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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

A Place of Learning and Healing

By Jennifer McClure
Sept. 12, 2010

Trinidad Andino’s decision to attend Valley Forge Christian College might not appear a natural next step in life. Nor would college seem to be a place of healing and reconciliation.

In 2004, at age 25, Andino was established in a career as a mortgage loan officer. She had remained a part of her family’s tight-knit Hispanic community near Springfield, Mass. Leaving was out of the question. Besides, marriage seemed to lie just around the corner.

But that year Andino made a life-changing decision. She accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior and, as a public testimony of her decision, was baptized in water at Bethany Assembly of God in Agawam, Mass.

Almost immediately after becoming a Christian, Andino says she felt God leading her to go to college. Nearly two years later, Andino was unexpectedly laid off from her job, and she began to consider whether she should go into the ministry and what college she should attend.

In her search for a school, one stood out: Valley Forge Christian College, an Assemblies of God school in Phoenixville, Pa. She applied and was accepted. But weeks before she was to leave for college, her boyfriend popped the question.

“I had to decide, Am I going to marry him or am I going to follow God’s will?” Andino says. “I had to say no to my boyfriend. It was a big step for me to leave everything behind. But I had to make the decision to follow God’s will, and God confirmed it and kept on confirming it.”

For the now 31-year-old, VFCC has been a place of academic learning as well as a place to process healing and forgiveness.

After her parents’ divorce when she was 5 and the custody battle that followed, Andino says her biological father all but disappeared. Though now her mother is remarried and both she and her husband have made decisions for Christ, Andino says as a child she never had a strong father figure. But at 25 she found the best Father.

“When I got saved, I started realizing that God was my real Father,” says Andino.

As Andino grew to know her Heavenly Father and learn more about Him through her studies and through professors and friends at Valley Forge, a desire to reconcile her relationship with her biological father began to grow. Earlier this year, she had the unexpected opportunity to do so.

In January, Andino received word that her father, who lives in Puerto Rico, was facing a life-or-death situation. Though she barely knew him, Andino decided to take time off from school and go to Puerto Rico to be with her father and his family.

“I was just open to what God wanted to do,” she says. “I was more scared that if I didn’t go I would regret it if my father were to pass away.”

Andino’s father had developed gangrene in his arm. During her two-week stay in Puerto Rico, doctors had to amputate the limb. Andino was thankful she was able to be with her father and his family during the crisis, but she was elated that while she was there he chose to come back to the Lord.

For the first time in her life, Andino has a relationship with her biological father. He now calls to check up on her and called to wish her a happy birthday this year.

“I guess I’m just tapping into the unknown and allowing God to do this process in my life,” she says. “It’s uncomfortable sometimes because I’m older now. But I’m allowing that to just take place because I feel it will be healing for me and healing for him, too.”

For Andino, VFCC has played an invaluable role in helping her to grow in her faith and to process, forgive and heal from past hurts.

“Professors have helped me to clarify my thoughts,” says Andino, now in her junior year at Valley Forge. “If I have any questions I can go up to them, and they’ll pray for me, talk to me. They’ll give me Scriptures to help me get my theology straight. That’s made a huge impact in my life.

“Valley Forge has really been a place of healing for me, a place of restoration and a place of just growing and learning.”

JENNIFER McCLURE is technical editor of the Pentecostal Evangel.