It’s a really long story. Settle in.
So, I was in debate throughout high school. I loved it. LOVED. IT. I was bad at it, but I loved it. So when I got accepted into college, I decided to double major in communications and political science. My dream was to go work for CNN and be a foreign correspondent with Anderson Cooper (no joke).
Then I went to church camp in the June after graduating from high school. Through a somewhat heartbreaking (at the time) set of circumstances, I was there at church camp instead of out in Salt Lake City for the high school debate Nationals. Earlier that year, my partner and I had come within one round of qualifying for the tournament and, I’ll be honest, I spent a good chunk of April and May hoping one of the teams who did qualify would suddenly drop out/be disqualified so my partner and I could step in as alternates.
But that never happened and so I ended up out in the Black Hills for yet another year at church camp.
This next part is weird and will probably make for a lot of side-eyes and weird looks. During the week, I felt like I was being pulled toward doing something else involving ministry instead of going into political studies. I spent a lot of quiet time reading and thinking and praying, and by Thursday, I’d basically decided that God was calling me into being a bible studies/theology major instead of political science.
I spoke to that week’s camp speaker on that Thursday, and was going to tell the camp about the ways God was working in my life that night during chapel. But I never got a chance to because (here comes the weird part), there was an unexplained phenomenon that appeared to be a demon possession in the middle of chapel. One of the kids - who had, honestly, been acting strange all week - tried to stab the speaker with a pen. It took five grown men to hold the teenage boy down and the camp was basically thrown into chaos. I heard and saw things that, to this day, I cannot explain.
The entire night was derailed, and yet, it confirmed for me that ministry was where I wanted to be. Not because it was “exciting” or because I wanted to exorcise demons, but because I saw the power of a community coming together under faith and I wanted to be part of that.
It’s been a long and twisted journey since, but those moments and that week at camp are really what changed my life. It’s weird. I don’t know.