Most of you know that my sister and I have been to a Christian worldview conference for the past three summers in a row. This conference is hosted by Summit Ministries, and since I've never blogged about it, I figured it was about time to!
Everyone asks us questions like "What was it like?" "Where did you go?" "What did you learn?" - and honestly these things aren't easy to explain, mainly because there is so much that we go through during those two weeks.
But I'll give you a little taste of it...
At Summit we are introduced to several different worldviews and where you can find them in modern society. We hear stories from all different sides and accounts. We are taught to think well, to discuss differences well while still holding onto a solid foundation, but most importantly we're taught to love well.
Our speakers are amazing and brilliant. They do their absolute best to convey to us the story of what God has done in their lives, and how we can let Him use us as well.
One of my favorite speakers was Dr. Brown, who spoke on Christianity and culture, he expressed such a sense of passion about the subject and compassion for people that it's hard not to love him.
The speakers also spend most of their free time answering our questions or listening and giving educated, well thought out answers if they have them. It's good for us to know that we can ask the difficult questions.
Because we sat through 7 hours of session a day, we had lots of free time to play and get all of our energy out during the afternoon. The main sport? Volleyball of course!
One afternoon, one of our speakers ( Mike Adams ) walked a group of us down to Dayton so that we could see the courthouse where the Scopes Trials took place in 1925.
When we arrived, the courthouse was getting ready for a reenactment of the Scopes Trials, above is a picture of a piece of a local newspaper from 1925 announcing the trial to the town. And on the right is Dr. Adams explaining to us little details of this significant historical event.
I'm a bit of a history nerd, so this part was particularly interesting for me. ;)
Another thing I absolutely love about Summit is our staff. Somewhere toward the beginning of the second week we had two speaker Sarah and Barton Stone come and talk to us about the different aspects of masculinity and femininity. They remind us how we're all made in the image of God and how as a woman one of the ways we show that is by giving life to others with our speech, actions and behavior. I can't tell you how many times I sat and talked for hours on end to one of these ladies just because I needed someone to listen and give a little advice, or saw them going out of their way to do something special for a friend, or giving an uplifting hug right when you needed it. Their amazing.
And for the young men, we talked about how part of their job as being made in the image of God is to be protectors and sustainers of life. I think out of all the meals I attended ( three a day ), I even carried my own plate away more than five times at the end. There was always someone to courteously offer to take it for you. I don't think I ever had to open a door for myself, or at least very few times while I was there. But more than these chivalrous deeds it means a ton to us women that the young men ( staff and student alike ) were there learning how to be good leaders so they could take it back home with them and introduce it back into culture.
(The Staff )
Without them, we wouldn't know what it looked like to be young men and women pursuing a lifestyle of servant hood for Christ.
And on that note, one of the absolute best parts of Summit, in my opinion, is the people. That's what you miss the most when you leave, the interaction, the laughter, the hugs, the late night card games, the smiles, the words of affirmation. And trust me, it is hard to leave these people!
So I walked into my dorm one evening and saw this mattress in the hallway. Some of the girls in my small group had emptied out one of the girls rooms! Poor girl came back to an empty bed and shelves, and then got "surprise attacked" by the others! Gotta love these expressions of love. ;)
The campus of Bryan College (where I am applying for next year! ) is beautiful on top of all this, and we were grateful for mostly sunny days and even some 60 degree weather!
This is a picture I took one evening after having a chat with one of our more charismatic speakers Debbie Brezina, she spoke on Churchill and WWII. I remember that the night was cool, and I could hear a train in the distance. I also remember that I stopped and looked at the faintly lit sky ( which the picture does not do justice to ) and paused just for a moment to take in the atmosphere and have a heart of gratefulness for everything I was taking in. These moments are the moments I remember the best; laughing, singing, playing, studying and working with each other and thanking God for it all the while.
One afternoon we went to a nearby campground called Fort Bluff and enjoyed some time away from studying and just took time to be with each other.
Whether it was praising God in the evenings with 300+ people, sitting and chatting with a friend, having a heart to heart with your small group, and even during the morning sessions when it was sometimes hard to stay awake, there isn't a second that wasn't worth the trip.
Some of the most meaningful moments for me are when we were told to break up into groups of two or three and pray about one thing or another. To hear the two young men next to me being leaders, and all the rest of the students in the background lift up their voices to God on behalf of each other, was such an amazing way to see God move and work among us. They couldn't tell but it sometimes made me a little teary. ;)
I can't say enough how joyful it makes me to see young men and women acting out the things we've learned and loving each other as fellow children of God. Using our unique gifts to bring life and help each other through life for those two weeks.
My small group! I love them quite a lot.
And this is the whole crew, over 300 students and somewhere around 50 staff.
No Summit summer session in Tn. would be complete without Josh Bales, so here are a few of my favorites from him, mostly filmed at Bryan, accept for that last one :
It's definitely hard to say goodbye, but it is a plus to have friends all over the country! And reunions are in the near future. ;)
And this is the beautiful lady who took the majority of the pictures above, isn't she amazing??