Campus Ambassadors @ UAlbany

Francesca’s Infusion Experience ‘09

I was not even sure I was going to ‘Infusion’ this last May. Stephen and Kim had mentioned it to me. A� A� I wanted to go but I did not want to deal with the pressure of feeling the need to walk around with a A� A� A� fake smile plastered on my face, pretending to be happy. Because the truth is, I was not happy. I was A� A� struggling with all sorts of questions and doubts. There was an intense anger burning in the pit of my A� stomach because I didn’t know what to do with knowledge about the Bible and God. I thought, a�?I A� A� A� A� A� know about God and about the Word and all that, but what the heck am I supposed to do with it?a�?

There is so much I wanted to do with my life, and still do. I want to make a practical difference in A� A� A� A� A� peoplea��s lives. I want to be a friend not a judge, and to give. I thought the Bible required me to be a judge, but I wondered, a�?How could I judge anyone when I was such a sinner myself?a�? My struggle was taking me all over the place intellectually and emotionally. I didn’t know how to be me and be a child of God at the same time.

I felt like an impostor to everyone. To my non-Christian friends I was the innocent goody goody nice girl and to my Christian friends I was pretty unreliable; never being where I said I would be. I always seemed to plan incorrectly and ended up being split six ways at once.

For instance, I started training for the volunteer ambulance service on campus, because to me helping people could not get any more practical than that. However, I was so nervous at the final test that I forgot pretty much everything I needed to know, so I failed the exam. I also failed at friendships I was trying so hard to develop. It seemed that I did not fit in anywhere, not even in the Christian group I was a part of. They all seemed to fit together and I was the awkward ’seventh wheel.’ Also, they seemed content with where they were and I was not.

This was how I felt anyway. I felt like there is always more out there, more to be done more to see. With all of this swirling around in my head, the last place I wanted to be was in the midst of perky, a�?happy happy,a�? Christians, especially when I felt so uncertain about my faith. I felt like there was a spark inside of me, a fighting rebel spirit that did not exactly go hand in hand with the submission the Bible required of me.

I eventually decided to go to Infusion, because I wanted to get away from the distractions of family tension, idleness, television, etc. that was surrounding me. My friend Chris gave me a ride to the retreat. As an intern, he was going to be speaking at the retreat for the first time and he was excited. This would be the third time he was attending Infusion and he was pretty psyched. He could not stop talking about how enriching it was and his excitement was contagious, but as he spoke I started getting nervous. I worried that the people there would not be very friendly – that they would be cliquey and once again I would not fit in.

After settling in the first night, we had dinner and went to the chapel for worship. Even though it was a room filled with many people, it seemed like every person there was alone with God, worshipping and praising. It was sincere. There was none of the pretentious holier-than-thou attitude I had somehow expected. I perceived no self-righteousness, no judgment; just people. Human beings seeking fellowship with God and one another!

The next few days were filled with worship and learning, I had signed up for the social justice workshop [a lecture style gathering that met every morning after breakfast]. I have a passion for social justice and prior to the retreat I was not sure what stance the Christian community took. However, after the rigorous scripture reading required by the staff member running the workshop, it became clear that God calls us to be just, to be kind, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and help the poor and to love our neighbor as ourselves, helping them in practical ways. This, to me, was a great revelation! I learned that our God is a practical God, who wants us to show his love, not just by spreading his word, but also giving to those in need, sharing his blessings by fighting for justice. A� It was an intense thorough and comprehensive workshop.

Other electives I attended included a�?Living a life of integrity and avoiding hypocrisya��, a�?God centered prayera��, a�?peacemakinga�� and a�?depression and hopelessnessa�� to name a few.

All of the classes I attended answered one of the questions that had been burning its way through my faith. I found myself asking, ‘What am I supposed to do with it now?’

The answer I came to realize is; I am supposed to be a vessel to be used by God for his work, to live a life of integrity by His grace, to be led by His spirit in prayer, to affirm and make peace by his grace. I am supposed to love and to turn to him in every single area of my life. I am supposed to allow him to be the center of my life. I learned that I shouldn’t be doing these things out of obligation to an angry demanding God, but rather I get to do these things because of the love in my heart from God! I also learned following Christ is not about a list of rules that we follow, but serving God out of a joy in our heart.

I learned this from the classes and from the entire experience of being in a community of people, who are sincere and giving, a family with God as the head and the center.

The night before we left Camp Pinnacle, a girl I had met at the retreat was baptized in the pool. She gave her testimony and was dunked into the cold water, and immediately outside by the pool, we all broke into spontaneous song, prayer and praise, worshipping God were we stood. I learned that God is always present; we just have to choose to see Him over sin.

I still have tons of questions, doubts and struggles. I’m just another human. But now I also have a support system, a network of all the people I met at Infusion, and my friends from CA and other Christians on campus. God has shown me that He is always with us.

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Posted in Testimonies, by Steve Bugler, 9 years ago at 12:00 pm.

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