Rene Riel Summit SemesterImagine spending two days in one of God’s most mysterious creations: the Grand Canyon. Imagine spending two nights sleeping on the cold, hard ground freezing your booty off, but enjoying every second of it. Now imagine sitting in a car for 8 hours, returning to your home destination just to sit in a classroom for two more hours. Sounds awful, right? WRONG.

It might have been undoable if we weren’t returning to hear from the wise, former director of Summit Semester: Mr. Eric Smith himself. His gentle, yet informative teaching style was refreshing after a long few days of camping and exhaustion. We spent the rest of the week diving into subjects such as the church, the time between the Old and New Testament, the Gospel, biblical covenants, and much more.

He made 32 student’s eyes bulge and hearts soar as he nonchalantly said, “Guys, don’t worry so much about the homework here; enjoy the community while it lasts.” This sentence was a miraculous melody to college student’s ears. As we enter into the last two weeks of Semester, denial and sadness lies deep in our hearts. Mr. Smith offered some comforting yet scary words of hope for us as we begin our next chapter in life. We have made friendships here that will last a lifetime and have gained knowledge that we can share with the whole world. The same God that was with us when we arrived at Snow Wolf Lodge is going to be with us as we return back to our home and lives. What have we to fear?  If God is on our side, what can man do?

It is such a blessing to have professors such as Eric Smith to provide the honest truth that returning home is going to be hard, but also a new beginning. Being here for three months, we don’t realize just how much we have changed. Going home is, in a way, stepping back to look at the whole canvas. God has been painting and adding details the whole time we have been at Summit. Now we get to step back and look at the piece of art in a whole. And with God’s blessing, we will be able to share it with the world.

Rene Riel attended the Summit Student Conference last year in Manitou Springs. It was there that she heard about Summit Semester and became interested in attending the program. While Rene has applied to a number of schools and is interested in several subjects, including Counseling and Education, she is dedicated to submitting herself to whatever the Lord has for her. Rene loves winter and cold weather; she is anticipating the transition of seasons that will occur while at Snow Wolf Lodge. She is hoping that her time at Summit Semester will prepare her to help people through counseling or other means from a Christian perspective.