I was asked to prepare a mini testimony to share with my on-campus ministry group tonight. The testimony was meant to only include this school year. The intended audience was those at Chi Alpha Large Group tonight.
Take a read if you’re interested in learning more about my story!
TESTIMONY SCHOOL YEAR 2017-2018
Hi everyone! For those who don’t know me, my name is Alison Bennett. I am a junior occupational therapy student and am new to chi alpha as of last semester. I used to be a part of another Christian organization called Lutheran Campus Ministry. I grew up Lutheran and figured it was just the place for me to try after a rough freshman first semester when my mental health plummeted to an all-time low, but that’s a story for another time.
I started LCM when I was a freshman and got really involved. I was working at the campus ministry fair last semester when Holley showed up to the LCM table. I was dog sitting for my pastor at the time and Holley wanted to pet it. I noticed that she was wearing a chi alpha sweatshirt, which I knew a little bit about from my freshman year floormates, Dan and Kathryn… yes, I am another survivor of Ninert 2015.
At this point in my life I was fine with where I was at with God and didn’t feel much of a push to go deeper in my relationship with Him. I was where I was expected to be.
That night of the campus ministry fair, I connected with Holley right away (because, well, who doesn’t) and left the LCM table momentarily to get more info on Chi Alpha. You can bet that the next week I started going to large group and have only missed a small handful ever since. The next week I joined Holley’s small group and have missed maybe 3 since the beginning of the fall. Chi Alpha was starting to make SLU a home for me, even in my third year here. I’m proof that it’s never too late to get someone interested in Chi Alpha.
I didn’t go to the fall retreat because I was too shy a person and hated stepping out of my comfort zone. Notice how those are all past tense? God has used each and every one of you to take me from being a lonely and anxious student to an uplifting, encouraging, and joyful friend.
I started to get to know my small group better and began to open up. I even started meeting with people in my small group outside of bible study Monday nights. I started to create what I now know to be lifelong friendships. I meet with Holley every week just because I love being in her presence and her friendship is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. I started going to mass choir with Sara and laughing while neither of us know what is going on and meeting up to study and talk about occupational therapy and whatever else crosses our mind. I started hanging out with Marissa on random weekend nights which is a friendship I had been searching for my whole college career. God has blessed me with Chi Alpha and He has blessed me with all of you.
Chi Alpha has taught me that it is okay to be myself. It has taught me to be a woman of God. It has taught me to live my life in more Godly ways. It has taught me that Jesus will love me no matter what. It has taught me that I don’t need to be involved in typical college events in order to have a great college experience. It has taught me that God really is listening to my prayers.
I would be lying if I didn’t tear up while writing this. Not because of sadness, but because of a feeling of overjoy that I don’t often feel.
This year God has used me and my experiences growing up with general anxiety disorder and OCD to reach those who are experiencing it themselves for the first time. His encouragement has taught be that I should be confident in my ability to teach others about His unending love. He even encouraged me to become a small group leader next year, which is something that I never would have imagined last year.
This year God has also opened up new areas of conversation in my family back home. A topic that we didn’t talk very much about turned into something that my mom and I would have real conversations about.
This year God taught me how to better trust Him and how to dive deep into scripture and worship.
Chi Alpha has taught me how to have a personal relationship with God, and it has forever changed my life. I have God to thank for that, and you to thank for that. Please continue to encourage others to come, even just one Thursday night, because you never know whose life it might change, just like it changed mine. Thank you.