“I Am NYTS” Student Stories – Lydia Rodriguez-Bumgardner, Registrar’s Office, Registrar’s Office
Lydia Rodriguez-Bumgardner, Registrar’s Office
My journey at NYTS began in 1992 when I came to register as a student in the MDiv. Like many others who have done the same, I walked in by faith that day. I emptied out what little I had in my savings account and paid for the first semester, not knowing how I would pay for the rest. I was a bundle of nerves. As I sat with the person handling the finances, she did her best to set me at ease.
Finished with the registration process, I went to visit Dr. Jose Caraballo, the Director of the Certificate Program. I had known him since I was a teenager serving in my local Presbyterian church and he always encouraged me to go to Seminary. When I came into his office his face lit up and after finishing a call about a bi-lingual job somewhere, he turned and asked, “What are you doing here? Did you finally stop fighting with God and come to Seminary?” I laughed and assured him that I had just registered. He told me I was going to love being at NYTS, and his excitement gave me confidence that I had made the right step in my spiritual journey. All of a sudden he stopped talking, looked at me and said, “Do you speak Spanish?” Taken aback a bit, I affirmed that I did. “Do you need a job?” he asked.
To make a long story short; that day I interviewed and was hired as the Assistant Registrar. I had walked into the Seminary that day to become a student; little did I know that God was going to provide the way for me to pay for my education! My life at NYTS was a whirlwind of work, study and service as a Student Government representative. Looking back at it now, I often wonder how I was able to do all of that. The answer is: by God’s Grace! I can truly say that I love my job and am so grateful that I have the opportunity to serve this wonderful institution. The greatest joy is Commencement day. When I see the candidates for graduation receive their degrees I feel so proud of them and I am so glad that I was a little part of their journey.
As a student I remember truly delectable bits of wisdom garnered from professors…Minka Sprague’s “dance through the scriptures”…Dr. Han’s “What does the text say?”…Dr. Weisenbach’s “know how to appreciate the volunteers”…Dr. Alfaro’s truly amazing mind…Dr. Russell’s preaching! As a staff person I celebrate the truly wonderful persons that work tirelessly every day. I am thankful that we come together and uplift each other in prayer; that the Lord has made us into a community of love, acceptance and caring of one another. I look forward to the rest of the journey with joy! Blessings to all!