Eleazar - Restored

When I first came to college, I did not have a relationship with God. I actually had no idea who Jesus was. A week before spring break, I heard about a local church and I decided to go because I was struggling with fear and anxiety. While I was at church,  a new friend came in to my path who would later become my small group leader. I found a friend in him that I had never found before. He really cared for me, he gave me rides, bought me food, and asked really intentional questions about me.

One Thursday, he took me to a Chi Alpha service where I really had an experience with God. There was a song that was played about forgiveness and God really spoke to me through it. For the first time, I heard God’s voice, fell on my knees and cried out to Him! I knew that I needed to be forgiven and I ended up giving my life to God that night.

My small group leader asked me to go to Rowdy Serve for Spring Break, but I said no because I didn’t have any money and wanted to go back home to see my family. For the next two days, I sat in my dorm room contemplating whether or not I should go, and I knew God was telling me that I needed to go to Rowdy Serve. I told my small group leader and God ended up providing the funds.

I really didn’t know what to expect because I was new and had never been on a trip like this before. I didn’t know the people around me either, but I was blown away by their friendliness. We had a 3 Hour road trip and the whole time they sang, talked, and showed me a lot of love by asking questions about myself and reminding me that God loves me.

While we were in the car, my small group leader continued to tell me about God. He tried to teach me what it really meant to have a relationship with God. I really sensed that God was asking me to show the world my dedication to Him by getting baptized, so I asked the people in the car what it really meant and they explained it to me. After really understanding what baptism was, I was ready to do it!

After our car ride, and we finally arrived at the place where we are going to be serving. I will never forget what I saw. I saw people cleaning and working in the yard, but they were doing it with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts! While we were working, I got to hear how God had worked in their lives as each shared their stories.

As the trip went on, I continued to hear about what Jesus had done in these people’s lives and I was so surprised by the love that they had for Him. I knew that I wanted to proclaim Jesus the way they did. An opportunity came up where I could get baptized, and I took it! We all drove to the beach and my small group leader baptized me in the ocean! I knew that I wanted God for the rest of my life, and I was ready to tell others about Jesus.

This trip will always be a special memory. I publicly declared. Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I got to do it with people whose friendships will last into eternity!

- Eli