Summer Academy 2013 by Rina Narciso
The Summer Academy, previously called Campus Outreach Academy, is an annual summer retreat by University Christian Outreach, an ecumenical Christian group of which I am a part. I was blessed to participate in this retreat from August 11-17th held in Spring Arbor, Michigan, which trained me in becoming a disciple of Christ.
The theme of this year’s Summer Academy is The Christian Mind. I learned about the teachings of historical figures – such as Darwin, Freud, and Marx – and in addition, how their worldviews compared and contrasted to that of the Christian worldview. Before the retreat, I had many questions about the Christian faith and what our opinions as Christians should be on big topics regarding the human condition, salvation, and our goal and purpose as humans. As I listened to the talks by Tom Bergler, Dan Keating, and Nico Angleys, not only was I equipped with answers but I also learned how to answer similar questions with a Christian mindset.
Aside from the informative talks, we were sent out in partners to outreach to strangers in nearby towns, talk to them about faith, and to share the love of Christ by offering prayers. I was extremely nervous as I had never done this before. I was uncomfortable in initiating conversations and I was afraid of being rejected. However, I lifted my fears to the Lord and learned to humble myself. It was a very rewarding and wonderful experience.
Throughout the retreat, I made friends with fellow UCO members who were mostly from Michigan but some who hailed from Montreal and even Europe! I now consider them my brothers and sisters in Christ. The Lord brought us together and called each of us by name to build His kingdom! My experience in Michigan is unlike any other. I feel happy, peaceful, and spiritually refreshed. The Summer Academy gave me a better understanding and appreciation for radical discipleship. God is great and abundant are His blessings! Praise Him!