Barcenia Morgan I 24 September 2019
Barcenia is a current undergraduate student at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
Often, we fail to see the good in our lives because we are too busy anticipating the worst. We look to God, confused and scared. “Why did you lead me here if there is no way out?” we ask. We stress, worry, and doubt, but God teaches us time and time again that He provides wherever He guides us.
I found myself in this situation when I started college. I had made my college decision about two weeks before the deadline, but I was sure that I was going where God wanted me to. I was excited but nervous. The semester started and I enjoyed my time at Baylor, but often I felt lonely. I made many new friends, but I was so used to having a large group of Copts who could relate to me on things that were important to me. I kept asking “God why did you specifically choose the only school in Texas I applied to with -2 Copts?” I made it my mission to find as many Copts at Baylor and get them all in one place. It was not easy, but we managed to gather all 7 of us finally by the second semester of my sophomore year. Although the number was small, I was very excited. I knew that my hometown friends all had OCCM chapters at their respective schools but they all had an actual Coptic population. We started having a few bible studies at Baylor with at least 6 people joining each time (which for us was very promising.) But since we weren’t an official club, we couldn’t reserve a room on campus or have events.
Eventually, we talked about starting an OCCM chapter, although we were skeptical. We got started on the process with the school and realized that it may be a complicated one. There were several meetings with university leaders and applications, but five months later we were Baylor official. I was ecstatic, at first, but later the doubt and fear crept in. Had I gone too far too soon? Did we even have enough people? Would this organization crumble right in front of my eyes? Although these questions sound pessimistic, they were reasonable at the moment. I braced myself for the upcoming year and hoped for the best but kept my expectations low.
Once this school year started, we planned our first bible study. We made it a point to expand our ministry to Oriental Orthodox students as well. A girl that lived in my freshman dorm came to mind. I knew she was Ethiopian Orthodox but had not talked to her in two years. I wondered how I could ever reach her.
On the first day of school, I walked into my Biochemistry class. There was an empty seat in front of me that I hoped no one would sit in so I could see the board. Unfortunately, someone threw their bag into the seat. I looked up to see it was the same girl who I had thought about just that day. I immediately said hello and we caught up on our lives since freshman year. I told her about bible study and her excitement was exactly the affirmation I needed.
That was the first time I heard God loud and clear telling us that He helped us start this journey and would not let it go to waste. In just the couple of weeks of school so far this year, we have had our numbers grow two times that of what we started with. We have met with the University Chaplain who has connected us to other university leaders (aka important people.) The school newspaper asked to write an article about the start of our OCCM chapter and we have found a couple of Coptic families who were ecstatic to find out that they are not alone. It’s amazing to see how far we have come in just a short time.
I pray that God keeps blessing this chapter as He has been in these past couple of weeks. He has shown us that His hand helped guide us through this process and that there is significance in what is being done. “The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail (Isaiah 58:11).” He has done exactly that. He has watered a garden I doubted could exist and formed a spring of water out of what many saw as a desert.