Troy Nishizaki (Session 2)

Summit Student Conference Troy Nishizaki 2014 Colorado Session 2Anticipating Summit this past year brought joy, excitement, and determination to my mind in an attempt to accomplish a few goals set previously before my flight to Manitou Springs, Colorado. Becoming a more polished intellect, meeting an unnecessarily large amount of people, and attempting to adjust to the altitude, just to name a few, were the goals I hoped to accomplish in my first full day here at Summit.

Waking up at the un-godly hour of 5:30am, I was encouraged that the perfect way for a Florida native to get used to the infamous altitude dilemma at hand was to jump right into hiking Red Mountain. With an overzealous and prideful attitude engulfing my ego, I set off with the amazing and athletic crowd of hikers and runners to take on this adventure. I’m pleased to say I made it all the way to the entrance of the trail before I gave into hyperventilation and indulging in my water bottle which seemed to empty much too quickly.

After about 30 minutes of hiking preceding my dramatic concern about the lack of oxygen, the group of staff and students I was apart of made it to the top of this, to me what seemed like my greatest nemesis of Summit. The marginal benefit definitely outweighed the marginal cost of hiking. Not only was I met with breathtaking views, incredible landscapes, and a realization that I wish there were mountains in Florida, but a group of welcoming friends willing to dedicate our hike to God with devotionals and prayer in a more than worthy setting. Experiencing God in the expanse of his creation proved to be a more than enlightening experience and although out of shape and out of breath, I was able to feel refreshed mentally and spiritually.

7:15 a.m. – The day followed with an amazing breakfast prepared by the staffers, which was much needed after burning off every calorie in my body. Finally rested and ready to take on the plethora of knowledge that would be provided on the second day of Summit, I was overjoyed to hear that some of my favorite speakers Scott Klusendorf and John Stonestreet would challenge me with the intense topics of the image of God, abortion, and relativism.

8:30 a.m. – Stonestreet brought thought provoking ideas about our identity in Christ and the idea that we were created unique. Apart from the cliché understanding, Stonestreet challenged our original assumptions about our Imago Dei by introducing to us that not only are we as humans important, but humanity as a whole is important to the big picture of Gods narration and story. All inclusive of our individual importance.

10:15 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Gaining confidence as the morning proceeded and finally getting over my feeling of tiredness, Klusendorf jumped right into the course material of abortion and setting up the challenging arguments and sensitive topics that followed when discussing how to rebuttal those who come to challenge our way of thinking. Discussing the art of developing an argument in such a pro-choice society only scratched the surface to the increasing knowledge we learned as the hours went on. Mind blown and inspired, we were also met with the idea that abortion is only one piece of the puzzle in the much larger agenda of Secular Humanism and Relativism that shadows our culture and society today. We became aware of the present problem, learned how to formulate a position on the topic, and actually were presented with a way in how to put what we had learned into practice.

Save The Storks, a pro-life organization, gave a presentation on how we as students would be able to embrace what we had learned. This organization, although many at first believed to be an environmental activist group, informed students of real life situations that sadly occur everyday in our society, such as the ungracious entity of Planned Parenthood. My personal determination increased to support such a worthy cause.

12 p.m. – After a busy morning, we had once again an amazing meal prepared by the staff, including the gourmet dish of French fries, chicken fingers, and fried chicken. It may sound a little unhealthy, but the treat was delicious considering the morning held 3 hours of lecturing and soon to come was another session with Klusendorf on relativism and more physical activity at Sports Time.

2:30 p.m. – Despite what some may say, SPEED volleyball is the best sport ever created. A fast paced, all-inclusive game, speed volleyball is both tiring and adrenaline filled.  This includes 4 courts of intense competition ranging anywhere from 12 to 20 teams, depending on who is willing to accept the challenge that day. It was an amazing time for bonding, meeting new people, and fellowship.

5 p.m. – After the exciting afternoon of activity, we headed straight for dinner, once again delicious. This specific evening, I spent time getting to know some new faces along with some of the awesome staff including Mark C. Young and Cameron Bernard. Conversations were driven by the previous speakers of the day and the excitement for the speakers to come in the evening.

6 p.m. – Class quickly approaching, we had an open forum (porch chat) with Scott Klusendorf who helped personalize some of the information we learned and give a tangible feel to some of the arguments presented. In a quick rush, some new friends and I ran to town to grab the infamous beverages and indulgences rightfully named: Good Karma Coffee, Maté Tea Shop, and the Sugar Filled Custard Outlet. With what seemed like little time, we made it back with a few minutes to spare and just in time to hear the 30 year old warning bell to remind us that session was about to begin.

7:45-10:15 p.m. – The night brought Jeff Myers, President of Summit Ministries, who graced us with his presence to speak on our Christian Worldview. It was quite ironic that a room full of some of the most intelligent Christians were more than occupied with taking notes and learning about our own religion. Dr. Myers brought amazing perspectives about how to approach the religion of Christianity and an in-depth understanding of our faith and reason. With funny but relative clips to keep us awake, Dr. Myers drove home the point of why understanding the Christian stance in our world is so important, keeping in mind that Christianity is not only a religion but the story of the cosmos and how that story connects us to God. Summing up the day we understood that Christ was the center of our story and everything else follows in a grand succession.

The second day here at Summit never ceased to surprise me and challenge my mind with new ideas and theories. I cannot wait to see what the days following will hold, learning to be gentle with words but brutal with our ideas.