I had a brick wall

1468507_10200227038757116_304667815_nHey y’all, I want to tell you guys about my Chapter Focus Week experience or in other words CFW, but in order to do that, we need to rewind to a year ago. So let’s do that. Last year around this time, the roles were switched, I was sitting in the audience and someone else was speaking about their experience. I remember listening to that person speak about CFW and all their great experiences that they had and thinking to myself ‘that’s great and all, but lets be real, I’m not going.’ Anytime people, mainly Meghan Safstrom, would ask if I was going, my answer would be ‘maybe’. Maybe meaning I’ll think about it, but I’m not going. I was set in this mindset for a long time and it took a couple weeks before CFW that my mindset began to change.

While people were trying to convince me to take this trip, one of the reasons that stood out more prominent than any of the others was the fact that if I didn’t take up on this opportunity, that yes, I would be losing out on an experience that happens every year, but also the fact that I would be losing out on memories that can last a lifetime. It was then that I decided that CFW would be an experience that I had to check out. BUT, in order to accomplish that, there would be a few obstacles in my way, two of them being money and my parents which pretty much went hand in hand considering that I was broke freshmen with no type of income what-so-ever.

So onto my parents, and the question goes like this, ‘how do I get my parents to agree to let me go to Michigan for 6 days, when I wasn’t allowed to go to a fall retreat in  Alexandria, Minnesota for a weekend?’ But eventually through multiple long conversations, my parents agree to let me go. Now, onto the next obstacle, money. CFW ain’t cheap. Money in my family was tight and I still had to pay my tuition. School comes first, always, so once my tuition was paid I was at the point where CFW seemed like a dream than a reality but when I talked to my mom, she asked if I still wanted to go and the answer was yes, but I understood our financial situation and I didn’t want to put my mom through any more financial stress than I already had. But the more I said no, she said yes.

Somehow, someway, God provided a way for me to go. So it was official now, I was going to CFW! The closer to the departure date we got, the more nervous and scared I got. I was going  to a place that I had no clue as to what awaited there with people that I didn’t care for, much less even like for a week. needless to say, this thought terrified me. I didn’t want to change; I was perfectly content with myself. May 18th, departure day. This was the day that my outlook on InterVarsity changed, from the 10 hour car ride,  to the chapter times that we would have every night, I began to realize that yes, not only does this group of people love Jesus but they also care for each other. Not only was my faith in God being strengthen every day through Small Group Leaders’ Training (SGLT for short), but also friendships were being cultivated and a community was being born.

As I said before I thought that I did not need to be changed, but through taking SGLT, I realized that this thought was far from true. My pre-existing thoughts on what it meant to be vulnerable were greatly challenged. An example of this would be one time after one of the worship sessions, I asked Jewel if I could talk to her alone for a bit, you see at the worship session we were asked to write on a post-it note the things that we put before God and I realized that I put many things before Him, three of them being money, family, and school. So once Jewel and I found a place and sat down we started having a conversation and that conversation actually turned into 30 minutes of myself bawling my eyes out because I was just overwhelmed with stress and joy. Stress, because I wanted to be the student that I thought my parents wanted me to be and I thought that I was failing in that, but on the complete other hand, joy, because I knew the bind that my parents were in financially but the fact that I was able to go on this trip through the financial support of my parents, mainly my mother was something so incredible.

From CFW I can say that there was a visible change in my character, from what I think to the way I act. For one, I take my faith more seriously and though I do fail sometimes, I try promote God as being the center for what I do and what I hope to achieve. Secondly in the way that I act, before CFW I had a brick wall that close to impossible to break down. After CFW I can say, yes, the wall is still there but there is a door that can be opened every once in a while. CFW is a trip that I could never forget even if I tried, from the friendships that I developed to the faith I’ve strengthen.

Before I went on this trip, I had a very fickle perception of what InterVarsity was and I thought about transferring to the University of Iowa, after CFW, my view of InterVarsity became stronger and the thought of transferring was just about as close to non-existent. I want you guys to come and experience everything that I did, yes, CFW is an event that happens every year, but there are going to be memories made that will last forever and I want you all to experience these memories. Not only that but during this time and your faith is going to be strengthen and you’re gonna form a bond with these people that you never thought possible, I know I did. Thank you!


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Transformation stories from the campus