So, you are new to Kzoo, or maybe you grew up here in Kalamazoo. Whether you grew up here or this is your first time, we can all agree that Kalamazoo is an amazing place filled with great things and people. I was an outsider when I first moved to Michigan, coming from the motherland that is Illinois. When I moved here last year I didn’t know anyone and it was my first time living by myself. Was it scary to go to a place I had never been before, with people I had never met? You bet, but with God’s help and a few tips, you can be a thriving part of Kzoo. So here are a few things that will help you get connected with the people, the church, and the area of Kalamazoo.


1. Trust God

This is an obvious one, but it is so true. You have decided to do EC and you are giving potentially 2 years of your life to further your walk with God. I have no doubt that EC is the plan that God has for your life, so trust in Him. Do not be nervous or uneasy about fitting in, trust that He will put you right where he needs you to be. Trust that God will supply everything that you need, whether that would be finances, people, food, or any other thing. Just trust in Him.


2. Find your people

EC is such a diverse community. And though it is made up of just under 40 people, there’s a wide range of amazing and spectacular people. Coming from a small farm town in Illinois, it was a big hook for me to know that I would be able to do this program with like-minded people. After completing first year I can confidently say that i have made friendships that will last my entire life. So find your people, or let them find you, and they will help you connect to Kzoo and through everything this year has for you.


3. “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

I love this quote from Thomas Jefferson, because it is so true. I come from small farm town USA. When I moved to Kalamazoo there was a big style change for me. From wearing slacks, a dress shirt, and tie to church every week, to wearing skinny jeans and v-neck. So much of my style changed and I would suggest having an open mind. Go out on a limb, and try new things, and be adventurous. An example for me was choosing to grow my hair out to the point where one of the girls was able to braid it (don’t tell my mom). Go with what the style current is doing, “go with the flow”, but also, don’t sacrifice who you are. Be all you and stand for what you believe in “like a rock”.

This year is going to change you. I can definitely say I am not the same person I was last year, but it is all for the better. I am so thankful for my first year of EC, and you should have an expectancy for big things to happen! Here is to one of the best years of our lives!

Tyler Tempco
2nd Year Student