Growing up my house was a Christmas and Easter home. I always knew about God and knew about Jesus but never understood it on a personal level. When I was in 2nd grade, I went with a friend of mine to summer camp. On the second to last night of camp, my counselor sat down with me on an outside chimney and asked me if I had accepted Jesus. I didn't understand what she meant.
She then explained to me that there was this God in Heaven who loved me but I had upset him by the things I had done. Things like lying and disobeying my parents. She explained that I couldn't enjoy God's plan for me because of what I had done. "But," she said, "God loved you so much that he sent His one and only Son to come down to earth and take away all that bad stuff (sin) so that you can go to Heaven with Him forever." She told me that all I had to do was admit that I had sinned and ask Jesus to be apart of my life. So I prayed with her to receive Christ.
Because Christianity wasn't a big part of my home life I walked away from the Lord. I spent a lot of my high school totally living for myself. My life fell apart, I was mean, selfish, deceitful and all around not very nice. All my friendships and relationships fell apart and my school work suffered. Somewhere around September of my senior year I stopped hanging out with all my old friends and decided to go to Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Through out that year of preparing I really had only one friend, the one I was going to Africa with. A couple days before we left she asked me to pick up some medicine for her for our trip. Like any good friend, I said yes. Well when I got to her house right before we left and she asked me for it, I realized that I had never gotten her medicine. She was rightfully very angry at me. After a few minutes she told me that it would be alright, that we'd figure something out.
So off to Africa we went! After about 24 hours of travel, being in a third world country and figuring out that it would be hard for my friend to eat (she has a food allergy) it became very evident that things were not going to be okay. We ate dinner separately and went to bed separately. When I got back to the room she had already gone to bed.
I was just lying on my bed sobbing. I couldn't go home, I couldn't call my parents, and I was supposed to spend the next 30 days in very close quarters with this girl who absolutely hated me. I simply did not know what to do. So I did something I wasn't in the habit of doing very often, I prayed. I simply called out to God, knowing that if He really existed somehow He could help me.
And in a way I don't really know and can't fully explain, God was there that night. He came and comforted me. It was as if, God placed His hand on my back and assured me it would all be okay, all I needed to do was trust Him, and He would get me through it. Sure enough, God is faithful. I made it all the way to the top of Kilimanjaro (19,340 ft!! woop!) and safely back home.
A couple months after getting home, I got reacquainted with a friend from high school and got involved with a campus ministry. Through that group of friends, I grew immensely in my relationship with the Lord. In May of this year, I decided to do a staff internship with Master Plan Ministries so that I could be a part of the same life change that I experienced in college.
Now I get to work with college students full-time and see God work in the coolest ways! How lucky I am!