BY: ASHLEY KLINE
Abandoned, rejected, and lonely are a few words that describe my first semester at Virginia Wesleyan University, then known as Virginia Wesleyan College. Like many college freshmen, I struggled to discover where I belonged and sought refuge in all the wrong people, resulting in even greater loneliness and heartache. When at my lowest point, I was walking around campus with my hoodie pulled up to hide my face when suddenly and unexpectedly I remembered my mom’s voice in my head, urging me to go to the Chaplain’s Office. Before I began college my mom and I discussed that it would be a good idea to make a connection with the on-campus ministry. This is advice I refused to heed until this moment after walking other paths to no avail. I was out of options.
I was in need of a friend and a place of sincere comfort and guidance. I walked into the Chaplain’s Office distressed and thankful to find Greg West more than willing to take a break from whatever he was working on to hear my story and listen to what I was going through. Little did I know this was a fateful meeting that would change the course of my life forever.
I participated in youth group through a local church during high school but was more interested in making friends than hearing the Gospel. I thought of it more as a social club than anything else. I came to college without any real knowledge of who Jesus was except for the fact that he was a man who lived a long time ago, helped the poor, died on a cross, and was in some way associated with God. It wasn’t until I met Greg West that I learned the truth that Jesus is God and that he died on the cross so that we no longer have to bear the heavy burden of our sins. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. Greg imparted these truths to me as well as told me I had a friend in God and that we are able to have a personal relationship with Him. Greg then told me that there was a family to be found in the ministry on campus.
As a result of that day I became involved in the on-campus ministry where I found a wonderful support system, and many people who are still my friends to this day. I began exploring faith and came to belief in Jesus. I added a religious studies major to my degree program. I had the pleasure of serving as Greg’s work-study in the Chaplain’s Office for more than 2 years. I graduated from VWU last year with the class of 2019 and am now pursuing a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary. I continue to work with Greg as the web designer for Life in His Name Ministries and am proud to still call Greg my friend and mentor.