When I was fifteen years old and had just finished my freshman year of high school, I was able to go to SLU 101 with a group from my church. I remember being so excited to learn but not knowing what to expect. What I didn’t know was that the next five days were going to change my life, and I was starting a journey I’ll never forget. The first night of SLU 101, Dr. Jay Strack, president of SLU asked me a question that I’ll always remember: “What would you do for the glory of God if you knew you could not fail?” As a freshman in high school, I never really did think about my future, but being asked that question sparked an imagination that I never had before. As the week went on, I learned about different people’s personalities, how to “Swallow the Big Frog First”, that great leaders serve, and so much more. My all-time favorite quote from the week was: “Early is on time, on time is late and late is unacceptable.”
As soon as I got home from SLU 101, I repacked my next suitcase and jumped on a bus with my church to travel to Washington D.C for SLU 201. Here I learned that freedom isn’t free, leaders decrease while God increases and there has to be a price paid for freedom. Men and women go out and serve in the armed forces so that as an American I may have freedom in this country. But Jesus Christ paid the one debt so that I may have the ultimate freedom in Him for eternity. I will always respect and honor those who go out and protect our country.
Another year went by and I had completed my sophomore year of high school. That summer, I packed my bags to go to SLU 301, in Europe. My main take away from there was to have a heart of a patriot but a soul of a saint and to stand for the flag but kneel at the cross. I also learned bravest soldiers weren’t the ones who went out first on Omaha beach but rather the ones who still went out after seeing what had happened on the beaches of Nomandy. On the last night of SLU 301, we had graduation, and Brent Crowe asked us a question: "Why not the best?!” That year I learned to give God 110% of my life, and not just “enough” to get by. My favorite quote from John Wesley is, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.” As SLU 301 came to an end Brent gave us a widow’s mite and said “This widow’s mite is the lowest amount of money. Remember that every little bit counts so work hard if you want to go SLU 401.” After I got home, I began praying and working hard to save up money so I would be able to finish the last journey of SLU the following year.
Another year went by before I packed my bags to go to the last and final journey of SLU. Eight of us from my church traveled to the Holy Land to walk where Jesus walked. We were able to worship on the Sea of Galilee, have communion at the empty tomb, pick five smooth stones from the Valley of Elah, and pray at the Garden of Gethsemane. However, my two favorite things were getting baptized in the Jordan River by Brent Crowe and getting anointed at the Shepherds Field by Dr. Jay. What a privilege it was to walk where Jesus walked and to stand on holy ground. The tomb is empty so He could make my life full. Seeing these places made the Bible become more real in my life, and I will never forget that experience.
As I reflect on the past three years of SLU, I realize I wouldn’t be the same person and leader I am today without all the things I learned from my SLU journey. Here are some of my favorites:
- It’s time for the little girl to sit down and the woman to stand up.
- Be obedient, because the huge doors of opportunity swing open by the small hinges of obedience.
- Leaders do what others won’t do, and it all begins by serving at the feet of Jesus.
- I can run the race because Jesus walked the road.
Even though my SLU journey is over, my spiritual journey is not. I want to thank my parents who have been my biggest supporters and helped make it possible for me to go through all four SLU programs. I especially want to thank Dr. Jay Strack and Brent Crowe for all the impact and encouragement that they have continuously poured into my life. Thank you for helping me change my life perspective. Thank you for making me the eagle and leader I am today. All the glory and honor goes to Jesus Christ for making this all happen in my life. God is good all the time and all the time God is good!
LEADERSHIP BEGINS AT THE FEET OF JESUS.