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I was raised to have a knowledge of God – but that’s all I had. I knew all the answers, read the Bible cover to cover, and memorized numerous verses. But as much as I knew about God, I didn’t actually know God personally and surrender my life to Him.

In middle school, I spiraled into anorexia and suicidal thoughts. While that was a terribly painful experience in my life, it ended up saving my life. Through this time, I came to know God as a compassionate Father who cares about me and wants to free me from bondage. I began to develop a personal relationship with Him.

However, I was still selfish. If something didn’t help me grow in my relationship with God, it wasn’t worth my time. God radically changed this perspective when I traveled to the Middle East in high school. My heart was broken for those who don’t know Jesus, and I started to pray for the lost. This eventually led to mission trips, sharing the gospel with friends, and getting involved in campus ministries at WSU.

But I still felt alone. I had friends, but I didn’t understand what Christian community was supposed to look like. My senior year at WSU, some friends invited me to a Resonate service for the first time. I fell in love with the preaching that was reaching nonbelievers as well as teaching longtime Christians. When I started leading a Village, I realized that transformational gospel community involves vulnerability, selflessness, loyalty, and missional focus. I am so blessed to have a church family around me to support me as I grow in hearing from the Lord, responding in obedience, and leading others to do the same.

After leading Villages for 2½ years, I joined the Resonate staff team in 2016 to help develop/train Village leaders to grow in their faith, share the gospel, and make disciples. I’m also a PhD student at WSU, so it is totally possible to work a full time job and still prioritize and pursue the mission of reaching college students for Jesus!

I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I know that it will be good because God is writing the story. I also know that I’ll have my best friend by my side – Markous Kelp, who became my husband on November 12, 2016! We met when we were both Village leaders, and we’re both passionate about Jesus, prayer, church planting, and choosing mission over comfort. Our relationship has taught me so much about God’s unconditional love, and I am so thankful to have Markous’ leadership and support in my life.

So that’s my story – developing a relationship with a God who loves me (UP), telling people about that loving God (OUT), and being part of a church family to support each other in that mission (IN). At Resonate, we put those three concepts in an equilateral triangle to illustrate that all are critical in a balanced life modeled after Jesus’. And I am thankful for the opportunity to help lead the leaders in our church, helping them grow in UP, IN, and OUT in their own lives.

Contact Nicole: nicole@resonate.net

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