Stepping Out – A New Student’s Perspective
Stepping Out – A New Student’s Perspective
Change can be daunting but it is something that I have had to do many times. My family and I would not be able to do what we do well if it were not for our trust in God. Faith is stepping out into areas you cannot see and trusting God to direct your steps.
Up until last summer I had been living in California. I enjoyed my friends and teachers there but I never had a strong confidence in myself or in my faith. When my family received orders to move to Virginia, I was definitely not excited. I had lived in San Diego and I had no desire to leave. But God had a greater plan, and like it or not, I was going. My family moved into our new house in Burke, Virginia. A new house, a new school and many new experiences were waiting for me. My sister and I were told that we would be going to Immanuel Christian School. I was pleased with the fact that my 8th grade class contained fifty students because my previous school was small and I love to socialize.
Before I knew it, August 27 had arrived and I was standing outside of the Worship Center doors in my uniform, prepared to walk into a whole new circumstance. Butterflies the size of dinner plates crashed against the sides of my gut and my throat was as tight as a drum. I swallowed constantly, trying to force down the anxiety. You can do this, you’ve done it before. Just walk in there and you’ll be fine. In that moment, I knew that it was not me who had the strength to do this every time. It was God who helped me endure many difficult situations. I lifted my head, straightened my shoulders and walked through the doors.
Throughout my first couple of weeks at ICS, I had heard bits and pieces about the upcoming eighth grade Wilderness Trip, a three-day retreat located at a camp in Pennsylvania. At the camp, each student would be expected to know how to tie knots, construct a tarp to sleep under and cook in groups. Some of my classmates had siblings who had gone on it, and my homeroom teacher, Mr. Robinson, told us several entertaining stories about past trips. Going on the wilderness retreat helped me form a special bond with my new classmates and teachers.
On our three hour bus ride, we sang songs at the top of our lungs, played games, ate lunch and laughed about everything.
When we arrived, everyone stepped off of the bus, grabbed their supplies and loaded them into the back of a waiting pickup truck. After I had taken care of my equipment, I breathed in the brisk air and observed my surroundings. The camp was beautiful. I could just see the tops of the Allegheny Mountains over the sea of trees. Brown, gold and red leaves carpeted the forest floor and the colors of fall were displayed all around us. We walked over to a grove of cabins surrounding a fire pit where we loaded frame packs with personal items, cooking utensils, ground tarps and overhead tarps. When everyone was done, David and Daley, the camp’s head instructors, had us play games as a big group and set up challenges for us to solve. Although fatigue and hunger began to set in, we began our hike up to the ridge.
Upon reaching the top, our first priority was to set up sleeping tarps and secured our frame packs. When that was finished, my cooking group got to work preparing dinner. Throughout all of the wilderness retreat, I really enjoyed my group. We laughed at each other’s silly mistakes and had tons of fun. After dinner, everyone gathered around the campfire and sang awesome worship songs. Then, Mr. Robinson and Mr. Danish told us stories and shared truths about God’s Word and His plan for our lives.
Wilderness helped me to see why I was here. The next day, after a long and fun night of bonding with the girls in my group, we went rappelling and zip lining. Then in the evening, after a dinner full of laughter, we took a hike down to the field to look at the stars. They were incredible, each one twinkling like a firefly in the darkness of the night. As we walked back up to the ridge, the image of the stars was stuck in my mind. When we reached the top, the teachers handed out s’mores supplies and everyone grabbed a stick that they believed would achieve the perfect marshmallow. As I held my chosen stick above the crackling fire, I looked at all of the people around me. Everyone was laughing and smiling. In that moment, I knew with a strong certainty in my heart that I belonged here, with the people of Immanuel Christian School.
God works through many different things to show his love. When I was on the Wilderness Retreat, I felt God’s love through my classmates and all of the teachers. I am human, and I confess there are times that I have doubts. However, God is not. He knows what He is doing, and it is my duty to jump in full force, trusting that He will take care of me, even in the difficult times. What God has done in my life and what He has demonstrated through Wilderness has given me confidence about what He will do in the future.
This blog post was written by 8th grader, M. Moreau who began school at ICS this year.