Story

Rebeca Dominguez

The best thing about attending was learning and being able to ask questions about God that I never felt brave enough to ask before.

 

Why did you attend the program?

I attended The Summit because one of my faith mentors recommended I go. He had seen in me the desire to learn more about who God is and what purpose he had for me. Honestly, I didn’t know what I was signing up for and felt nervous because I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know any of the other youths attending.

However, when I was filling out the application and answering the personal essay questions, I realized that whatever this program was, it was serious. From the questions, I knew that The Summit looked for youth who were serious about their commitment to God. Such questions were, “Are you involved in your church?” “How do you experience God’s presence?” “How does God speak to you?”. 

These same questions brought me doubt about my own commitment to God. At the time, I was questioning my worth. I would ask myself, “Am I even enough for God to use? If so, why do I lack talents and gifts when everybody has them? Why do I keep missing the mark? Is there even a point in trying to follow God’s purpose for my life?”

I grew up in the church, but we never used our time to self-reflect on these questions. No one would be honest about having these questions to begin with. 


 

How was your experience during the event? 

I would describe my experience at the Summit as restful, contemplative, Spirit-filled and healing. We took a break from our day-to-day activities and focused only on listening to God, ourselves and each other. For example, we spent time doing activities we all enjoyed but didn’t do enough of. We spent whole evenings without our phones, and in the morning we spent time outside reading scripture and reflecting on it. We worshiped and prayed together, we napped, we played games, we exercised and we made new friends. This rhythm allowed me to rest, to be patient and loving towards my peers, to be vulnerable and to focus on listening to God and my needs.

 

What were some of the changes you noticed after? 

One of the main changes I noticed after The Summit was that I was more confident about my future and about my identity. I didn’t have everything in my life figured out, but I had the confidence that God would be helping me and guiding me. I also saw myself as a beloved daughter of God, which made me feel more confident about myself and less worried about what other people thought about me. In a way, I felt free, which I hadn’t felt in a long time. 

 

 

What did you learn about yourself, the world or ministry at this time?

Something I learned about myself is that my primary identity is to live as a beloved child of God. I also learned that as God’s child I have a responsibility to share with the world God’s love and light. This is my ministry and every Christian’s calling. We all have different gifts and talents, thus our ministry work looks different. However, all ministries have the same goal: to bring God’s kingdom to earth. Our vocation, careers and ministry are our secondary calling. We need to be secure in our primary calling before we can use our gifts in ministry. 


 

Do you feel better equipped for the future after attending? 

I felt better equipped after attending because we discussed Christian beliefs that I had always heard and even held, but never quite understood. I still have a lot to learn, but I do feel more equipped in the sense that after The Summit I can better understand who God is and who we are in accordance with him. 


 

What was the best thing about attending?

The best thing about attending was learning and being able to ask questions about God that I never felt brave enough to ask before. The second best thing about attending was the community. They were all excited for the week and they were also comforting and welcoming. The community was also very open to being vulnerable. We didn’t know each other, but we were vulnerable with one another because we knew that everyone in the program was there for the same reasons. 

 

How have you engaged in ministry since the program, or how do you plan to be engaged in ministry in the future? 

I have been involved in different ministries. At my college, I was part of the prayer team, which met every week to pray for one another’s needs. I was also the facilitator for my small group’s Bible study. I also participated in a summer missional internship that changed my life. I plan to continue to engage in ministry, but I honestly don’t have a specific ministry or plan for that. I trust that God will send me where the world’s needs and my greatest joys meet. I do want to be a clinical counselor for children and families, which I consider a ministry. 


 

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to attend?

I would advise them to not be afraid or nervous to attend. They may not know what to expect or they may not have friends attending, but everyone is probably as clueless and nervous as they are. They will soon make friends and begin to feel more comfortable because everyone in the program is welcoming, caring and loving. God will be with them during and after the program, surrounding them with people who will mentor them and bring them joy. 


 

Is there anything else you’d like people to know?

I would like people to know that the work done for youth in these programs is very much needed. Youth’s faith is not taken seriously enough and it is not nurtured enough by adult Christian leaders. The youth want to go deeper in their faith and they have deep theological thoughts and the desire to work for God’s kingdom. The problem is that they don’t often have a Christian community where they can ask questions and feel supported. Programs like the one I attended, The Summit, are wonderful places for youth to find this kind of community in which they can grow in their faith and in their knowledge of the Christian faith.

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