Vancouver, WA | 21 years old
Hey all! My name is Sam Dickson and this is my second summer out here at Summit Colorado. I came here three years ago as a student, and since then I have desired to come back to be a part of not only the amazing team, but also Summit’s mission. It is so humbling to see God change so many lives in such a short period of time and to be directly used by Him. There is truly nothing like it.
This summer has truly been one of the best experiences of my life, and I know for a fact that I have made both memories and friends that will remain with me for the rest of my life. God not only brings together an amazing staff to serve all the students that come here, He also brings some amazing students that are just as much of an encouragement to us as we are to them. In fact, one young man who was here last year has become one of my best friends and has encouraged me in so many ways as we do life together. It is truly an honor to be a part of all that God is working through this place.
So far this summer, while each session has been fantastic in its own way, session 3 is my favorite. The reason for that being that I had the privilege of praying not only with one of the young men in my small group to receive Christ, but with a young lady as well. Those were the first times I had ever been directly involved with someone praying to receive salvation; it was the first time I had really seen how powerful it can be when Christ uses my words and actions to further His Kingdom. Those were truly beautiful moments that brought both myself and all those around to tears. I witnessed the goodness of our God, saw His Holy Spirit clearly working in someone’s heart, and knelt with them before His throne and ask for His forgiveness. It was truly a humbling experience, and one I know I will not soon forget.
Witnessing the community at Summit Student Conferences is truly a privilege. It is so incredible to be a part of the staff where everyone desires to serve not only the students, but each other as well. It is so fascinating to see how people can become so close, and you can be so real with someone despite knowing them for such a short amount of time.
One thing that I’ve learned here is how important it is to intertwine truth and relationship. It’s important to show someone you care about them, and that you want to be a part of their life, otherwise your words will not have nearly the same impact upon them, and they will not desire to share their struggles with you. You have to know how to make knowledge acceptable to them.
Now, when I say that, I don’t at all mean that you have to compromise on truths and let them think that certain sins are ok. You must truly love and care for them, and this must be crystal clear to them. When you have a friendship built up, when you develop that relational capital with them, you are then able to have those hard conversations and ask those difficult questions.
There are times when we have to call people out on things, despite the incredible difficulty. I had to ask one young man if the questions he was asking were truly legitimate questions in his mind, or if he was making excuses and delaying the true issue at hand. He admitted to me that they were excuses, and he just didn’t want to accept the truth. He admitted that not because he felt obligated, but because he knew I was asking because I cared for him. That’s our goal here. That is why we serve. We want to weave truth into our relationships, changing lives, and building His kingdom.
Some people ask why we do it. Why do we give up almost our entire summer and serve? How can we have good attitudes when washing dishes for over 200 people, cooking for them, and cleaning up after them? My mind always goes to Matthew 20:26-28, “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.” Christ calls us to be servants, to put our brothers and sisters before ourselves. Life isn’t about us. It’s about coming alongside our brothers and sisters and encouraging them, helping them grow and run the race better. That’s why we do it. That is what enables me to do it all with a good attitude. My God commands me to, and I know that He is working.