James Ware (Session 6)

Summit Student Conference James Ware 2015 Colorado Session 6Peoria, Illinois | 18 years old

Summit Ministries’ Session 6 Student Conference was truly an amazing, life-changing event! It helped me solidify my beliefs, bolster my faith, and forge new friendships.

How I came to Summit

Some years ago, John Stonestreet visited our local homeschool convention. My parents and I were fascinated by his engaging talks and decided to invest in Summit Ministries’ Lightbearers junior high curriculum. Throughout the next year, my father, brother, and I went through parts of the excellent worldview course and greatly enjoyed the material.

During my junior year of high school, my homeschool co-op decided to work their way through Understanding the Times as a high school class. I fell in love with the material! I enjoyed it to such an extent that my parents purchased an older addition of the textbook for my birthday just so I would have my own personal copy to mark up and highlight!

Winter of last year rolled around. A friend of mine informed me that she was planning on attending Summit Colorado, Session 6 this year and asked if I had the financial ability and interest in attending it with her. While I had interest in spades, I didn’t feel that I could justify depleting my college fund to a great extent in order to attend. I prayed hard for the rest of the year and the beginning of the next that God would make a way for me to be able to experience Summit. By March, the sufficient funds had not arrived, and I had all but given up on the idea of attending Summit. That’s where God stepped into my plans in a big way!

It was at my homeschool co-op graduation. As part of graduation, I was allowed to have one-half table full of things representing my personality and educational journey. As part of that display, I stacked several books that had influenced my life. There was by Study Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, a Dick and Jane reader and, you guessed it, my personal copy of Understanding the Times. During the reception, I noticed a gentleman perusing my table. At first I didn’t recognize him but it gradually dawned on me that he was one of our co-op dads, a gentleman with whom I was casually acquainted. I walked over and he pointed out Understanding the Times, asking me why I had included it. I began to rave about how much I loved Summit Ministries and all they did. He asked if I had ever considered attending Summit in Colorado. I briefly explained the events of the past few months and how I was, sadly, unable to attend this year, as I had wanted to. He looked at me and said, “Stay in touch. If you’re still interested in attending Summit, I would like to help make that happen.” I was blown away! As soon as I got home, I emailed him, inquiring as to the nature of his offer. He asked me how much I was short in my Summit fund. I gave him a rather large figure. He agreed to pay that much to Summit with my name on it. I was amazed! It was incredible to see God use the generosity of this acquaintance to ensure I had the funs necessary to attend Summit!

I quickly contacted Summit to get on the waiting list for Session 6. They sadly informed me that the session was full and there were already twelve students on the waiting list. Sadly, I hung up the phone. It seemed this was the end of my journey for the year. But, God stepped into the picture again. Several weeks later, I received a phone call informing me that there was an opening in Session 6, should I still be interested in attending. I leapt at the opportunity! And, thus, made my way to Summit Session 6!

Open Forums

This was only the beginning of everything I learned during my adventure getting to and attending Summit.  Throughout the two weeks at Summit, my faith was bolstered through the lectures and conversations. I especially enjoyed the classes by Jeff Myers and John Stonestreet. Their style of speaking solidified difficult subjects in easy to digest anecdotes and bullet points. The open forums were one of the best parts of Summit! So many fascinating issues were raised and discussed by the faculty and students. If you are planning on attending Summit, make sure to visit the open forums! The friendships forged during Session Six were awesome. I met so many incredible young people with whom I am excited to stay in contact.

Extracurricular activities

The scenery was most enjoyable as well. I hiked Red Mountain a total of six times! It was a blast for this student whose Illinois home is mostly flat! During one hike, a friend of mine and I met a man walking his dog and got into a wonderful spiritual conversation. I pray we planted a pebble in his shoe. Sports time was fun. Though I am not particularly physically inclined, sports time provided me an opportunity to chat with and get to know my classmates. The conversations during sports time are one of the highlights of my trip.

Why Summit

Summit was a life-changing experience. When I left for Colorado, I was certain of my faith but uncertain as to how to defend it. Summit taught me that ideas have consequences and that, by recognizing and challenging those ideas in love, we can change the trajectory of our society. Yes, ideas have consequences but so does a generation of young people, equipped and passionate about standing up for truth. If you want to learn how to engage the culture, if you want to meet and make friends with passionate young people, if you want to become emboldened to share our great Hope, consider attending one of Summit Ministries’ Summer Student Conferences. If you’re anything like me, it will change your life!