By: Sarah Adams, TN
Having been to Summit before, I thought I knew what to expect when I got a plane headed to Colorado. But I had no idea what the Lord was about to do in my life.
I grew up in a Christian home and accepted Christ at a young age, but for most of my life, I haven’t had a genuine relationship with God or thought very much about what I actually believe or why I believe it. I had memorized Bible verses, knew all the right answers to the Sunday school questions, read books on apologetics… But just memorizing everything I’d read or been told wasn’t enough. Despite all of that, I was still living my life the way I wanted to, I wasn’t spending time reading my Bible or praying hardly at all, I had stopped caring about whether or not I was going to church, and not paying much attention when I did go. I had a persistent feeling that something in my life wasn’t right, that something was missing. But instead of turning to the Lord, I tried to fill that with other things, or to try and escape and ignore what was going on by throwing myself into school, work, or even just ignoring it all and watching TV or playing video games.
I’ve always been a quiet person, finding it hard to open up and talk to people. So to say I was nervous going to Colorado by myself, surrounded by a couple of hundred strangers for two weeks would be a little bit of an understatement.
Even before I arrived at the hotel, from the moment I joined the group of staff and students waiting for the bus at the airport, I was blown away by the love that I felt there. With everything the staff said and did at Summit, they made sure the students felt loved, cared for and important. It was so amazing to me that people I had never met before would care enough about me to spend time getting to know me and pray for me.
Even before the end of the first day at Summit, it was becoming apparent to me that I was not going to be able to ignore or hide from what was going on in my life for these two weeks.
Between the lectures, worship, small group discussions, one-on-one meetings with my small group leader, conversations with my roommates, fellow students, or even staff members, and conversations with my seatmate after worship every night, the Lord kept bringing the same things up in my heart and my mind. I found myself asking questions I hadn’t even known I had, having deep, meaningful conversations with people, and just wanting to learn as much as I could.
Even if I thought a question I had might be dumb, or something I struggled with might be silly, I never felt judged for what I struggled with or a question that I asked. I was told at least a couple of times in those two weeks, “there’s no such thing as a dumb question.” And that was embodied in the gracious and loving way that my and others’ questions were answered. Not only was I not judged for asking questions, but I was also encouraged to ask hard questions, and to ask as many as I could think of.
The Lord kept drawing me closer to Himself throughout those two weeks. With the encouragement of a friend, I started reading my Bible and spending time in prayer again. I spent a couple of hours with my small group leader one afternoon just walking around downtown Manitou Springs and talking. Having someone I could be open and honest with about my struggles and to know that when she said, “I’ll be praying for you,” she really meant it was such a blessing to me.
All of this came to a head one night in the second week. During one of Dr. Jeff’s lectures, I started to understand what it was that was missing in my life. Even though I had all of this knowledge, I had no real relationship with God. I had been living my life for myself and not for Him. I walked to the back of the classroom, where I found my small group leader. I shared with Amelia what I had been struggling with and keeping to myself, afraid of what someone might think if I told them. She prayed for me and then, there in the hallway outside the classroom, I rededicated my life to Christ that night.
My experience at Summit has challenged me to ask hard questions, to know what I believe and why, and, through what I learned in class, I feel more confident and better equipped to share my faith with others. I have learned so much from being at Summit and am very grateful for the community I have experienced and the friendships I have made there.