A transition phase, inevitably unescapable, invisibly marks a change in status. At the time, I did not know what I was looking to change and even with a great deal of reflection I still cannot confidently say that I’ve crossed the threshold. However, I have managed to better define my journey, separating it into three parts. This is the story of my mission’s trip to NorthBay, camp grounds in the midst of Maryland, where I helped middle schoolers from all over the US grow closer to God. The month-long adventure that will stick with me forever.
Rite of Separation
I had just finished packing my ‘situationally prepared suitcase’ so that I’d be ready for anything. I made sure to remember my not so sweet PB+J: pen, bible, and journal. My mom was slowly packing my car up, I knew she didn’t want me to leave. I kept giving her hugs and reassuring her that I’d write her every week. Twenty minutes later I had hit the road.
My four-hour drive consisted of a mixture of negative thoughts, worries, and anxiety. I questioned my ability to teach kids something that I myself wasn’t fully confident in. I wouldn’t have my phone or laptop- the essentials that keep me connected to society on a regular basis. My signed commitment was the only thing keeping me from turning around.
I arrived on the NorthBay Adventure Camp grounds and hesitantly parked my car. I didn’t know what I was doing here, I definitely did not fit in. People swarm me from all angles welcoming me and unloading my car. They handed me a bucket for my phone and another bucket for my car keys- no turning back now.
To my surprise I lasted the first couple days and wasn’t eaten alive by the scripture, I found it to be weirdly comforting. After my first week, it felt like I was living in a world full of pureness, something foreign to me. I found fulfillment in serving kids their meals before they ran out to the club room to hear more about God, even though I was in the background I was still taking part in changing their lives. This I will never forget.
Forgetting my past of parties and meaningless relations, I opened up to my leaders and what are now my life-long friends about my insecurities and doubts. The entire month they taught to love myself and begin my college life the way God intended it to be. On the last night, I walked deep into the woods to process my time there. I talked to the man upstairs about my fear of going back home and starting a new life at VCU. Although I didn’t receive any definite answers, I was comforted by his invisible presence. I fell into a deep reflection with the soft wind blowing through my hair and the water from the creek trickling between the rocks.
Crossing the Threshold
Coming back into a society full of pressure, societal norms, and anxiety was the most challenging part for me. Not having contact with any of my friends or family, they didn’t see the transformation I went through.
I chose to go on my mission’s trip because I especially wanted to figure out my purpose in life and find God through it all right before my college years. Although I still don’t know where I stand with my faith, with two feet or one, I came to know much more about myself and choose the life I want to live now- full of genuine conversations, long-lasting relationships, and comfortably pursuing faith. If it weren’t for this period of betweeness I would not be in the small group I’m in at VCU or have the community that I longed for.