by Madison Franks
When I was a child, my favourite pastime was playing in my backyard under the trees. When I got older, this passion took the form of going for lengthy nature walks until my legs felt like jelly, and until the sun (that was shining when I started walking) was long hidden on my return home.
Now, I still enjoy playing under the trees and walking longer than I ought to, but I also appreciate the quiet contemplative times that nature cultivates for me. Coming to Providence felt a lot like an extension of this quiet contemplation.
The Providence campus is one of the most beautiful university locations in Canada with a peaceful stream that runs through it that echoes the one the psalmist speaks of in Psalm 23. Although we do not have mountains, we have spruce trees that tower well above our heads. Even though we have cold winters, we also have warm summers with fields of wheat that flow in the breeze and mimic waves on the sea, creating an ocean in the Prairies.
Students coming to Providence should expect to find a place where the environment enables them to connect with their Creator. The book of Romans says that we are able to experience God through nature (Romans 1:20). By feeling the strong Manitoba wind, we are reminded of the Spirit whose name means “wind.” By lying on the grass in the dark under a clear sky so full of stars they look as though they might spill out over us, we are reminded of the God who cares enough to give every one of them a name (Psalm 147:4). He has given us this massive world that is full of beauty which proclaims His Name, even when we do not.
The location of the Providence campus allows space (lots and lots of space, we are in the Prairies after all) to think and connect with God, nature, and the people around you. In Otterburne, the town in which our campus rests, one can anticipate a lot of sunny days and a lot of clear, starry nights.
You can expect your camera roll to be filled with pictures of snow-covered trees and northern lights, of close-up deer and pumpkin patches. Long gravel roads are perfect for running and thinking, and the bell tower that rises into the clouds becomes a symbol for community. With the small population size that Providence has to offer, you are also better equipped to build meaningful relationships with others.
The Providence campus may be “in the middle of nowhere,” but there is something about being nowhere that enables us to find God better.
MADISON FRANKS is going into her third year of studies at Providence, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts. Her program major is in the Interdisciplinary Arts with concentrations in English Literature and Sociology.