Barnabi get inventive with pandemic restrictions, remote learning


The Barnabi have worked with COVID restrictions all semester, building community while avoiding spread. Following the switch to remote learning, they have to pivot again, connecting to residents scattered all over the world.

Tianna Lor, a Barnabas in Eldersveld, hosted Bible study in-person in the dorm’s basement this year, abiding by the mask and social-distancing protocols. “There haven’t been many dramatic changes,” Lor said. The only differences in hosting Bible study between pre-COVID to now were no snacks.

According to Lor, the most effective and most exciting way to stay connected during this time was through building relationships. As residents studied the Bible together, their relationships grew as well, connections that Lor thinks will go on through remote learning. The Eldersveld Bible study will continue through the extended break.

Emma Search, a Barnabas in Heyns, echoed Lor.  Although Search wished she could host Bible study in her room where she believes people feel most comfortable, as her Barn did last year, these past few months she has learned to adapt. “Bible study has been a chance for some normalcy in a time where we lack anything normal,” Search said. She hosted Bible study outside to accommodate high turnout, went on walks and got lunch with people on her floor and in her dorm.

Trace Rutman, a Barnabas in Schultze, found that “Bible study this year has been very difficult.”. The restrictions made it harder to create a meaningful atmosphere, Rutman said, but through help from his Barnabas team, he was still able to find ways to foster community. Rutman implemented a prayer request box, which he plans to continue for the rest of the year. Rutman surveyed his floor about continuing the Bible study online, but they agreed it would not be as productive.

Lor, Search, Rutman, and other Barnabi are planning COVID-19 friendly ways to connect with students. Their lasting hope is for a healthier spring semester, but in the meantime, they are still available to students now and through the rest of the year.