There's more to life at Bethel than classes & seminars

Beyond the green is a place students to share the joys and hardships of being a Thresher.

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    Mod Life: Finding Fun Amidst Stress

Concert Choir Tour 2015

Concert Choir Tour 2015

The choir's annual spring break tour took them into churches of various denominations in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, where they experienced amazing hospitality from an equal variety of people.
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Bethel in bloom

Bethel in bloom

It seems like we just turned around and suddenly it's spring all over the Bethel campus.
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Spring Fling 2015

Spring Fling 2015

Above is a photo from 2015's Bubbert Awards fun. The Bubberts capped off Spring Fling week, which also included Ultimate Trivia, laser tag, Capture the Flag and Bethel Olympics. Plus an Iron Chef Cook-off with a secret ingredient...
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The end of another school year

The end of another school year

Wrapping up, finishing up and moving out, as another school year ends. Our bloggers appreciate coffee, friends, beautiful coffee, summer plans, study breaks and ... coffee.
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Profoundly Simple

At Bethel, you are bound to meet people who will take an interest in your life. There are friends you will make that will be there for you when you need someone to lend an ear.

I have seen many examples of students helping out a fellow friend or going out of their way to improve the lives of others. These people serve as role models for others. They are people that are to be looked up to in many respects.

Sometimes there is a person that is willing to do great things for those in need, and they are willing to do so without recognition. This can be very difficult because part of the reward of helping someone is receiving thanks and recognition. I am not taking away from deeds that are noticed. These are a very necessary part of community and certainly still require sacrifice.

Bethel is fortunate enough to have a friend amongst us that was willing to make a profound difference in another student’s life. There is a student that has been traveling back and forth to home almost every other weekend to spend time with his sick mother.

Someone on Bethel’s campus noticed this student’s tough situation. Their attention to the pain of others translated into a profoundly simple gift (a note of thoughtfulness and a bit of cash to help pay for gas). The note was left anonymous in order to keep the focus on the student who could use the money and reassurance that people cared.

The effect is widespread. Everyone who has heard this story and knows the student cannot help but tear up in joy for the selfless act. My hope is that it inspires more acts of generosity. All it took was a watchful eye and a mind determined to help with even most simple, and often overlooked, of burdens.


The Great Power Outage of 2015

We never expected it to happen. But it did. And we were all unprepared.

My friends and I were sitting around chatting on Thursday night, looking forward to not having school the next day — as it was Good Friday — when all of a sudden, the room went black and we lost all electricity. None of us even knew a storm was headed our way, but we opened the door to find hurricane-like conditions outside.

The power didn’t come back on for another 24 hours. In the meantime, we had to find a way to entertain ourselves without TV or wi-fi (that meant no Netflix!). So we spent our Good Friday walking aimlessly around Walmart, getting fro-yo from a restaurant that somehow still had power and playing board games by the luminescent glow of our phone flashlights.

Part of me was a little disappointed that the power came back on late Friday night. At that point, there was no longer any hope of classes being cancelled the following Monday because of a lack of electricity. With the wi-fi working again as well, I could no longer put off doing my online homework. :(

On the bright side, it was kind of fun to experience a little taste of what life would have been like before electricity. However, this power outage taught the majority of us that we depend on electricity for more than we thought, and we are bored out of our minds without it.

And backup generators are good.



The Road Home

(Sunday, March 29)

Over the past two days, the Concert Choir has been busy traveling, singing and developing our community with time spent during meals and on the bus. On Saturday afternoon, after a free morning to sleep and grab some lunch in Dallas, we said goodbye to Texas and loaded the bus for the journey to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

That evening, after eating a delicious Italian meal at a local restaurant courtesy of Bethel, we performed at a cathedral in downtown Tulsa. The cathedral provided an incredible, rich housing for our sound to occupy. Each piece sounded different from what we were used to. The sound echoed for what seemed like forever after a crisp release.

Although the crowd was not as large as it had been for previous concerts, we sang just for the pleasure of singing in such a glorious space. This concert, at least for me, was one of the most vocally rewarding experiences during the tour, and I believe others share my opinion.

After our concert, we loaded the bus for a shorter drive to Enid, Oklahoma, where we would perform Sunday morning at Grace Mennonite Church. The next morning, after spending our final night outside Kansas, we headed to the church. We engaged in the worship with the congregation at Grace and then offered a shorter, but still a high-quality performance designed to fit into the worship.

The choir enjoyed singing to such an attentive and involved audience. After the service, the congregation fed us a delicious potluck meal and were able to engage in conversation with the people of Grace Mennonite.

We are currently back on the road for the last time together with this group, headed back to Kansas. The tour has been deeply moving and one of the most powerful experiences of my short college career.

As a freshman in this group, I was unsure of how I would fit in or how a 10-day trip would really go. Before this trip these people were my friends and acquaintances of my college career. However, after traveling with them and giving all these performances together, I can without a doubt say that this is my family.

And as one of our songs asks: “Where is the road that will lead me home?” I can honestly give a reply to this question: I am at home in the Concert Choir.

-Reece Hiebert

Austin, Urban and Rural

(Thursday, March 26)

After having explored downtown Austin the other day, today we got the opportunity to explore Congress Street, an art district that offers, among others, an art gallery, a big thrift store, an antique shop and several private owned clothing, book and gift stores. This area also has got a big variety of food trucks, which made it hard to decide for one only. I tried a meal at one that sells authentic Jamaican food that I really enjoyed a lot.

After spending a few hours on Congress Street, we loaded the bus and headed toward Salado. However, traffic was backed up a couple hours due to an accident involving a semi-truck and a bridge, which kept us from getting to our hotel as scheduled. Instead, we went straight to a ranch a couple of hours earlier than planned.

This ranch is owned by Bethel College alumnus Walter Dyck, who generously let us explore his property. We fed his horses and donkey, took a walk and just enjoyed being in nature.

Kyle made a new friend at the Dyck ranch.

Kyle made a new friend at the Dyck ranch.

In the evening, they fed us a delicious barbeque meal before we watched the impressive sunset and brought the day to a close by singing several songs for Walter Dyck and his friend, who we are very grateful to for letting us experience such a wonderful day.


–Daniel Scharwachter

A (Slightly Late) Recap of Our Time in Galveston

(Monday, March 23)

We started out to go on a guided bus tour through Galveston. Leland provided us with interesting historic facts as well as tips for where to go, what to do and where to eat well. After the bus tour, some of us decided to see the historic downtown of the city – the Strand – and do some window-shopping, others went to the state park and others just enjoyed what we don’t have in Kansas: the beach! … some of them suffering the consequences of “seeing some sun today” in the evening…

Choir tour2015.Galveston

At about 4 p.m., we left for Leland’s home congregation – a most beautiful church with tinted windows and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. After a warm-up session, we got some very delicious food and had the opportunity to meet some of Leland’s family members, who were all so welcoming and happy to have us there. It was just a pleasure to see their shiny faces!

Before we gave our concert we gathered in the old sanctuary next to the actual church, where we listened to Leland’s senior reflection. Most of us will probably never forget those touching moments, when we share joy and grief, laughter and tears, and hugs. Those are moments that bind us closer together and that will become memories for a lifetime.

Our concert went well – the congregation was so engaged and encouraged us again and again with their enthusiasm and joy about having us there and listening to our music. We probably enjoyed the evening just as much as they did. After the concert, we had the possibility to greet the church members and again, we were so blessed and touched by their love and gratitude towards us. This evening will never be forgotten, that’s for sure!

An amazing, relaxing, challenging day full of events and new experiences came to an end. We look forward to the next one.

-Janna Braun


(Wednesday, March 25)

Today we had a few hours of free time in Austin.

People spent time on the Colorado River, wandering busy 6th Street and exploring the Texas state capitol. It was a beautiful day and was wonderful to experience such a great city.

At the end of our free time, we sang one of our pieces of music in Saint Mary’s Cathedral. It was very different from the small churches we have sang in on the tour. I always love hearing the sound of large choirs in cathedrals and it was great to be a part of it.

~DrewAnne Gatlin

Extraordinary Hospitality in Dallas

(Sunday, March 22)

We have only been on tour for two days, but already I am overwhelmed with the incredible hospitality we have experienced.

First in Harper, Kansas — where a congregation the size of our choir (or smaller) not only provided supper, but hosted all 45 of us overnight, and then packed sack lunches for the next day.

Saturday afternoon, we were jointly hosted by Edmond Trinity Christian Church and Joy Mennonite Church (of Oklahoma City) in Edmond, Oklahoma. After the concert we were treated to, as I heard it described, “the faspa to end all faspas.”

This morning, we had the privilege of worshipping with Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church’s sister congregation, Iglesia Luz del Evangelio, in Dallas, Texas.

Choir tour2015.Luz

I think I can speak for the entire group when I say that this was one of the most (if not THE most) dynamic church services that I have ever been a part of! The energy and exuberance that this congregation worships with is truly extraordinary. Although we come from different backgrounds and spoke in different languages, it was clear that we were welcomed into their church not just as visitors, but as brothers and sisters in Christ. It was a moving experience to sing for an audience that was so engaged in the music.

After the service we were led out to the lawn behind the church for a lunch of tamales, tacos, flan and many other authentic Mexican dishes. This also gave us the chance to talk with the members of the congregation and make connections.

As we continue on to Houston, and then Galveston, I’m looking forward to all of the fantastic people we have yet to encounter. I also hope that we can take these experiences to heart and learn to practice such hospitality in our everyday lives.

–Erin Regier

Harper and Edmond

(Saturday, March 21)

We’ve been on tour now for about a day, and we’ve already given two concerts. This morning we left Kansas, traveled into Oklahoma, and we’re now on our way to Texas.

Choir tour2015.Karina       Choir tour2015.Ben&Issei

Over the course of these last 24 hours, I’ve seen a lot of beauty. I’ve seen beauty in the people we’ve met, the conversations I’ve had with people in the choir, the nature we’ve witnessed and the music we make. Several of the songs we are singing express the beauty of nature, something I was reminded of this morning.

Last night, we all stayed with people from the Mennonite church in Harper, Kansas. I was with three other choir members at a lady’s house on a farm.

This morning, we all got up and went out to feed her animals. We were exploring the attic of her barn when an owl flew out from the rafters. Initially, we were all somewhat frightened to be in an enclosed space with an owl, but then I was struck by the beauty of this creature. It was completely white, and as it flew around the barn, we all stared for a few minutes in awe.

As we sang our concert this afternoon in Edmond, Oklahoma, I was reminded of this and other moments of beauty I have witnessed today. The home stays in Harper were a great way to start our trip, and I’m excited for what is to come over the course of the week.

Choir tour2015.Edmond.KR

–Olivia Gehring

Choir Tour Update–Finally!

Greetings from Austin, Texas!

After a few technological difficulties, we are finally able to post blog updates about our tour! In order to catch everyone up to speed on all the amazing experiences we have had so far, I will go ahead and post updates from all the days so far. Look forward to more regular blog posts for the remainder of the tour!

Erin Regier

Newton’s River Walk

I recently took my dog on a walk along the river that runs through Newton and eventually turns into the Sand Creek that lies just east of Bethel. The city of Newton has done a great job with providing sidewalks, dog pick-up bags and benches along the length of the walking path. The scenery is unexpectedly serene and beautiful, especially with the heart of Newton being just a block away.

One small thing was missing from the lovely path though — sufficient lighting! I went walking around 8:30 p.m., and there was an obvious lack of lighting on the sidewalks along the river. With the temperatures warming up, people are going to want to be walking, running or riding their bikes in the evening, and the sidewalk is far too dark to be considered safe for nighttime.

I would highly recommend taking a stroll down the path along the river. It’s a perfect study break and a change of scenery that’s only about a mile from campus. However, if you’re going at night, be sure and take a flashlight!