Growing Through Community By Alona Gibson

Six years ago, at my first national Vineyard conference in Anaheim, California, I decided that one day when I was old enough, I would attend the Heroic Leadership Institute in Lewiston, Maine. At the time it was the only site. This past May, after completing my first year of college, I realized that I needed a change in my life. I opened my Bible looking for answers. I was not expecting a HLI Lewiston flier from that national conference to fall onto the floor at my feet. Remembering the dream I once had, I applied, interviewed, and anxiously waited for acceptance into the program. To my surprise I got in! After several tears, God stories, and goodbyes I left Arizona for Maine and my life was forever changed.


The biggest challenge for me, since starting this program, has been learning to listen to God. Through the first couple of weeks, I was not hearing from Him. I started wondering if coming here was a mistake. I dwelt on this thought until one day in class we did a spiritual check up and I shared my struggles. My classmates all surrounded me and prayed. Many things came to the surface that God has been speaking to me about, but I had not been listening! Since then, I have been able to recognize some of the areas that God has worked on and is working on in my life. Now this is still something I need to grow in, I am not suddenly just great at listening. Bummer! But, because of prayer, I was able to overcome this challenge, start connecting with our learning material a little better, and step out in faith a little more.

I am so thankful for all of the amazing integral people that helped me through this challenge. I am excited for all we will learn, grow in, and put to practice in this upcoming year!


Mary McKellick