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Jennifer Jensen, Master of Divinity Connections

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Jennifer Jensen
(MDiv Connections)

JenniferWhen my husband, parents, and I arrived at Bethany Theological Seminary for my long-awaited visit, I was giddy, to say the least! My whole life led to that moment and that weekend. I could not believe my dream was coming true! From the moment we arrived, we were treated with the utmost respect and hospitality. Not only did the staff and faculty put together an amazing weekend for me, they welcomed my questions, comments, or concerns we had and did it with complete openness which shined through in every person we visited. Everyone had a genuine interest in me, my husband, and my life. I truly felt like each person wanted to help me be sure this is where I was meant to be. I had the opportunity to sit in several classes, which was an absolutely remarkable and enlightening opportunity that only affirmed how excited I am to sit in those classes myself. In addition, I had the opportunity to visit with current students and recent graduates, getting a true sense of how Bethany affects and changes a person's life.

Having grown up attending the Church of the Brethren, I have a vast understanding of our church, and loyalty to it as well. Yet I realized I am not done furthering my understanding and love for our church. As a strong Church of the Brethren Christian, I want to continue my passion at Bethany, which I know will enrich my life, and in turn, will allow me to relate to people in a way that will only supplement my current faith, love for people, and the zeal to spread the Word, as Jesus commanded us to do before he left this earth. When I realized I needed and wanted to attend Bethany, I knew that leaving my home was impossible. I have the best job in the world as the Western Plains District Minister of Youth, and feel a great loyalty to our district. Not to mention, I also have a wonderful support system here, which includes my husband, my three beautiful step-sons, my parents and extended family. This is my home, and Bethany realizes, being the seminary for a small denomination, that not everyone is able to relocate. Fortunately for me, the Connections program is perfect!

As I concluded my Bethany visit worshiping at the Richmond Church of the Brethren, I realized that the weekend affirmed my dream to attend Bethany. It was a weekend full of hope, fun, and enlightenment! I realized that through the Connections program, I will not be someone who just visits classes, but truly be a student at Bethany. Bethany has done and is still doing everything it can to make the Connections students a true part of the community. Without this program, I know that I would not be able to follow my dream. I feel honored to be able to be a part of the Church of the Brethren and to now know how fortunate our denomination is to have an outstanding seminary which offers education not only for one's vocation, but to educate the whole person. That is what seminary should be, and that is what I look forward to!

Katie Shaw Thompson
Master of Divinity

BethanyI have to admit I had no idea how much my cross-cultural trip to Marburg, Germany, would broaden my perspective. By immersing myself in German culture, I learned more about hospitality, theology, global politics, my neighbor, and myself than I thought possible in two weeks.

I was overwhelmed by the hospitality shown to us by the parish church and our host families. I will forever be grateful for those conversations across the table, across cultural differences, and across language barriers about the things that matter deeply to us all.