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And we're off!

The population of Otterburne, Manitoba spiked significantly on the weekend, as the students of Providence University College and Theological Seminary arrived on campus for the new school year. As parents and families said their goodbyes – students said their hellos, with returning students catching up with classmates after the long summer, and the new crop breaking out of comfort zones to make some friends of their own. For some, the new school year is intimidating, for others - refreshing, but judging by the first couple of days, there’s a tangible excitement that has weaved its way into the entire Providence community.  

Although many returning students made their way to campus on Sunday night, the main festivities started on Monday, as parents and families arrived in Otterburne to catch a glimpse of the student’s home for the next school year. After campus tours, and a parent orientation, new students got their first taste of the outstanding food services at Providence at the Community Life BBQ, and then it was time for the official goodbyes, as parents and families left campus in anticipation for the first official student-wide event of the new school year.

With all the new faces and introductions that come with the first day on campus, ice-breakers were certainly in order. In what has become a tradition over the years, the first activity of the evening was a “Walk-a-Mile” where students are separated into two lines, and rotate through two-minute conversations with their new peers in hopes to get the ball rolling with some introductions. On paper, this type of activity can seem awkward to some, but judging by the loud chatter and engagement throughout these conversations, it’s safe to say things went according to plan!

After the beautiful walk across the Otterburne sunset, students separated into six groups, and were sent off to visit various ice-breaker stations to keep the evening light and engaging. Without going in-depth with details, the rest of the evening could be summed up by piggy-backs, dancing, and maybe a few more piggy-backs.

Where Monday introduced students to the lighter side of Providence, Tuesday was a time where they really got a glimpse of what the academic side of Providence was going to be for the next school year. With information sessions, orientations, student ID photos, and staff and faculty introductions, students listened hard as they were filled in on everything they need to know for the upcoming semester.

As Tuesday ended off with “Comic Intros” lead by the Student Leaders, students would head back to their dorms to rest up for what would be the first official day of classes Wednesday morning. In a display of anticipation, the Lecture Theatre was already half full fifteen minutes before classes even began at 8:30 – a trend that will almost certainly cease in the coming weeks.

Thankfully for those early risers, Wednesday morning had a scheduled break from classes as students, staff, and faculty were invited to the first Community Chapel of the year – and what a turnout it was. The chairs filled up quickly as the community worshipped in song, prayer, and scripture, and then settled in for a message from President David Johnson.

Dr. Johnson spoke words of encouragement to the students, challenging them to step out of their comfort zones, be leaders, and live to make the world a better place. In his message, we were reminded that the world is a difficult place, and although we cannot conform to the patterns of this world, we still need to find a way to live in it, and strive – with God’s help – to make it better.

It was a fitting message, as students get settled into this place, and may wonder at times what the plan is for them here. We’re reminded that although there are assignments, stress, and difficult lessons to learn, we are here to be groomed into disciples of Christ, into leaders, and into people who can make a difference. To all of the students, both new and returning, from the University College, Seminary, and Mile Two Discipleship School, we hope you have a great year, and we pray that God shapes you, encourages you, and leads you to further his kingdom throughout this school year.

10 College Crescent
Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada, R0A 1G0
Phone: (204) 433-7488 or (800) 668-7768
Fax: (204) 433-7158
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