Hometown: Anderson, IN
School: Graduated from University of Southern Indiana in 2013
I grew up in a Christian home, going to church three times a week, and attending a Christian school. I quickly learned that I could earn the approval of my parents, teachers, and others by following rules and doing what was expected of me. I remember learning in Sunday School at a young age that I just needed to believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and I would go to heaven. I tried really hard to visualize Jesus on a cross and to convince myself that it happened, but I never felt a real understanding of what a relationship with Christ really was. I knew I was supposed to read the Bible and pray, but I usually accomplished those things grudgingly, and as part of a religious checklist. The summer that I graduated from high school, my older brother served as our church’s youth leader. I noticed a difference in the way he approached Christianity and his relationship with Christ, and he challenged me to begin journaling and having a daily quiet time in scripture. From there, I got involved in Campus Outreach at the University of Southern Indiana and learned how to grow in a personal relationship with God, especially in learning about the ways my motivations affect my growth. Since then, I have been able to truly interact with the Gospel on a daily basis.