God's Sneaky Plans Change Student's Direction

Determined to serve abroad for a year, Bryson Bechtel, a junior computer engineering major, took the required missions class and mentally prepared for the journey. However, no single location really grabbed his interest.

"In the past God has always made it extraordinarily evident where he wanted me to be, and last year it just wasn't clear," says Bechtel. "I decided my time hadn't come, but I wanted to make sure that door stayed open and that I remained flexible, just in case God had some sneaky plan for me."

Within a few months, Bechtel was offered three volunteer positions — all in the United States. It was in the Upper Columbia Conference that Bechtel felt God tugging at his heart, and since September he has been serving as the Taskforce Assistant Youth Director at the UCC office in Spokane, Wash.

"I'm organizing the Winter Skifest, a Guatemala mission trip and activities at Camp MiVoden," says Bechtel. "I do everything from making posters to basic logistics planning, to contacting many people and asking them to be involved. I'm learning a lot of useful things I can apply to my professional and personal life."

Bechtel has also held a Week of Prayer at an elementary school, helped with the children's program for DiscipleShip Weekend at Camp MiVoden, attended Pathfinder retreats and youth conferences and much more. During his first week of service at the conference office, Bechtel helped pour the foundation for a new cabin at Camp MiVoden, and his involvement has been intense and intentional ever since.

"I've never had an 8–5 job before," says Bechtel. "The difference between this and other jobs, though, is that I'm surrounded by godly, inspiring people who are doing the Lord's work on a daily basis. It's incredible."

Though he hopes at some point to be able to start a small engineering business of his own, Bechtel intends to remain heavily involved with the church after graduation through youth groups, Pathfinders, local volunteering and mission work.

"I've found incredible joy, peace, satisfaction and love in my life by serving my Lord and Savior," he says. "When I serve the church, I feel like I'm a part of something greater than anything I could accomplish alone, or any worldly thing at all. I guess when it comes down to it, serving God makes me happy and I want to share what I have with everyone around me."

For more information about Winter SkiFest, the Guatemala Mission Trip or Camp MiVoden, contact Bechtel at the UCC office at 509-242-0492 or brysonb@uccsda.org.

January 01, 2011 / Walla Walla University

Becky St. Clair, Walla Walla University GLEANER correspondent