Abbie Ploeser (Session 1)

Summit Student Conference Abbie Ploeser 2014 Colorado Session 1As the bus pulled up to the Summit hotel from the airport, my head out the window with anticipation, a staff member called my name, “Abbie!”  I was so shocked and taken off guard….he remembered me? Being a returning alumnus from the first session in 2012, I was blown away that staff members whom I had only spent a couple days with almost 2 years ago remembered me.

Day 4 of lectures is just coming to a close, and the impact of the conversations shared with countless people, I can already tell will be one of the biggest things I take home with me. I attended Summit for the first time when I was 15. And boy! Was I significantly more introverted and afraid of making relationships and attending Summit not knowing a single person there. Looking back, I have no clue why Summit let a 15 year old like me through their doors, but they did! It has only been in the past few days that the personal growth and change I have experienced in my life since the last time I was in Manitou has become so apparent—now being 17 (and a half).

God has used this returning trip to Summit as a huge eye opener for me, and it is a reminder of His faithfulness in my life. I have an incredible perspective of Christ’s manifestation in my life through the comparison of my personal growth and transformation since the last time I attended Summit. I am reminded of how radically special this place is and what stellar opportunities students are offered to thrive in every way here—opportunities to thrive spiritually, mentally, socially, and definitely physically (the altitude here is killller).

When I came to Summit my first year, a staff member told me she had grown most during her returning years to the Summit. The reason for this (as I now know and have experienced) is because the foundation of knowledge is already there. And now I am equipped to build and add to my pre-existing knowledge of many of the lectures, subjects, and worldviews. I came to the first lecture of this summer, however, expecting to leave an expert on the subjects—after all, it’s all review to me, right? Wrong. Now being humbled, it has come to my attention the vastness of information and knowledge the Summit has to offer. It’s kind of like a really intricate movie that you can watch over and over and over again and each time leave having gained something new from the plot or storyline. A common phrase used around here compares Summit to “a hummingbird drinking out of a fire hydrant.” There literally is no way possible to take it all in.

One of the greatest reminders I have received so far came from John Stonestreet. He told us in his first lecture to “always keep your brain on.” That one hit me hard. How often and easily are we sucked into culture and the norm accepting things for the way they are and not thinking critically with the desire to change and influence the world? We are taught here at Summit to question everything, to defend our faith, and to place God above all else. What a remarkable reminder, especially for this generation of students and young professionals! The environment at Summit is irreplaceable and will be such a challenge to leave (except that I bought the wrong plane ticket on accident, so I’ll be staying here an extra day anyway). But I am challenged now more than ever to further continue my Christian Worldview and knowledge even after I return home.

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt you can do things like this and much more…” – Matthew 21:21