Hello! I’m Rebecca, and I just finished my freshman year of college at a state university in Wisconsin. I actually don’t quite remember when I found out about Summit, but I bet I stumbled upon it while I was researching a gap year. I also had a few friends from high school who had been wanting to go to Summit for years. Besides that, it was an excellent fit, since I was not able to do a gap year due to scholarship issues. I had planned on going last summer, but I was glad that did not work out in the end. Since I commuted last year, this will be the first where I meet a lot of people with various worldviews, so this summer was perfect timing for me. Even if Summit didn’t exactly make up for the gap year, it still seemed like a great way to start thinking about the various worldviews I’d be encountering soon.
Coming in, I had no idea how much information we’d be assimilating in such a short time! Because the topics often hit home, they were much more intense than what I expected them to be similar to a college classroom.
On a more personal note, I had NO idea that the small groups would be so open and impactful. My previous experience with small groups had left a bad taste in my mouth and just being away from home with a room of strangers broke down my barriers towards Christian fellowship. My heart opened unlike I had felt in years to what the girls shared and especially to my leader’s wisdom. I was so used to questioning and feeling out of place that this felt like a big, warm hug. The girls also opened up much more quickly than I thought, and since I am a pretty private person, it was especially sweet.
Coming into Summit, I felt pretty confident about the issue of homosexuality as sin in the Bible and in culture – but boy, was I wrong! There was so much I hadn’t considered seriously about the ramifications of legalized same-sex marriage or the importance of defining your words in this discussion. I had many wrong assumptions on how to make sure I was responding to all members of the LGBT community in the most loving manner possible. Most of all, I learned that it is a larger and a smaller issue than I thought. It is a larger cultural issue because it undermines God’s design of the family and sexuality, but it is also smaller in that our sexual identity is secondary to our identity in God, and it is not in some way dirtier than other sins.
As far as my testimony, I grew up in a Christian home. I didn’t take Christ very seriously, though – he was merely a way to please my parents and impress my friends at AWANA. Middle school was almost a faux-searching for God. I think I was trying to learn to an extent because it wasn’t just a show, but none of it truly clicked the way it does when the Holy Spirit opens your eyes. However, during the summer between 8th and 9th grade while I was taking an evangelism class, I began to realize I had a lot of unresolved doubts. While learning how to defend Christianity, I realized I didn’t know why I claimed to do so myself. One night, I talked to my mom and dismissed my questions, but she revealed that I had to choose to follow either God or Satan, period. I had to stop pretending my questions and realizations were not “no big deal,” but rather a sign of an ongoing rejection of God’s calling.
Through the Spirit’s power alone, I chose Jesus. Since then, Crazy Love by Francis Chan and a few other books helped to refocus my worldview in that first year. Eventually, the Lord helped me lead a few friends to Christ, and I tried to keep growing through His strength. During my senior year of high school, I closely befriended someone of a radically different tradition of Christianity. My more technical Christian beliefs that I had always taken at face value were questioned. That helped me start a small journey of my own into actually researching why I read so many Bible passages with a certain bias, and how I could learn from other believers. I began a summer journey through claiming those aspects of my faith (those beyond just salvation) for my very own. I also went through the process of finding a new church, which was very challenging and cleansing. I want to boldly work through the struggles I have with following Jesus so that I can be an instrument for Him now and in the Fall to fellow students. Summit has surely begun that difficult, yet rewarding process.