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Collin and Brenda Barr

Parents and alumni Collin '84 and Brenda '86 Barr share what it was like to witness their son C.J.'s transformation while at Bethel.

We witnessed the common high school insecurities and defensiveness melt away. C.J. soon learned that he could trust the people around him. Professors cared about him as a whole person, and students saw him for who he was.

Playing on the football team broadened his outlook on life. Coach Johnson encouraged the guys to grow into strong men on the gridiron, but more importantly to become men of God emotionally and spiritually.

His semester abroad in Australia allowed him to practice living in the secular world as a Christian. He was determined to connect with other believers and developed life-long Christian friends from around the world!

Our conversations with him deepened. He enthusiastically described the prayer support and spiritually enriching encounters he was having with buddies in a Bible study. His relationships grew from primarily ‘male-bonding’ fun to some serious reflection on God and how to effectively live out faith in the world.

His communication studies major prepared him well for post-college life. He gained confidence in communicating, both one-on-one and in a large-group setting—a valuable life skill.

Our faith was strengthened. We saw God transform our son into a balanced individual who not only functions well in the world, but thrives in it. And unexpected blessings poured into our family as we interacted with C.J.’s friends, their families, and the staff and administration of Bethel.