Bekah Hoyle '22: Supported Through the Seasons

Amy Barnard

Bekah Hoyle was asked to speak at this year's Baccalaureate service. Here is what she shared.

As I look back and reflect on the past four years, I’m very thankful to say that I’ve gotten to witness and experience God’s work firsthand. From the transition to digital learning sophomore year to now being an (almost) graduate about to go to college on the opposite side of the country… God has been my consistent support system.

However, my faith has not been strong my whole life. In sixth grade, my parents got a divorce and it wasn’t until freshman year that I noticed how much it affected me. When I was fourteen I was diagnosed with depression and it made living extra hard. I used to blame God when bad things in my life happened because it was always easier to put blame on someone or something than to face my challenges head-on. Even though I was raised in a Christian home, I often felt like I was just going through the motions of Christianity. I never made real connections spiritually, I thought church was boring, and I could recite who Jesus was but my faith was only surface level. I used to put a majority of my effort into people and tangible things of this world that continued to leave me with a huge void in my life. Now being a senior (almost alum), I look back at the kind of person I used to be—my personality, my values, my hobbies—and it allows me to be grateful for how far I’ve come.

I look back at the kind of person I used to be...and it allows me to be grateful for how far I’ve come.

I remember sitting in chapel one day this year when Mr. Britten was speaking about the power of forgiveness and how it’s never too late to start a relationship with the Lord. He said, “If you don’t know where to start, start with reading the gospels.”

It stuck with me. This is where I got this verse from: "Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Mathew 17:20.)

Throughout my time at Minnehaha, I’ve learned that I don’t need to be perfect to have a relationship with God. I learned that God values my effort and dedication, not my perfection. My mistakes and failures have been what shaped me to be who I am today. This was something that my surface faith always doubted. I used to think that I was in total control of my life; I would pick and choose what challenges I wanted to give to God, and which ones I would just battle out myself. I came to learn that no problem is too big or small to give to Christ.

I’ve learned that I don’t need to be perfect to have a relationship with God. I learned that God values my effort and dedication, not my perfection.

I am blessed that I’ve been able to attend Minnehaha for the past five years. To the senior class, we’ve been through it all together. From freshman year at "dirty dota" to struggling through senior term papers together we’ve overcome huge obstacles. We’ve seen each other rise and fall, but most importantly we’ve loved and supported each other along the way. I’m very proud to call you guys my friends.

To the teachers and staff, Minnehaha would not be Minnehaha without you guys. I think I can speak for everyone when I say how thankful I am to have such an amazing group of people who care so deeply about their students.

I’d like to recognize three staff members specifically that have played a significant role in shaping my faith journey. The countless times that I’ve talked with these teachers, they never judged me, nor made me feel like I wasn’t “godly” enough, which has ultimately inspired me to continue pursuing my faith. These three have not only taught me how to walk with Christ but they’ve been incredible God-fearing individuals, role models, and they’ve shown me, unconditional love.

Mr. Zimmer, Señora Calvin, and Mr. Hoffner, I can’t even begin to express my gratitude toward you and the influence you’ve had on the Minnehaha community. Whether you know it or not, you’ve pushed me to explore my faith deeper and you’ve helped me see God’s consistency in my life.

Mr. Hoffner, your wisdom that you’ve so graciously shared with me throughout chapel groups and just chatting in the halls has made such an impact on me. You inspire me to challenge my faith and earnestly seek God and for that I am forever grateful. Señora Calvin, you are the most compassionate women I’ve ever met. You have such a big heart for others; not only do I look up to you in the classroom, but also outside of the classroom. You are an amazing woman and mother and I aspire to be half the person you are someday. Lastly, Mr. Zimmer, I don’t even know what to say. You are like a father to me. I’ve known you since eighth grade and ever since, you’ve taken me under your wing. Thank you for spending endless free hours with me, being a shoulder to cry on, and for truly believing in me. I will forever remember and cherish all the advice you’ve given me. There’s honestly not a word to describe how grateful I am for you. God is doing amazing things through you. The three of you have been nothing short of compassionate and kind-hearted; you are living proof of God’s goodness and faithfulness and you’ve changed my life. Minnehaha is very lucky to have you!

You are living proof of God’s goodness and faithfulness and you’ve changed my life.

Class of 2022, as we embark on this new journey I hope you remember that you are not alone. In times of chaos and times of peace, the Lord is always with you. As we become more independent, I pray that we ambitiously explore the blessings God gives us and we use our gifts to teach others about Jesus. I’m positive that this next chapter will bring us nothing but success and prosperity. Thank you, Minnehaha, for the best five years!

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