The week leading up to Sonburst was one of the most nerve-wracking weeks of my college life so far. I have gone on retreats before, but something about them always makes me nervous. Knowing that I would be going on a retreat with students that I barely knew as well as allowing them to see me completely vulnerable was really challenging. Fortunately, God changed that feeling very quickly. As soon as we arrived I felt a sense of comfort. When the theme of this year’s Sonburst was introduced, I was unsure of what was to come in the next two days but Kathy helped me to see that God does not see us as a blended people, but sees us for who we individually are and loves that. This inspired me as a Latino who grew up in a predominately white community. As I went to my first seminar, I was hit with the reality that just because I may not speak Spanish or may not fit a specific part of my culture, I am still Latino and God can still use me to reach people in my culture and others. God revealed that because of my background, I was not restricted to just Latinos, but that I could reach other cultures as well. God also taught me the importance of community. I am the type of person who likes to be alone at times, but I made the commitment to seek out community over the next four years. This walk is hard, but knowing that there is a group of people who support you and who are willing to be there for you is important and necessary. So with that said, I want to say thank you to this community for accepting me into it and I cannot wait to grow with you guys! – Andres, Freshman
Sonburst is something that I can honestly say helped further my relationship with Jesus, even if it was just a step. It was one step further on the right path. Going into Sonburst, I was not mentally prepared at all. Everyone was so excited to finally be able to go to this conference, but I could not get away from the tests, quizzes, and papers that confronted my week. It was something that I could not look past. The biggest realization for me was that my education was before God. I had always said that God was first in my life, but seeing how one week of classes made me reluctant to want to be in the presence of Jesus spoke volumes to me. I was always so worried about how I would look as an educated black woman that I put God aside in order to achieve my own goals. It was so amazing to be with my community and share common thoughts about the struggle that we have endured. It was a relief to know that I was not alone nor will I have to struggle alone. Ever since I have returned to my campus, I have a greater love for community and better understanding of why being there for someone or discipling them is so important. – Jillayah, Sophomore
Two years ago at the Sonburst conference my freshman year, I had no idea what to expect. I witnessed God’s love for me, which compelled me to follow Jesus, so Sonburst has a special place in my heart. This year, we investigated love for God’s people. I spent time diving into my ethnicity and was able to see the “very good” that God created when He made me white. As a white individual I realized that I am not a blank person, but I do have a culture- I am innovative, persistent and hard-working. I learned how to build deep relationships and acknowledge barriers in a multiethnic setting. I also discovered how to connect my own self to the athletic culture I grew up in, which has since transformed me into a better athletic small group leader on my campus. Over the weekend I was also able to dive into great conversations while leading a small group of 6 girls. I saw God break down so many walls during our time together. One girl in the group brought tears to my eyes when she accepted Jesus’ calling during the last night session. It brought me right back to the moment I had done so myself in the same very room, and I could see that the Kingdom was rejoicing over her. The part that I loved most about Sonburst was the limitless, boundless, shameless setting that God clearly provided for students. I ended the weekend feeling at peace, not only with God, but with my community, and myself. – Marina, Senior
We could be anybody.