Milo Students Offer Their Testimonies
Affirmed by God and His Timing
I've always wanted to bring people closer to God. There is just something about the thought of leading Bible studies that bring others closer to Him that gets me excited. But whenever I would try, I always seem to fail at it, resulting in feeling like I just don't make enough of a difference in life for God.
When I've tried to give a Bible study, preach a sermon, attempt to be a mentor to a peer or become a class officer, none of those tasks and accomplishments truly made me feel like I was making a difference in someone else's life. Because of this, I've been discouraged, scared and less confident standing up to take the lead in making a difference. But this school year, it all changed.
At the start of this school year, Milo hired a new custodial manager, Miss Loretta, with whom I naturally connected with. Whenever we would see each other, we would greet each other and talk to one another. After a few months, she assigned her own nickname for me: Sunshine. The more I heard my new nickname, the happier I became because it gave me the thought that maybe, just maybe, I was actually shining for Christ.
One day at school, Miss Loretta and I cross paths as usual with our daily greetings. But what started off to be what seemed like a typical day turned out to be different. Miss Loretta began telling me a story about an experience she had in the cafeteria while sitting across from a student at supper time. The student had been struggling to have friends and was sort of known as the "weird kid." While they were talking, the student had shared that he believed God had placed three people in his life: her, another staff mentor ... and me.
"Me!? Are you sure he said me?" I asked, in shock as Miss Loretta described the encounter. "Are you sure you got the right name?"
I was in disbelief. "Did I really hear that correctly? Have I really made a difference in someone's life?" The questions kept rolling around in my head. "No, that couldn't be me," I said to myself. But to my surprise, Miss Loretta confirmed that the student indeed mentioned me. I actually make a positive impact in someone's life.
I cried. For the rest of the day I cried, even in some of my classes. Whenever I think about what that student said to Miss Loretta, it warms my heart. I now go about each day affirmed I am not only a child of God, but I make a positive difference for Him.
God uses young people like me. I'm not just a nobody that is in the background. It doesn't take leading group Bible studies, preaching sermons or helping the homeless. Those things are great, but He can also use me in different ways I may not even be aware of.
In 1 Cor. 12:6 it says, "God works through different men in different ways, but it is the same God who achieves his purposes through them all." We each have our own role that God gives to us and has planned out even before we were even born. Each and every day, God gives us a purpose to live for and ways in which to serve Him (even in the most unexpected ways) and those around us. How do you think God will use you?
Everyone’s Journey to Jesus Is Different
A typical and natural question when growing up a Christian is when you should get baptized. For many, the time is usually somewhere between the ages of 11 and 14. It’s the time when your parents start to talk about spending your life with Jesus and making the public declaration of a deeper connection with Him.
However, this conversation never came for me. My parents both believe in Jesus, and one works for the Adventist Church, which always made me assume the conversation would come at some point. In reality it never did. They believed having me make the decision on my own would be best. Further, if I really wanted to be baptized, they thought I would discover what it means to have a deep connection with Jesus on my own when I wanted.
The time for this discovery on my own began naturally when I came to Milo. When I arrived for my junior year, I had just completed 10 years at an Adventist school in Eugene, Oregon. While there, I grew up being taught the typical graceful and hopeful lessons that Jesus loved me and was coming again soon. Additionally, I had studied the 28 Fundamental Beliefs as well as different parts of the Bible that presented the knowledge typical of what is learned prior to getting baptized. However, even though I had gained the knowledge, I did not feel like my heart was fully moved to follow Jesus.
Regardless, I attended Milo with an open mind, hoping to better understand the Bible and search for a divine message that resonated with me personally. The result has been life-changing. My mind was blown after taking a Bible class where Pastor Chad, the teacher for the class, presented the chapters of Daniel, Romans and Revelation in ways that changed the way I perceived not only the Bible but how I saw life and what is to come. I also learned valuable life lessons through Pastor Chad's life stories, and I saw engagement with my peers improve.
I started to see a special consistency of growth and obtained knowledge in my life. I realized it finally felt right to make the decision that would change my life forever — the decision to get baptized.
I got baptized in October and felt an overwhelming presence of Jesus. I felt Him with me, smiling and congratulating me. It was a very calm time where I just forgot everything in the world to feel a special love — a level of love that can only come from God.
I tell this little story to share that everyone's journey to having a life in Jesus is different. Milo has changed my life by teaching me God loves us despite each of our unique, individual journey.
A Place I Feel Valued and Wanted
For me to be at Milo means the world to me. Some of my classmates may make the same statement, but for me, I don't know what my life would look like if not for the opportunity to be at Milo. Since I have started studying here, I have experienced for the first time what it is like to have an entire team of staff that are genuinely supportive and encourage me even when things seem hard. Since coming to Milo, I have also gained true friendships with classmates who are by my side no matter what-after all, we're all here like family for the ultimate Milo experience together!
Another reason why it means so much for me to be at Milo is the positive spiritual value it has been. Wherever I go on campus I truly feel God's presence and it has allowed me to focus in on all of the blessings He has blessed me with and my family with.
Milo has also allowed me to go out and serve the community through many outreach opportunities I never had access to. To see God is still able to work through me despite being just a kid has allowed me to step out in faith more to trust Him and to trust others. Prior to Milo, I had major trust issues from being hurt so many times. Because of Milo and the people here, I am starting to open up to others and thus starting the perpetuating process of teaching others while learning from them.
The biggest reason why being at Milo is so incredibly important to me is because it is a place that makes me feel valued and wanted. Milo is not my school — it's my family. Before Milo, I did not have the best relationships with most of my family members resulting in me being extra appreciative of having brothers and sisters in Christ on this campus. Further and most importantly, it has helped me see that no one is perfect and that we should not hold on to the mistakes and shortcomings of others but rather, we should forgive them and move on just like Jesus teaches throughout the Bible.
Although I still have some time still to go here, Milo has already made me better in so many different ways. The environment here has helped me build better relationships with others, grow closer to God, forgive others and help them when they are in need. Through these areas I believe God brought me here to develop and to tell me that, simply put, He cares for me and wants me to be with Him someday.