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May 30, 2009

Session 2 | Day 1

Good evening, my name is Russell and I'm a third-year staffer here at Summit Ministries. When I woke up this morning, there were six students here. Now, there are a hundred and eighty. If I knew even basic mathematics, I would know how intense the day's activities must have been.

I woke this morning and began reading my Bible--I'm going through it from Genesis to maps and I'm in the dense forest of Deuteronomy, hacking my way with a hermeneutical machete. Hope for Joshua compelled me through the old covenant for a while, after which I left my room to meet dozens of new arrivals. Students have come from all over the United States, as well as several non-United-States countries, and I was fortunate to expand my horizons by encountering exotic cultures and indecipherable accents. If I were playing "friends from United States Bingo," I could cross Nebraska off my list at long last. What I love most about Summit is that it's a Cobb salad of ideas and perspectives on the issues of the day--it starts out divided, but with time becomes tossed together in one sumptuous experience. The Kingdom of Heaven will surely look like this; people from all tongues and tribes (Nebraska included) gathering together to meditate on the manifest glory of God.

The frenzy of activity continued all day as buses and vans brought students from the four corners of the earth to this worldview Mecca, Manitou Springs. We quickly shuttled their bags up to their rooms and set to the important task of feeding them. Dinner was lasagna with Caesar salad and chocolate cake, which was a roller derby for the taste buds. Some people see food at Summit as merely fuel for worldview discussion, a means of getting calories into the students' bloodstreams so they have the mental energies to plough through John Stonestreet's lectures. But we in the kitchen see the meals as worthwhile in themselves and thus we work our hardest to make them delicious.

After dinner, the students all had orientation, when they learned about the mission of the Summit and the rules and regulations. It was a lot to handle for a late night, but everyone will be exceptionally well-behaved for the next two weeks, no question. After that, we broke off into small groups and I got to meet with five spectacular young men. We'll be gathering a few times over the next two weeks to discuss some of the issues that fall through the cracks in the academically weighty curriculum--issues like what it means to be a Christian man in the 21st century and how we can live out Christ's plan for our lives in a hostile, confusing, and beautiful world. After that, a fire drill punctuated day one and all the students are now nestled snugly in their beds, dreaming of scrumptious lasagna and chocolate cake and being homesick for the rolling fields and scenic vistas of Nebraska. After only one day, I know that the Lord has mighty things in store for these students and I can't wait to see them unfold!

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