S’mores. A delicious treat for a pyromaniac like me, and what’s better? Free s’mores. It was my first week at Virginia Tech and I had just moved into my dorm. Like every other college student, I was drawn to the promise of free food, so when the girls across the hall asked my roommate and I to go to a s’mores event the answer was yes. When we stepped out of Newman Hall we simply followed the mass exodus of hungry freshmen headed towards the Virginia Tech Chi Alpha House.
After waiting in a line that stretched down the street, we reached the tablets where we would enter our information to get in. Fake email, fake phone number, an orange VTXA bracelet, and I was in. The backyard of the Chi Alpha house was packed as we arrived.
While you would think the s’mores would be a memorable part of my night, I’m not even sure if I had one. Probably though, right? Regardless, what I remember most about that night was how four strangers came up to talk to me about Jesus and the curiosity I left with. Specifically, I remember one girl: Kara. I don’t remember what we talked about, what struck me was how happy she was and how passionate she was about telling me about Jesus, even after I told her I was a christian. All of the people who came up to me kept going on about a personal relationship with God and I honestly had no idea what they were talking about. I told them I believed in Jesus Christ…I was covered, I thought, but as I left I had this nagging feeling that they knew something I didn’t. I wanted to figure out what it was.
I left that night and told my friends how these crazy, super nice christian people wouldn’t leave me alone when all I wanted was free food. It was enough to make me google the Chi Alpha website and check out this “life group” thing they had told me about. I emailed asking when and where Kara’s life group was meeting and there I was: Monday at 7 PM at this picnic table with a bunch of strangers in front of Pritchard Hall to talk about Jesus.
On the last day of my freshmen year I sat at the Duck Pond trying to grasp what all had happened in the past year. I thought of the first Ignite I went to when I first felt the presence of God, that moment at Fall Retreat when Pete had asked for anyone who wanted to be all in for Christ to raise their hand and mine involuntarily slipped up, and when I was baptized in the lake. I remember when my life group became family and when my ministry became family. I remember running with a friend who had gone to the s’mores event and telling her about what Jesus had done in my life only to realize I was now that person randomly telling people about Jesus, and I was glad about it. I remember when I got it. When I understood that God wants a personal relationship with each one of us and how blessed I am.
I left my freshmen year at Tech a completely different person than I came in as. Thinking back on all that has happened in the past year and all the ways God has moved in my life, I realize how it all started…
With a s’more.
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