Throughout my life I have always understood the importance of surrounding yourself with people who love and seek out Christ in everything they do. By surrounding yourself with people like that you are encouraged and spurred on in your own walk with Christ. Growing up I was always surrounded by people like this because I went to a Christian school, my parents were very involved in my church, and my entire family believed in the same things I did—that Jesus payed the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross so that our sins would be forgiven. This allowed me to mature in amazing ways in regards to my faith as I was growing up and finding my way, and for this I will be forever thankful because I was given a strong base to work off of as I got older and became my own person.
Coming into Rice was a completely different experience. After being surrounded by people I knew I could talk openly about my faith with to going to a secular school where I knew no one around campus I was nervous, to say the least. My parents were involved in FCA when they were in college at Oklahoma State so I knew that would be a great place for me to get to know other athletes who, like me, were seeking to know more about Christ. Unfortunately, during my entire time here at Rice I have taken one night class and it met fall of my freshman year right when FCA was meeting—Tuesday at 8:30. I was disappointed in how this turned out, but I knew there would be more opportunities to get to know other Christians around campus. Fall turned to spring and I still did not feel connected with that many people around campus, other than my team, whom I was super close with. From spring of my freshman year to now, fall of my junior year, I have become very involved with FCA, joining the leadership team and participating in two mission trips over spring break. I can’t say enough about how much I have grown in my walk with Christ over this time—more than I could have imagined. I have been challenged by great friends who I have made during this time.
I was starting to feel comfortable within the FCA community when there was a call to start Bible studies. I have always loved going to Bible studies—reading from a book, answering some questions, and getting to hang out with some cool girls. This time was different, though, in that as student leaders we were being asked to lead. I had never led a bible study before and, honestly, had never been someone to be very outspoken about my faith. So I wouldn’t have to dive into this new arena by myself, my teammate, Stephanie Mendivil, and I decided to start a bible study together for our team, the volleyball team. Knowing that I was going into a place to talk about someone I loved, Jesus, with girls I loved, my team, made this whole experience so much easier. The first semester we did Bible study we chose different books of the Bible, read three chapters a week and came together to talk about them once a week. This was a great start to our Bible study, but it still felt like there could be more structure to incentive more girls on our team to come and learn about Christ.
This past summer we decided to start a Bible study book, Seamless by Angie Smith. This was a seven-week study that took us through the entire history of the Bible from Adam and Eve to Revelation—a lot to get through in six weeks. It was a great place to start for our team to first learn about the Bible and then dive deeper into it. We have had an amazing turnout at our Bible studies, consistently having more than half of the team come every week! These girls have taught me so much about how important it is to have an open heart and a willing heart because when you have these, amazing things will happen. I know that I can share anything with these girls because I know where they come from, I know what they believe, and I know where they want to go. This team Bible study has been nothing but positive for our team and I am forever thankful for my teammates helping me open my heart to yearn to know more about God.
-Shelby Livingstone, Volleyball, Junior
Posted on Sun, October 16, 2016
by Shelby Livingstone