I enrolled here at Union this semester for a couple of reasons, two of them being to study international rescue and relief and to have some questions answered about my own personal understanding of God and what he means to me. My internal questions about my own spirituality sparked from an experience I had about three months ago. At the time, I was working as a forest firefighter and, on that day, I was called to a pretty aggressive and dangerous forest fire. I remember going into the heart of the fire and smoke was everywhere and the heat was intense. At some point, it all became overwhelming mainly because we didn’t use breathing apparatuses. So we were literally facing a fire with minimal gear. At some point, I passed out because of the smoke. I was pulled out to safety and I may have been only out for four or five minutes but to me, it felt like an eternity. As I was waking up I only saw black and that scared me because I truly believed I had died. After experiencing the fear of almost dying I began to ask myself what would have come next for me if I died. So, I began to seek answers through finding a religion. I considered other religions, but they didn’t feel right. However, Union’s Adventist community seems more accepting. So far, some things I like about the community here is that everyone seems nice and most people want to help others. Ultimately, the main reason I am here is because something deep inside me was pushing me towards coming here and, no matter what I did to get away, I would still end up at the same crossroad. I can’t explain it but I know I was called to be here at Union College.
Dustin Bongiovanni is a junior studying international rescue and relief.