This is Nicole.

Her best friend, Hayley, had been inviting her to youth group for quite a while, but she had a lot of personal struggles with friends and family going on at the time.

Since early 2016, Hayley was inviting Nicole to youth group, but she didn’t have time. However, after hearing about CIY that summer, Nicole knew going next year was a priority for her.

Nicole started to attend youth group with Hayley and her boyfriend, but she never really connected. It was difficult because Nicole’s family isn’t very religious, and she had never been to church before.

When it came time for CIY 2017, she jumped at the opportunity to go. She remembered how much Hayley loved it last year and she wanted to be a part of that this year. No cost or time off stood in her way. She knew she was going.

From the moment she got on the bus, she was having a good time. 

“I didn’t know any of them previously, and it was pretty cool to be incorporated into this close-knit group of people.”

When the conference started, Nicole was instantly moved by the worship. So much so that she spent most of the first worship set crying. That day they also played a video about a young man named Jasper who also cried during worship. She deeply connected to his story. 

Eventually she had small group time. She continued to be moved and to connect with the people she had come with.

“They were going through the same thing I was.”

Throughout the conference, her new friends could see she was having a hard time. She was struggling with school, what she wants to do, and who she is.

At the end of CIY, Nicole had truly connected not only with her new friends, but also with the Lord. They traveled out to the Oregon coast and she was baptized in the ocean.

Today Nicole is connected with new friends and continues to develop her relationship with God as she starts school at the University of Idaho.

“Now I have a better starting point.”