Since my freshman year in high school I have had a deep desire to better understand my own faith and beliefs. That desire led me to want to come to Summit Semester. Summit has definitely helped me in trying to reach those ends, through immersion into a group of amazing people, inspiring evidence of God in nature, and intense classes. I grew up traveling around the country fulltime, as a part of my family’s evangelistic ministry. Because of that, this is the longest I have ever stayed in one place with the same people; at first I was nervous about trying to make friends and finding people that I fit in with. However, as the weeks have gone by I have learned more and more that when you have a common connection in Christ that pulls you towards each other, the details of likes and dislikes is of secondary importance. So far my time here has met and then exceeded my expectations.
The people I have met here are amazing and make me feel welcomed and loved. We have all connected in a way that is very rare in our current culture. In spiritual, emotional, and intellectual facets, we have been able to relate and grow together through trips, sports, and class time. Learning together has definitely been a molding experience, and going through that together has drawn us to each other even more. As much as I have loved my time here, my mind still thinks of the future and what my life will be like once I leave. Though we will leave here in just two short weeks, I know that the things I have learned and the friends I have made will last me a lifetime.
God has blessed Colorado immensely with a ridiculous amount of spectacular natural sights. Since the lodge we live in is in the woods in a mountain valley, we are surrounded by these natural sights every day. From my bedroom door I can take about a ten minute walk up to a spot where I can see for miles and miles and face the sunset. The mountainsides are normally gorgeous, but with the fall colors, they are even more so. The open skies and nice weather have allowed me and a few others to go on short camping trips. These times have helped us grow even closer.
Our main teacher, Dr. Bauman, is an amazing teacher, who teaches us not only facts but also how to think for ourselves. His classes among others have forced us to really think about what we believe in way that most of us aren’t used to thinking. John Stonestreet came a few weeks ago and spent his time teaching us about more recent church history. His lectures were extremely informing, and again pushed us to think through our beliefs. Dr. Williams came next and taught to analyze and understand what good literature is. After that Dr. Hartenburg spoke to us on philosophy, and made us realize just how little questioning we do in comparison with how much questioning needs to be done. He also taught us what good questions look like.
Experiences like this are rare and I am thankful to God that He has given me the opportunity to take part in this Semester. It has certainly helped me to better understand my faith, or at least has started me on my way. The largest factor in my opinion is that there has been such a major exposure to great friends, glorious natural surroundings, and incredibly intense and informing classes. Unfortunately we only have a handful of weeks left, knowing this makes me want to try to make the most of the time remaining. We may be leaving, but the experiences we have had here will stick with us forever.
Andrew Harris joins the Summit Semester class from Indiana. As he looks at future areas of study, Youth Ministry is high on the list of possibilities. In the end, Andrew looks forward to being in a place where he can help others deepen their understanding of the Gospel. While at Summit Semester, Andrew looks forward to growing in his ability to communicate and defend his faith, in addition to other facets through the rest of his life. When he has some discretionary time, Andrew enjoys sports, reading, music, and spending time in conversation with others.