I knew at thirteen I had a strong call from the Lord to work in the city. I had no idea what this meant, but I knew my future was going to be ministering in urban communities. Later in life, I received the book A Heart for the City by John Fuder (a Moody professor) as a gift from my parents, I devoured it and knew Moody Bible Institute was the place for me.

So my senior year I applied to and was put on the waitlist, and I waited a year to be accepted. I entered as a freshman with a few credits, but I was an Urban Ministry major at the best Bible College in America. I was now a “Moody.” I was living in Houghton and walking the halls that many of my heroes had walked. I was making life long friendships and deepening my relationship with the Lord, all while being softened by life.

I was a rebellious Moody. I was not the typical student and sometimes felt that I did not fit there. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that none of us were typical. God called each of us to something different and unique; He put passions and drives in us that forced us to work together. He gave me a strong sense of justice and a passion for theology. But sometimes I need someone with an even stronger passion for Theology to call me back when Justice pushes me too far. And some times that Theologian needs me to push her when words are not enough and action is needed. We need each other for balance and function—the Body needs all different members.

I may have felt too “liberal” or “other” at Moody, but what it comes down to is that it was four impactful years of my life. For four years I had the privilege of learning from professors who would become my friends. I sat in classrooms with men and women who would go on to do great things for the Kingdom, others who would walk away from their faith, some who would go on to experience heartache that I can not even pretend to understand, a few who would come out, and those who would struggle. For a time, Moody was for all of us, a messed up group of young adults trying to figure out what life was supposed to be.

In those four years, we prayed together, cried together and stayed up all night studying. We laughed and explored Chicago and drank a lot of coffee. We read the same books, heard the same chapel speakers, attended Missions Conference and Founder’s Week. Ultimately we sought the Lord together and He directed our paths. Paths that have led us around the globe.

I am not saying Moody is perfect, nor was I always a model student. And yet, I am grateful. I sit here typing this post as an Urban Missionary who came out of college with no debt and the tools I need to interpret the Bible, preach the Gospel and make disciples. Moody gave me more than I could ever repay it for. So as I watch her struggle I pray that she will continue to be a place for students like me—those who do not fit but who love Jesus and long to be obedient to the call He put on their life.