By: Liz Koh, Singapore
My experience at Summit reminds me of the uphill climb from downtown Manitou Springs to the Summit hotel.
I had to trust God to get me to the top.
To be honest, traveling 9,000 miles away from my country to the other half of the earth without any friends scared me.
From the food to the slang, many things were foreign and weird to me.
I didn’t know that peanut butter and jelly had any business being together in a sandwich, that lemonade and sweet tea belonged in the same cup, or what sweet tea was for that matter. Meals felt a lot like Russian roulette – scooping stuff the person in front of me claimed to be edible. I figured the only way to find out was to try it, and if I was alive tomorrow, I’d know. I soon found this process was rather enjoyable though, my taste buds weren’t complaining at all.
Language proved to be an interesting…issue.
During one of the breaks, I went up to one of my roommates sitting close to me, looked at her ink filled papers and casually commented that she’d been “mugging a lot”.
That caught her desk mates’ attention.
Continuing, I expressed how shagged I was and that I felt stoned.
My poor roommate had to explain to her desk mate that I wasn’t a druggie, that I knew this was a Christian conference, and by “mugging” I meant “studying really hard”, “shagged” meant “really tired”, and “stoned” meant “dazed” in Singapore.
That poor guy was ready to cast out demons at any moment.
But what made me the most anxious was making friends. Socializing and creating small talk was cool, but I wanted solid friendships. Flitting around and desperately trying to fit into different conversations took a toll on me. By the 3rd day, I was thoroughly exhausted and started to feel homesick.
Cornered, I finally turned to the One who has never once failed me. I should have done so from the start. At night, I prayed for God to somehow see me through and that I’d be ok even if I don’t currently feel like it. Then I closed my eyes to rest.
My prayer was answered in the form of my desk mate who looked more like a hobo than a student if I’m being completely honest. We agreed to meet for a meal and through that, I got to know his roommates who then became my friends. I hijacked their table, turning it into the room 216 gang and that one weird Asian girl table.
Indeed, God saw me through and climbed to the summit with me. From the start, all I really had to do was place my trust in Him.
However, when I reached the hotel, I was greeted with four friendly flights of stairs up to the girls’ dorm.
Are my lungs a joke to you?
Similarly, the climb doesn’t stop after the conference ends. Life will continue the lemon onslaught and challenges will ensue. But having the friends you made from Summit hike alongside you and help hold your water bottle as you heave like a dying walrus makes all the difference.
And for that I’m thankful.