At the start of my sophomore, I was finally beginning to deal with the grief that had weighed me down since the loss of my father the previous year. God really began speaking to me during that time through my peers, professors, and messages that I heard in chapel.

When I think about how blessed I was to have been surrounded by these amazing and encouraging people at such a time of weakness in my life, I am overwhelmed. As God began working in my heart and healing me from this grief, he also opened my eyes to the world around me and the desperate need for people who are willing to spread the Good News of the Gospel around the world. This realization inspired me to switch my course of study to Religion.

I feel as if I cannot describe the impact that the Religion Department at ENC has had on my faith and my everyday life. At times when I was weak, exhausted, and drained, I would go to class and instantly be reminded of the bigger picture; this helped me take my mind off of my own present struggles and focus on the One who gives life.

Through my religion classes at ENC, I have learned not just what I believe, but why I believe it. I have been challenged every single day to live out my faith in new ways, to strive to live a holy life that represents Christ. Because of this, I feel like I have grown more spiritually in these past four years than in the rest of my twenty-two years combined.

Spiritually, I have one person in particular to thank: Professor LaFountain. In addition to being genuinely kind and compassionate, Professor LaFountain demonstrates a passion for the truth that is not easily overlooked. He constantly encourages students to take their faith seriously and to become “dead, dead, dead” to sin. Every class that I have taken with Prof. LaFountain has challenged me and inspired me to go even deeper in my faith. I have never felt intimidated when asking him theological questions, as he has a genuine desire to help others understand the truth. This kind of care, devotion, and passion for teaching and for the faith of his students has made my time at ENC a time of immense spiritual growth.

As I look forward to the next stage of my life, whatever that may be, I know that the lessons I have learned from students and professors alike will stick with me and will be invaluable to my Christian walk.