Conner Collins: Faith in Hardship

How long did you attend camp?

I was a camper for 4-5 years, then on Crew, a Counselor the summer after that, then finally Assistant Guys Director. All of this was at Echo Valley.

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How has LLYC impacted your faith?

Camp helped build the foundation for the faith that I have today. It taught me what it looks like to make my faith my own and it motivated me to find ways to make life back home look more like the life you get to experience during the summer. Camp also provided me with many role models who lived out the things they were teaching. People like Josh Coulter, Jordan Branch, Sam Moore, and Nick Hearn have each played unique roles in different steps of my Christian walk. Josh and Nick were both phenomenal counselors. As a 13-15 year old boy, I wanted to become just like them when I grew up. I actually taught myself to play guitar and ended up becoming very involved in different worship leading opportunities because of Josh.

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Camp also taught me the importance of male community. My father passed away the summer between my freshmen and sophomore year of college, but I had surrounded myself with a community of Biblical men that walked with me through that event of life and consistently pointed me back to truths that I had learned at camp, but were hard to remember and cling to at that point in time. Without camp, I don’t know if I would have sought that kind of community in the first place, which ended up playing a very important role in my college experience.

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What does that look like today?

This section kind of overlaps with the one above, but there are many things in life today that look the way that they do because of LLYC. I think the most apparent impact camp has had on my life today is the way I value and cultivate relationships with people. I live with Christian men who are not afraid to challenge each other and encourage each other to look more like Jesus in whatever way we can, even if those conversations are hard. I find joy in opportunities to serve in ministries that help others build a relationship with Jesus, which camp helped me build. Specifically, I have been a leader and lead worship for the University of Texas’s FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) program and the students at the Austin Stone Sunday services. Most importantly, LLYC has helped me really understand my purpose in life, which is to glorify God in everything that I do. This realization has made life so much more enjoyable and less stressful. Getting to take a step back when life gets hard and realizing what really matters, instead of being overwhelmed by current circumstances, has provided me with a joy and freedom I hope I can show everyone I interact with.

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