Julianne Petersen


By: Julianne Petersen, MO

It didn’t take much for my parents to convince me to attend Summit. I researched the speakers, bought a notebook and tried to skim through books the speakers had authored. Despite all of these actions, nothing could have prepared me for those two weeks.

I think I first realized this when I noticed that Sean McDowell was the first speaker. The significance of this goes back to how incredibly lost I was in 7th grade. After he spoke at my church, I felt like God was calling me to tell him my testimony. His response turned my life around, and all he said was: “God still loves you.”

Starting Summit off with the person who put me on the path towards Christ set the tone for my experience. The lectures not only answered my questions but gave me more. I found myself stepping outside of my comfort zone by going white water rafting, crying in front of friends, and volunteering to pray.

While other Christian camps I’ve attended have only given me spiritual motivation for a week, my relationship with the Lord has only grown stronger since I left Colorado. For five days afterward, I shared my testimony with a new friend. I went into each day feeling doubtful over the outcome, but everyone I told said either, “I thought I was the only one,” or “I’ve never told anyone this part of my life before but…”

From that experience, I’ve learned that there’s nothing more fulfilling than watching God use your brokenness to open people’s hearts. Sometimes, we as the church focus so much on bearing Christ’s image of perfection that we forget the value in relating how we got to that point. The Bible doesn’t emphasize the importance of testimonies to bring us shame. Instead, testimonies reveal the glory of God by platforming the work He has done within us.

God also used both the courage I gained from sharing my testimony and the Summit lectures as preparation for Missouri Girls State. At Girls State, I encountered every single worldview that Dr. Myers discussed. Being the only one in my group to defend traditional values made me feel like I was on an island. I knew I would use the lessons I had learned at Summit eventually, but I had no idea it would be that soon. At the end of the week, I watched as our delegation of 800 girls passed a bill that essentially got rid of the Christian invocation before each assembly. It was eye-opening, and I realize now more than ever how vital it is that we as Christians not only know what we believe but stand firm in it.

Every generation faces its unique challenges. I’ve learned a thing about mine:

We’re anxious.

Growing up with technology, we’ve had a platform our entire lives. Imagine every mistake broadcasted, and then having the ability to cover up flaws with filters. You learn to either care way too much or not at all.

But at Summit, they provided stability to counter the madness. While a thousand voices are competing for space in our heads, for two weeks, we heard the truth. I am forever impacted by the speakers, staff, and fellow students who made that possible. And I am so abundantly thankful to be a part of this generation and the challenges ahead.