I come from a very different family. I grew up with three younger brothers. For the most part we all got along very well. Some times better than others but thats just how brothers are. About a year ago my parents became foster parents for four other kids. I really grew up with these four, (Three girls and a boy), so they were already like family to me. So now I am the oldest of eight kids, five boys three girls. We are a very unusual bunch, my father ensures that…. He has a slightly twisted sense of humor that seems to bring us all together and teaches us all to have a great time just hanging out with each other and being a family.
So I came from a somewhat large family, or so I thought until I left for a strange place. September 5th, 2010 I had been introduced to a group of forty three other students. Over the next three and a half months I spent all of my time with these other students, going to class, studying, working, eating. We developed a community.
As we lived life together, we each had to figure out our own worldview and exactly what we believed about God and why we believed it. Sometimes that involved sitting in each others apartments and arguing about it. But we knew that no matter the outcome the person we were talking to would love us for it anyway.
As time went by, a strange thing occurred. This group of students changed. We came from all over the country. Some of us had been home-schooled, some of us had gone to public school our whole lives. Some of us came from large families, some not. Some of us had a close family with very little issues, some of us came from backgrounds that were a bit more difficult. We all came together to learn and live life together at FLI. We grew into an extremely close knit family. Each of us were affected by everyone else.
It amazes me that God can do that, bring together 44 strangers and in three months we look at each other like family. We all came to know each other so well that its almost impossible to imagine not having these friendships to lean on.
December finally came around and the message was spoken numerous times about how close we had grown together and how much we appreciated each other. Most of us cried as we left to return home, and it was all up to us to go back and figure out how to resume “normal” life on our own after having learned what God had for each one of us.
We all got back home and very quickly realized that this world is so different and that small community that we experienced back in Colorado Springs was not something everyone has. Our professors told us as we left that many students would go home and be very frustrated with how nobody else seems to get it. Koinonia community is one of those things that once you experience it, there is a hole left that you cannot fill back up. Much of that comes from the closeness we developed as we each grew towards God more and continuously pointed each other back to God when we needed it.
We all got together this past weekend for a special occasion. One of our fellow students was getting married. So quite a few of us drove up to Greencastle, PA. Thirteen of us in total. This has been the largest gathering of our class since we left. We spent the entire weekend catching up and just enjoying getting back together with our family once again. We all agreed that its such a rare thing to find.
I’m on the ride back home now and I see exactly how much I miss my FLI family. There are friendships I have that will last for the rest of my life. And I am so very glad to have gone out there to Colorado and experienced that. I am now on a mission to create that kind of community once again. That desire will always be there, however it is unlikely that I will ever experience anything like that again. But I am now on a path to come a close to that as I possibly can.