When she first heard the word “vocation,” Abbie did not know how much it would deepen her faith and her sense of purpose. After a few days at FYF, however, Abbie was convinced of the importance of vocation and its role in her life. Now, as an upcoming Calvin College graduate, Abbie finds that her understanding of vocation is more applicable than ever.
“FYF introduced me to [the idea that] God’s presence is over every square inch of creation, and it manifests itself in my task as a research assistant at Calvin, as a babysitter for my professor’s kids, as a fiance, as a friend, as a daughter, as a writer.”
Abbie experienced the necessity of vocation in her life through the books she read before the summer, small group discussions and formal lectures at FYF. She especially latched on to the idea that Christians are called to pursue God’s restorative work wherever they are. Abbie’s identity has been firmly rooted in this call to be an agent of renewal in whatever she does.
Not only did FYF introduce Abbie to this life-altering idea of vocation, but it ignited a deep love for theology within Abbie’s heart. Before beginning the summer program, each participant was required to read several reformed theological texts by authors such as Richard Mouw, Henri Nouwen and John Ortberg. For Abbie, these authors uncovered the rich world of Christian theology.
“Before FYF, I would go to a coffee shop and just sit and read for hours. It was the first time I dove into anything theological. [These books] were eye opening toward my own faith and the world.”
As she dialogued with her FYF coaches and fellow FYF participants, Abbie’s understanding of theology continued to expand. Abbie was excited to be surrounded by thirty other high schoolers who were like-minded, profoundly passionate and equally curious about theological questions.
One of the most meaningful parts of FYF for Abbie was small groups. During FYF, each participant is placed in a small group with three or four other students and one leader. In the safe and loving environment of her small group, Abbie experienced the most personal and theological growth within herself. She was able to express her joys, doubts and questions about faith in a way that she had never been able to do. Though she is no longer close to her small group members, Abbie continues to think about and learn from these friends.
“They are people who have made distinct impacts on who I want to be.”
Attending FYF was a significant event in Abbie’s life. FYF gave Abbie the theological vocabulary with which she could think about the world. FYF blessed Abbie with a new community of sisters and brothers in Christ. FYF challenged Abbie to be as Christ in every sphere of her life.
Upon graduating from Calvin College with the class of 2017, Abbie hopes to pursue a career of research in foster care policy. As Abbie prepares to enter the workforce, the truths of FYF continue to ring true in her heart. In a fully reconciled world, there will be no orphan, no widow and no pain. For Abbie, this truth gives her great joy and hope because she knows that as a Christian she is called to be a part of God’s missional work in the world.
“My identity as an agent of renewal [affects] every aspect of my life. [I want that identity] to reflect the goodness and wholeness of God. That is an identity that I want to carry with me and never lose sight of.”