Alumni Highlight: Melissa Hayward

“Go on an Adventure with God!” These were the words I spoke with conviction and fervor during my graduation speech from Arlington Baptist. As I reflect over my life before, during, and after attending college, I realize that I had been going on adventures with God before even giving the speech.  

You see, high school was hard. Even harder, was knowing that the Lord had called me to follow Him on to the mission field, yet I continually doubted myself. My conversations with God would go something like this:

Me: “I’m not good enough.”

God: “No you are not, but I am and I want to use you anyway.”

Me: “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

God: “You don’t, but I do.”

Me: “I can’t.”

God: “Not on your own, but I can.”

Me: “I’m scared.”

God: “Fear not, for I am with you always.”

I finally came to the end of myself and realized that God wasn’t calling me because He thought I was great, but rather for His greatness to shine in my weakness. I surrendered my life to full-time missions, and never looked back. Just kidding, I have looked back multiple times, but I serve a faithful God who hasn’t and won’t give up on me.

With surrendering my life to ministry, I knew I needed to go to a Bible College. My family had a lot of history with Arlington Baptist, which honestly made me more inclined to go somewhere else. After visiting the campus though, I felt the Holy Spirit’s direction and I knew it was where God wanted me. I lived in the dorm all four years of my college career and had a blast. I grew spiritually, intellectually, and socially. I gained a knowledge of God’s Word that I did not even realize I had been missing.

As my four-year tenure was coming to a close, I was at a loss as to how I should use the knowledge I had gained. I had no reason to worry though, because God had a plan. He prepared the way and after two years of being out of college, I was headed to the mission field for a year-long internship. I came back to the States with a greater understanding of my calling, but not only that, I came back with a greater picture of who God is.

 I won’t lie and say everything has been hunky-dory after attending ABC (that’s right, old-school). In fact, since graduating, my faith has been stretched further than I could have ever imagined. What I will say is this, the knowledge and friendships I gained at ABC were priceless and have since helped me through some of my darkest days.

Let me leave you with a piece of advice: Going on an adventure with God may not always be easy, but it will always be worth it.


P.S. I am also happy to announce that until God calls me back to the field, I am back on the campus of ABU, working in the admission’s department.