Cathy (Stoegbauer) Berger

Northport Campus Life, '78-'80

I grew up in Northport, NY and attended the Northport HS Campus Life club.  I was involved with Campus Life from 1978-1980.

I was one of the luckiest of lucky people in that I had Jack Crabtree as my main Campus Life leader, as well as Charlene Cosman as one of the volunteers.  There was also a woman named Leah who volunteered (she gave me my first Bible).

 The week of Feb 21, 1978 or 1979 (I can't remember!), we had Winter Break.  There was a day ski trip to the Poconos where I went on the lifts with various Campus Lifers.  Before this I had developed a bitterness towards Campus Life for "stealing" my friends.  As they became Christians, they got involved in Campus Life and I felt left behind.  I don't know WHY I agreed to this ski trip, other than that I loved skiing.  Jack was much nicer than I imagined a friend-stealer to be.  He asked great questions (remember Jack's questions, guys?), and he really listened for the answers.  He left me that day with even more questions that didn't have answers -- the kind of questions you have to think about. 

I drove home from the ski trip in Charlene's car.  She had a tape of herself singing, and I put it in the cassette player (there were no car cassette players at the time; this was a battery player!), and listened to her song "We are the Church."  There is a line that says that even if I were the only one in the world, He would have still sent His Son to die for me.  This is when I "got" it.  My strict Catholic upbringing and the knowledge of God that I already had became quite clear during that car ride and conversations that occurred.  It was like the Claritin commercial, and Christ's death and resurrection became much clearer and full of personal meaning.

I think that was a Monday.  Wednesday night was Campus Life, and I had already become embarrassed by such strange thoughts and had determined to run far away from this Christianity stuff.  I tried to get out of it, but Charlene came to pick me up for Club anyway, so off I went.

Of course the singing and games at the beginning were quite fun, but the real nugget that evening was Jack speaking about the Fruit of the Spirit.  Believe it or not, I had never heard of such things!  I had only personally seen inside a Bible once or twice in my life (at the age of 17!), because our Catholic church adhered to Vatican I and the idea prevailed that the Bible in common man's hands could easily be misinterpreted.  My friend (Dana!) shared her Bible with me.  I was so surprised that there were many words/sentences/paragraphs/pages written in there about how to live a Godly life.  I had no idea!  I had thought the Bible was a book of stories -- from the lame man walking to Jesus' persecution.  I will always remember my amazement at how much more the Bible was than just stories. 

I never prayed a prayer...I just -- was.  I wasn't a Christian, and sometime that week, I was a Christian. 

 - The T-shirt contest:  I won.  I wore 50 shirts!

- The bike trips: Bohemia training ride and the New London, NH big ride  (LOTS of memories!)

- The bike ride to camp out at Fire Island: Probably my favorite memory.  Charlene reading to us (Narnia, I believe); Jack teaching us about 1 John and getting confused about the love/hate stuff that is in that book

-Memorizing 1 John the summer of 1979 or 1980.  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God..."

-Charlene singing -- remember the Narnia song?  ...and Mama Didn't Raise No Fool?  I still have them on Cassette tape!

-Mark Fuhrman not wanting to become a Christian because he didn't want to be a crazy missionary in Africa.

-Ice Cream at Friendly's

I remember Charlene telling me once that if she or Jack decided to worship another God, it shouldn't affect my worship of God.  She was making the point that my faith needed to be my own -- with God and not with her.  This point has visited me many times over the last 30+ years!

Campus Life gave me a pretty solid start in my walk with Christ.  I learned how to do Quiet Times through my leaders (Charlene and the Daily Walk!), I prayed aloud with my friends (Dana, Diane and Linda...and others).  I learned how to apologize when I was wrong and seek forgiveness.  I learned how to forgive.  I learned how to love my family even though I felt, at the time as a teenager, that they were pretty unloveable.  I can't remember which leader told me that if I act like I love them and stay at it, then the feelings would follow.  My family definitely noticed a change in me during those years!

There is no question that Campus Life not only affected my life, but continues to have an influence in that my five children are a result of a transformation that started when I was in high school.  Each of my children is aware of Campus Life and what that time in my life means to me.

I now live in Cary, NC -- right outside of Raleigh. I am married to Randy Berger and we have 5 children -- 23, 21, 19, 15 and 5 (oops).  We chose to join a PCA church early in our marriage and have stayed with that denomination throughout the years.

 It is exciting to watch my children grow as they transition into adulthood.  Their lives are so different than mine was, and it is quite exciting to see how raising children in a Christian family can be so rewarding.  I incorrectly thought that raising children in a Christian family would "guarantee" a sweet Christian family.  "Life" is the teacher God uses to show that being a Christian is not a magical formula to have children turn out great and moral and without problems.  I have instead learned that being a Christian gives me access to an incredible source of life-giving nourishment as I live in the same fallen world as everybody else. 

 As for likes and hobbies, etc:  I love to quilt, do stained glass, swim/bike/run (triathlons).  I absolutely love being 48 and the perspective God has given me having lived so much of "life" so far.  I am passionate about sharing the Gospel without using words, though I am definitely willing to use words when God prompts me!  Finally, I am in love with my husband, and I enjoy the team God allows us to be.