time we spend focusing on Him every day.

By being consistent in your reading each day you will not only be happier, but you will also be more knowledgeable.

Continually staying in the word can help you to consistently grow a relationship with the Lord while also gaining knowledge of the Bible itself and how you should live your life as a Christian. You just have to stay focused and keep on track.

There are multiple ways to keep on track of course – ways that are super simple and take no time at all. First, set an alarm for a good time in the morning or evening to sit down and read a chapter or two.

Second, find a good devotional. I personally find that I keep up with my quiet times better when I have a set devotional I am going through.

Third, talk about it with others. You will become so much more invested in what you are reading when you are able to share what you are learning.

Trip to Holy Land offers spiritual opportunities

By Chelsea Weeks, News Editor

My warm tears flowed down my cheeks as my heartbeat quickened and breath shortened. Rocks dug into my knees and I could feel the water soaking through my jeans. I was worried about the cold water lowering my already compromised immune system.

I was even more worried about missing my chance to become fulfilled.

I was given the opportunity to travel to Israel on the Dateline Jerusalem Reporting Seminar through the Philos Project and tour the Holy Land. Within the first 72 hours, I found myself on my knees at the Sea of Galilee crying out for restoration.

For me, that need of spiritual restoration came from my childhood.

When I was five, my father got the calling from God to start a church in Phoenix Arizona. So being faithful and intoxicated with the Lord, we fulfilled the call. We started Horizon Church right in our living room and raised it up as if it was our baby.

Growing up, I was fully emerged in the word and body of Christ. We would wake up early to set up classrooms and chairs. We’d stay late cleaning up and preparing for the next week. People would be at our house for Bible study at least twice a week and our door was always open for those who were hurting.

Yet, as I grew up, my prayers transformed from conversations with God into opportunities to impress others. And my desire to witness to others turned into a script-ed job. My worship changed from showering the Lord with praise into shining on stage. I fell into this rhythm of stagnant faith and unwillingness or desire to grow.

As I withdrew from the word and company of Christ, I began to blame Him for all the trials of life that started popping up in my life. Instead of making progress in a spiritual manner, I became a hamster on a never-ending wheel.

When I found out I was accepted by the Philos Project to go to Israel, the weight of shame and fear that began to consume me, made me feel like the circus ball elephants would stand on. I couldn’t pray without feeling like a hypocrite and I couldn’t attend church without putting on the “good Christian” façade.

I wanted to be excited about the trip when people asked me about it, but I couldn’t shake the fear and doubt I had.

In the days preceding the trip, I struggled with the thought of going. Am I Christian enough to go? Am I qualified enough? Am I taking away a better person’s chances of going?

I knew my family would be expecting stories from me about how I felt the Lord with every step I took, and I was scared I wouldn’t have those moments.

In fact, I remember going to Falls Creek after graduating and thinking this was my last chance to get that “high on the Lord” camp feeling again. That week passed, and I was no closer to Christ.

As the amount of days before the trip dwindled, the feeling that this was the last chance for a spiritual revolution began to rise in my heart and mind again, and the fear of what would happen if it didn’t.

The Sea was so calm while everything inside me was havoc. Inside my heart there was a war going on: a war between faith and doubt, shame and forgiveness, pride and peace. I had so many destructive emotions and expectations coursing through my mind that when I saw the Sea of Galilee my hardened heart finally broke and I fell to my knees.

I was stunned by the beauty and peace the Sea of Galilee exemplified. I could not differentiate sea from sky, love from lust, desire from duty. The white sky seemed like the light at the end of the dark, long tunnel of pride I had stubbornly walked into.

Within this tunnel I allowed my anger to grow like mold and my grudges to fester like a disease overtaking my heart and mind. Looking at the Sea, I felt as if I could swim across and right into Heaven, into the place of true peace and pure serenity.

Although I was battling a cold and knew the frigid water wouldn’t help, I didn’t want to miss my chance of feeling the Lord’s presence again for the first time in many years. As I walked back to the bus with my tear stained face and sea dampened pants, I felt lighter and ready to see where God would visit me again on the trip. But He didn’t.

With every stop and every lecture, I would pray that Christ would reveal himself to me again. Yet, I would leave unanswered. Even as I was getting baptized in the Jordan river I thought, he’ll come to me this time. But He didn’t. I had that one moment where hope hit me like a flash flood, but those waters receded.

I can’t say my faith was restored. Nor can I say I feel like a born-again Christian and that I walked with Him every step of the way. But I can say I felt that peace He can provide, and I caught a glimpse of who He is.

I felt a sliver of his compassion. I now feel like I can pray without feeling like a hypocrite or walk into a church without feeling like I need to put on a mask.

I can begin to seek Him without fearing not being answered.

Students start 2018 by going to the nations

By Morgan Smith, Assistant Faith Editor   (Courtesy Photo/Kayla Thompson)

Two weeks ago, OBU reopened its doors for the spring semester. Many students spent their J-term on campus taking classes, and others decided to spend their break traveling.

Some OBU students, however, traveled not just for pleasure, but to share the Gospel through OBU’s J-term GO trips.

This year, OBU’s Global Outreach Center offered trips to Greece, Brazil, North Africa, Hawaii, China, Nepal and South Asia.

Sophomore children’s ministry major, Chloe Stokes, participated in the trip to Greece. From Jan. 3-12, Stokes’s team served in Athens and Thessaloniki.

Stokes works in the Spiritual Life office, and said she felt called by God to participate in a GO trip.

“I just signed up for a random one, and then that one came through,” she said. “So I decided to go to Greece.” While in Greece, Stokes worked with refugees from the Middle East.

“We got to work with a bunch of ministries that teach them English, and provide food and clothing and just a bunch of necessities,” she said.

Her favorite part of the trip, Stokes said, was interacting with the children they worked with.

“We got to go play with some kids that live in an abandoned building, called a squat, and we took them to a park that was about a mile away,” Stokes said. “We did balloon animals with them and we blew bubbles, and we played random games; it was fun because we played games that were kind of familiar, but had a Greek spin on them.”

Stokes said she enjoyed the trip, and has already signed up for another GO trip to Utah this summer.

It is not uncommon for students to return to countries where they’ve previously served, however.

Senior Haylee Belcher, for example, participated in the trip to Brazil; this was her third time to travel to the country.

As in her previous trips, Belcher went to the Amazon, and worked with a community settled up the river. The trip lasted from late December until Jan. 20.

“We stayed with two girls who are our age, and they work for what’s basically the Baptist Association of Brazil,” Belcher said.

Belcher said her team helped with Bible study, small groups and Bible storing.

“They don’t actually have a church building, which I loved because it was really focused on the community,” she said. “They had services—they called them ‘street services’—because they would go to a street.”

Her team also helped with a dental clinic in the community.

“The two girls have [the clinic] once every few months, and they got to put fluoride on the kids’ teeth and teach them how to brush their teeth; they give them a new toothbrush and toothpaste and floss,” she said. “They usually do it by themselves, and so we got to be there and help them.”

Belcher said her most memorable experience on the trip was when her team spent a week with an unreached people group in the jungle, who she said “was almost totally unreached.”

She said her guides had been working with the community almost two years.

One of her team’s guides in the jungle (who she referred to as “E”) was the community shaman. While her team was there, they shared a story with him and the community every night, explaining characteristics of Jesus.

“On the last night we got to share the story of the prodigal son, and we just told the story to them, and said Jesus told the story to his followers,” she said.

After the story Belcher said they asked E what he thought about the story.

“He replied, ‘I think that the father in the story is the God of the universe,’” she said. “And that was the first time that he’s actually acknowledged God as someone other than ‘the God’ or ‘your God,’ so he acknowledged Him as the God of the universe, which is a huge deal.”

Belcher said she has felt the Holy Spirit present in all of her trips to Brazil. During past trips, Belcher said she has gotten sick and hurt in the jungle, and while all of her trips have been difficult, they have been worth it.

“Don’t be afraid, because the first time I went to Brazil I was really afraid,” she said. “The biggest advice I can give is that it’s worth it, the sickness, the pain, the fears, they’re worth getting the Gospel where it’s needed.”

After graduation, Belcher said she plans to continue doing God’s work in Brazil.

“It’s honestly my favorite place in the world,” she said.

 

 

Journalism students visit Israel over J-term

Jonathan Soder, Faith Co-Editor   (Courtesy Photo/The Bison)

Three news and information students – Alyssa Sperazza, senior Anna Dellinger and junior Chelsea Weeks – visited Israel over J-term as participants in the debut Passages trip specifically for journalism students.

Dr. Joy Turner, director of global mobilization, received an invitation for students to apply just days before the deadline in October of 2017. She immediately contacted Prof. Holly Easttom, adviser of The Bison, who alerted several Bison staff members to the opportunity.

“The three students that went on this trip had to apply after being nominated by OBU faculty,” Turner said.

“They then had to go through a rigorous selection process, including being able to demonstrate their abilities in writing. They joined students from universities across the US from which only 32 students were selected.”

According to passagesisrael.org, the aim of the Passages organization is to “take Christian college students with leadership potential to Israel” so they can “experience the roots of their Biblical faith.”

This particular trip, dubbed the Dateline Jerusalem Reporting Seminar, was carried out by the Philos Project and the Museum of the Bible.

“A lot of the stuff that we did was we would go to Biblical sites, like the City of David, Sea of Galilee – places like that,” Weeks said.

“But then we had a lot of lectures from Jews and Palestinians, so it was a mixture of both political and Biblical. And then, since we were a specific group in relation to journalism, we had a lot of extra lectures from newspapers in Jerusalem, news reporting, wire companies – stuff like that. So, it was kind of a seminar, but also a vacation to see all the Holy Sites.”

Integrated into the experience, between the site visits and seminars, was the challenge for each student to find a story and sources and write the story before returning home.

“That was super hard because, first off, you’re in a new country. You don’t know anybody. You have a very broad history of the conflict and the actual land,” Weeks said.

“So, for me, it was very overwhelming. But it taught me a lot about news gathering and the different ways to news gather. Because, ever since I’ve worked for The Bison, in the news it’s been check the calendar, ask a couple [of] deans what’s new in their schools, and things like that. This was completely different.”

Sperazza, who graduated in December and is now interning at the Pulitzer Center in Washington, D.C., aims to eventually become a foreign correspondent stationed in the Middle East. For her, this exercise was an introduction to the people she hopes to engage with in her career.

“I co-wrote an article for The Federalist while in Israel and we featured a woman who lives on the border of Gaza. Her children don’t know what it’s like to live in a city where there’s not a chance of a bomb threat. That blew my mind when I realized these kids have spent more time in a bomb shelter than anywhere else,” Sperazza said.

“It was a heartbreaking and really difficult realization but I’m using it as fuel. If we can make people the focal point and not the destruction or the politics, maybe we’ll be quicker to help and call for peace.”

Dellinger hopes similarly to take her journalism career overseas, though Israel is not high on the list. However, the emphasis on international journalism in general opened her eyes to the ease with which news can be falsified.

“It impacted me quite a bit just in realizing the great amount of bias in media and how much people can misconstrue what’s actually happening,” Dellinger said.

“They kept telling us – while we were there we got to meet with several journalists, a news organization and a watchdog organization – ‘You don’t know the truth unless you’re on the ground,’ and it’s really true. A lot of news portrays Israel as a big bad wolf almost, always at war. So, a lot of times people will just read headlines and not go any further into the story. And, since the headlines are meant to sensationalize, a lot of people don’t get the full truth and don’t even necessarily care to.”

While at a Friday-evening Shabbat dinner, Weeks was directly faced with the public distrust that has been brought upon journalists because of the sensationalism Dellinger described.

“There was this one guy there named Benjy, and he was a Jew. And he challenged me with journalism,” Weeks said.

“He was like, ‘No matter what, you’re always going to be biased’ – not saying that it’s a corrupt profession, but kind of saying it. So, I had to defend journalism, and I had to defend what I’ve been studying for the past two years. It was so interesting to have to take what I’ve learned through all of my classes and apply them to this conversation. And it wasn’t just the journalism classes I’ve taken. I even had to take stuff from CIV and use them in this conversation and a lot of other things.”

Benjy didn’t stop with journalism, but also challenged Weeks about her faith.

“So, I had to defend my faith and my profession in a conversation that I wasn’t prepared for. That really made me think long and hard about journalism and my faith.”

As Dellinger indicated, even journalists recognize the corruption within their own craft. Apart from faithful Christian journalists, Dellinger says there is hope in watchdog organizations, such as HonestReporting, who actively search out and condemn biased news.

“I’m not necessarily a huge watchdog activist,” Dellinger said. “But, these organizations really hold journalists accountable, and I think that’s really important.”

For each young woman, this trip offered separate revelations. Sperazza saw the reality of journalism’s imperfections in a new light.

“It just was a reminder that the world is a big, messy place but everyone has a story worth hearing,” Sperazza said. “The trip did highlight how much journalism and media is failing in its coverage of the Middle East. It was incredibly eye-opening how things are spun and words are twisted just to sell a few more papers. While that’s discouraging, it just shows how much work there is to do.”

Dellinger experienced a moment of self-realization.

“I’ll never know all there is to know,” Dellinger said. “I didn’t think I knew much about Israel, and I didn’t. I was right. But I thought I knew some about Jewish traditions, or some about the Old Testament, but seeing it in context was incredible.”

And Weeks, despite participating mainly for career preparation, was strengthened in her faith after a trip to the Sea of Galilee.

“I truly wept. For the first time I can say I wept because I realized how tired I was of doing everything on my own. It really opened my heart. I’m not gonna say I walked away from that 100 percent healed and me and Jesus are BFFs. I wish I could, but it definitely helped me realize that I don’t have to do it alone, and that he is going to supply me with everything I need. I just have to trust him.”

As of yet, director of global mobilization Dr. Joy Turner has not heard of any plans for a similar trip during January of 2019. However, she remains hopeful that Passages will indeed conduct it again.

“International travel is important as it broadens our worldview and experiences,” Turner said. “Since this trip was specifically related to journalism, it has given our students the opportunity to apply what they are learning at OBU in an international context.”

 

DACA Prayer Vigil

September 10, in response to the White House’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, El Camino OKC and area churches hosted a prayer vigil in front of the Oklahoma State Capitol. “Dreamers,” as the recipients of the act are called, from the area, children of immigrants and uninvolved supporters attended the event and prayed for action from Congress to protect the people the act protects.

 

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David Platt to speak at chapel

Jonathan Soder, Assistant Faith Editor

 

David Platt, president of the International Mission Board, will speak at chapel on Bison Hill today at 10 a.m. after years of being sought out by Spiritual Life administration. Platt’s visit highlighted the overall missional purpose of the university, present and past.

Platt’s most direct influence on many students comes from his 2010 book “Radial.” Associate professor of applied ministry Dr. Scott Pace even incorporates Platt’s book into his curriculum for vocation and calling.

“I believe “Radical” serves as an introduction to a proper understanding of missions as a natural byproduct of faithful obedience to Christ,” Pace said. “Because of OBU’s commitment to mobilizing students in global outreach initiatives, it is a helpful tool that clarifies and compliments our efforts.”

Freshman pastoral ministries major Collyn Dixon, currently in Pace’s vocation and calling class, got a better understanding of Platt’s motivations after reading “Radical” recently.

“I understand that he is incredibly heavy on going out into the world to share the gospel,” Dixon said. “With not just America, but with all the nations, the ones that are poor and in dire need of the gospel.”

For Pace, the overarching chapel topic this semester, ‘following Christ’, represents a point Platt and OBU agree on closely.

“I believe Platt’s view and OBU’s perspective of ‘following Christ’ parallel each other because they are both founded on the Biblical mandate of Christ for his followers,” Pace said. “When you consider the core of OBU’s mission – integrating faith with all areas of knowledge, engaging a diverse world, and living worthy of the high calling of Christ – it’s easy to recognize our commitment to train students to fulfill their calling is, in reality, not radical Christianity, it’s real Christianity.”

Despite his mission-oriented focus, Platt has come under some scrutiny during his time as president of the IMB due to the fact that he’s never had experience as a long term missionary. However, Pace is slower to criticize him for this.

“While I believe there are certain aspects of a career missionary’s work that are particularly understood by those who serve in that capacity, Platt’s vision for reaching the nations and his leadership of the IMB cannot be limited to any one ‘type’ of missions perspective,” Pace said. “I believe his extensive international-missions experience, his teachable and cooperative spirit, along with his successful ministry as a mobilizing pastor, uniquely positions him to lead SBC churches in sending, supporting, and serving missionaries to engage the world with the gospel of Christ.”

Platt’s visit not only highlighted OBU’s contemporary goal to “engage a diverse world,” but also served as an opportunity to remember OBU’s past.

“Our thought continues to be, we want IMB representation on our campus because of the history of OBU and missions,” Dean Dale Griffin said. “When we were founded, we were founded by two Baptist mission organizations. They were focused on being in Oklahoma to reach people for the gospel.”

The two organizations would come together and form the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma in 1907, the same year Oklahoma would become admitted to the union. One group walked from the then-First Baptist Church, now Stubblefield Chapel, to a since-burned down opera house where the second group met.

“Their first decision, as a convention, was to create an education commission,” Griffin said. “Their purpose was to research and prepare the way for a Baptist university in their state. So, they united, became one, and formed one Baptist university.”

OBU, originally the Baptist University of Oklahoma, has maintained the mission-oriented goal of its founders in many ways. One has been its close partnership with the IMB as the top supplying university of graduated students in past years. Whether or not that status is maintained this year, OBU’s devotion to missions will remain at the forefront just as it is for Platt.

Veterans Day Profile: Dr. Randy Ridenour illustrates service

Mya Hudgins, Faith Editor

November is known for the Thanksgiving holiday, but many people overlook the second holiday found in November, Veterans Day. This day is just as special as Thanksgiving. It is a time where we get to thank and support those who served, died and are still serving our country. Because of these brave men and women, we have freedom.

OBU has many veterans, one in particular is Dr. Randy Ridenour. He served as Chaplain (Major) in the United States Army.

“I served in the United States Army, a combination of active duty and reserve for 34 years. I was stationed in Georgia, Germany, Texas, Oklahoma, Iraq, and Afghanistan,” Ridenour said.

As people serve in the Military, they sacrifice a lot more than just their lives.

“Leaving home was never easy — I was gone for three years in one ten-year period”, Ridenour said. “I was always concerned about missing important things in my daughter’s life, and leaving my wife with the responsibility and burden of being a single parent. My daughter was engaged when I received orders for Afghanistan. The possibility of me not being there for the wedding was devastating for her (fortunately, I was able to come for the wedding).”

While being surrounded by things that could be scary or harmful, Ridenour was taught multiple important lesson.

“My time in the military gave me an anxiety about punctuality, an aversion to standing in lines, and the knowledge that no matter how bad things seem to be, they could always be worse. More importantly, I learned from experience the deep truth of John 15:13, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Every situation has its hardships and good times. Sometimes it just depends on which one you focus more on.

“The primary hardships of deployment were being away from family, and losing friends who died in combat. The most difficult task that I had to do was to be there for ministry when a family was notified of a soldier’s death,” Ridenour said. “[Also], I learned that there are wonderful people in every culture. I developed friendships with people that I know I could count on for anything at any time. I learned that God can not only sustain us, but grant us the strength to do things that we never dared dream that we could do.”

Serving in the military comes with things that can’t always be controlled or expected; however, Ridenour still finds a way to look for Christ in the moment.

“It’s difficult to think of Christ being in control when an IED has just exploded, when the base is being bombarded with a rocket attack, or when a soldier has died. I preferred to think, not so much as God being in control, but that even these times could be redeemed by the grace and love of God,” Ridenour said.

Scripture can have an effect and bring encouragement to a time of need.

“There were many times when I doubted that I would be able to do what had to be done. During those times, I would meditate on Isaiah 41:8-10, a promise that God will strengthen and uphold his people,” Ridenour said.

Just as the season of summer changes to fall and fall changes to winter, there are new seasons of life for the Professor as he has officially been out of the military for five months now.

“My goal, as a professor at OBU, is to get students to develop the ability to think hard about some very difficult subjects. The world is facing some incredibly difficult problems now, and I believe our future well-being will require a generation of Christians who are willing to face those difficult problems and develop creative solutions to them,” Ridenour said.

As transitions can sometimes be a little hard, the saying “Army strong” was never an understatement.

“In my case, there were several transitions. I would take a year off from OBU for a deployment, come back for a few years, then deploy again… It was always a little difficult to just step back into normal life after I returned,” Ridenour said.

As Ridenour has a special opportunity this Veterans Day to preach during chapel at a school in Louisiana, he also shares he’s heart on how Veterans Day has an impact on him.

“I do appreciate people taking notice of veterans on the Veterans Day holiday. Honestly, though, I sometimes see it as a token day on which people can pay lip-service to veterans. Instead, I would prefer that people would financially support organizations that attempt to reduce homelessness and unemployment among veterans,” Ridenour said. “Military family members don’t get their own holiday, but in many ways, the children, spouses, and parents of members of the military are the ones making sacrifices that are rarely noticed. This year for Veterans Day, make a special effort to reach out, not just to veteran, but to that veteran’s family, and acknowledge the burden that they have had to bear.”