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From Candle to Bonfire

High school and college are probably the most influential times in a person’s life. It is the time for finding out who you are and what you plan on doing with your life. It can be a scary time, but it can also be the most fulfilling time if you use it wisely. Here is a little bit of my story:

When I was in high school, my family struggled with finding a good church home. We left our other church because it did not feel like “home” anymore. To top it off, my dad’s schedule was always changing because he had just gotten hired at a new job for Kansas City Southern Railroad. Things got so insanely busy that it never seemed like a good time to find a church. I had faith, I knew I was a believer, but without that constant pouring of God’s word and community in my life, my fire for God was starting to dim. It was still there, just low. Towards the end of my senior year, I vowed to myself that when I went to college, I would get involved in whatever youth group-like organization there was that fit my beliefs.

At Freshman Orientation, I found out about the BCM and decided that that was where I would go. I even met a group of friends to go with to the BCM; however, I was held back by fear. I am a very shy person, and, in new surroundings that I am not comfortable in, I tend to become socially awkward. I am not typically the kind of person to approach a stranger and just start talking to them. For the first few weeks, I came up with excuse after excuse as to why I could not go to the BCM: “Oh, I’m swamped with homework.”, “I’ve barely been in my room today and just need some down time.” , Or even just “I don’t feel like going tonight.” I do not remember my first time officially attending a Wednesday Night Worship, but afterwards I remember thinking “Why haven’t I come sooner? What was I so afraid of?” After attending for a few weeks, I was encouraged to get more involved. I didn’t know where to start, so I picked the worship cluster because I enjoyed doing behind-the-scenes work with the PowerPoints and sound system. Even after getting involved, I still felt stuck in my faith like I was in high school.

It was perfect timing that I was getting so involved at that point because they had started a Discipleship program, where if you needed help with a certain area of your life, someone would mentor and help you. I filled out a form, desperately needing someone to help me out of this spiritual hole I had been in for years. One night I got a message from a girl named Jenn Enloe, saying she was my mentor and how excited she was to meet me and help me grow. We had decided to meet every Thursday for lunch and talk about life, Jesus, and whatever else. Those meetings meant more to me than she or anyone else would ever know. I started to learn how to read the stories about Jesus and get to really know who He is and what He embodies. That fire went from a tiny candle flame to a full-blown southern bonfire. It was the most amazing feeling. It especially helped me a few months down the road when my family went through some tough times. Through this time, I also learned the importance of a community of friends and how much they can help you learn and grow in your faith. I have built the most amazing friendships with the most amazing people these past two years at the BCM.

To wrap things up, I just want to stress the importance of having a group of friends who have your best interests in mind. Because of this wonderful community that has been built at the BCM, I have been blessed with the greatest people.These are the ones I can call on when I’m struggling, and the ones I can be 100% myself with. I am so happy to have found people who encourage me to be a better person. I encourage you to find your group and to become the person God has called you to be.

- Emmaleigh Toney

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the NSU BCM but are solely those of the author(s).

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