Peter Rohdin: Responding to God's Call
Written by Aabye-Gayle Francis-Favilla
Peter Rohdin (’85) describes what first brought him from a small, rural town in Maine to Nyack College in 1982 as a “God moment.” Knowing the temptations and distractions he would face in a secular environment, Peter was looking for a Christian school with a strong music program. “I went to Nyack because I wanted to mature spiritually. That was my desire, and I got what I was looking for. I encountered God.”
It was while driving to Nyack to begin his freshman year that Peter first received confirmation from God regarding his path: “While I was driving across the Tappan Zee Bridge, I had an encounter with God. I heard God say to me that my past was north in Maine, my present was in front of me at Nyack, and my future was to the south in the city.”
Peter would sense God guiding him on more than one occasion during his days at Nyack.
“Early in my time at Nyack, I heard God speak to me about being involved in the pro-life movement.” In response to God’s call, Peter helped organize busloads of students to attend pro-life marches. To recruit participants, he’d stand at the beginning of the lunch line in the cafeteria and talk to everyone as they went by.
Whether it was working on the grounds crew or singing with the gospel choir, many of the experiences Peter had at Nyack continue to impact him to this day. He was brought to tears as he recounted the compassionate direction he received from several professors. “They compassionately saw potential in an eighteen-year-old from a farm in Maine. That eventually positioned me for the role I have played in building the Kingdom here at New Life all these years. [They] were willing to believe in me when I had little faith in myself but, looking back, plenty in God.”
That legacy of compassion is one that Peter has carried into his professional life at New Life Fellowship Church in Elmhurst, NY, first as Worship Pastor for twenty years, and now in his new role overseeing small groups and communities. “I’ve spent my life recreating, or creating for others, an environment of compassion where they can grow and discover who they are. I think I’ve also spent my life wanting to help people on their journey—maturing in their journey in Christ, which is what I experienced [at Nyack].”
Given the powerful and transformative experiences he had at Nyack, Peter encouraged his son, Jose, to consider the school. At first, Jose wasn’t interested. “He thought that Nyack was going to be all prayer and meditation.” However, after visiting the campus for a “get to know Nyack” weekend, Jose came back convinced that Nyack was the right school for him. Peter couldn’t be happier: “For me, what was important was the directive of the institution. Nyack College has a purpose to equip people to be leaders in the world for the Kingdom—for God. That’s why I’m thrilled that my son is going there.”
Peter’s heartfelt endorsement of Nyack is for anyone considering a Christian college: “Nyack has a healthy balance of joy in life and also pursuit of God. So if you’re looking for a place where you can be prepared for life, which includes both [the] joy of pursuing who you are and hearing from God to inform that, Nyack would be the place.”
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