One of the many things that stood out to me from Brethren Academy is when one of our speakers said, 'Have a strong foundation in God, then go and bring others to him.' Something that I have always wanted is for people to see Christ in me. When he said that it helped me realize that's not just gonna happen. I have to work on me and who I am in God. I have to build a strong relationship and foundation in me and with Him before I can expect others to see Him in me. After Brethren Academy I definitely have a new understanding and confidence in my faith that I didn't have before. I met so many amazing people and made lots of new amazing friends and grew closer to some old ones. I can't wait to go back next year!
It’s made me feel more Brethren almost. Like, I’ve learned about who they were. I’ve learned about what our values are and how we came to be. It kind of makes me feel like I’m part of a family instead of just a church that I go to on Sundays. And my family has made a difference in the world. And I think it’s really cool to learn about.
I like the people here. I like being able to talk to people, and I like the sense of community it brings.
Our daughter had such an enriching experience at Brethren Academy from start to finish. She learned tons about the Brethren faith. An absolutely amazing group of leaders, teachers, peers surrounded her, encouraged her, stretched her and loved on her. As parents, we were thankful she was able to have an opportunity that had such an impact in her faith journey.
Brethren Academy was my first chance of being a small group leader which taught me a few things: what it is like to be a small group leader, what it is to be an influence on students, but also how to help students defend their faith and how to initiate conversations. I saw friendships being built from different churches around the nation (Florida, Canada, Virginia, to name a few).
It was awesome to see the students connect with each other on deep spiritual levels during the "Jesus-I-see-in-you" group time. The students took it very seriously and highly encouraged each other. A humbling experience was when the students said that I skipped myself and that they wanted to do it for me too, of which I thought was very humbling and loving.
I was able to make a few deeper connections with some of the students and even got to witness to a girl about the depths of Christ's love and what He wants of us. You can't ask for a better opportunity than to talk to students about Jesus. That is, after all, what being a Christian is all about! The students had the heart, the attitude, and the love for what was prepared for the week and they took it full force.
I didn't know what to expect going into Brethren Academy. It was sandwiched between two busy weeks of my summer and I was anticipating to get the job done, help where needed, and continue on my way. Little did I know that God had different plans for the week for both myself and the incredible students that I had the privilege of leading. The week was a breath of fresh air mixed with heart stirring conversation and rapid growth. The group of students were from all across the US (& Cananda, shout out to Kelsey and Aiden!) but came together so quickly in one short week. I couldn't help but survey the room and feel overwhelmed with joy because this is what the body of Christ looks like. I miss those students deeply but I am so encouraged by the work God is doing in and through them, and the ways He is leading them throughout their journeys.
You kind of live in a world where you think it’s just you. My youth group is small. My youth group is maybe insignificant. And then all of a sudden you meet all of these other people who are having almost the same feelings and experiences, but from all around the world.
My hope for my kids, or for any students that go through this program, is that they find out who they are in Christ, they find a way to tie that into what they go into for a living, and they walk away understanding their value in Jesus and that they have a role to play in His kingdom.