Briercrest Conferences Change Lives
By Julie Cole
Attending a conference at Briercrest College and Seminary could change your life. Just ask Nancy Oduor or Len From.
Although the pair attended conferences nearly 50 years apart, both left their meetings with new direction that changed the course of their lives. Receiving this new direction, however, didn’t come without a struggle.
Oduor was a student at Briercrest in the fall of 2000 and attending the annual missions conference was mandatory.
“I probably wouldn’t have gone if I didn’t have to be there,” Nancy confessed. “My first and second years of college, I thought, missions? No way!”
By her third year Oduor began to make a deal with God.
“I told God I would go on missions if it was to a country where the culture and language weren’t utterly different—and if I wasn’t single,” she said with a laugh.
It was the missions conference during her fourth year when Oduor said every sermon seemed to be directed to her.
“I felt like God was saying, ‘O.K., Nancy, are you listening?’”
This challenged the college senior to lay aside her agenda and consider a life given to foreign missions.
Len From was 24 years old when he came to a Spring Conference at Briercrest in 1954. Although he wasn’t a Christian at the time, From offered to drive his mother and sister to the meetings so they could visit his brother, a Briercrest student.
“I sat through 14 or 15 meetings,” From recalled as his eyes filled with tears. “Finally during the altar call of the last meeting I knew it was time for me to make a decision. So, I went forward and got down on my knees. I knew I’d found the answer that I’d been seeking for years.”
The decisions From and Oduor made greatly impacted their futures.
From enrolled at Briercrest the year following his conversion before attending Colombia Bible College in South Carolina, where he met and married his wife, Millie. He enjoyed a ministry career as a pastor (Alberta), high-school dean (Caronport), and maintenance foreman (Briercrest). From is now retired and lives in Caronport with his wife. The couple has four children and 10 grandchildren.
After graduation, Oduor participated in two short-term mission trips to Africa. During her second trip to Tanzania, she met her husband, Kenedy Oginga, a native Kenyan. The two were married in Kenya in 2006. They, along with their three children, currently live in Caronport while Kenedy studies at Briercrest. Future plans include returning to Kenya to train pastors and provide education and job opportunities for women.
As From and Odour look back at the choices they made to give their lives to God, they insist it’s a decision that can’t be made casually.
“I knew (saying yes to God) could change my entire life,” asserts Oduor.
“Don’t make (a promise to God) unless you’re ready to do it,.” From agrees.
They know from experience that God just might take you at your word.