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A Lutheran Campus Ministry Senior Reflection, by Andrew Best


(Andrew is the Lutheran Campus Ministry Student third from the right first row)


One night in Fort Myers, Florida over Spring Break, Ashlyn, Caroline Manness, Graham, and myself were up late chit-chatting in the sanctuary of the church after everyone else had, probably wisely, gone to sleep.


I’m not sure how we got on the subject, but we were all sharing our LCM origin stories, and I was struggling to remember the timeline of mine.

So, we did some reconnaissance, some digging, some deep research into the vast archives of iMessage, and here is what we pieced together...

In August of 2021, my sophomore year of college, but (because of COVID) for all intents and purposes, my freshman year.

At Fall Fest, I was walking around, trying to get all the stickers I needed to get for some free ice cream, and I saw a table for Lutheran Campus Ministry.

I thought, "hm. I’m a Lutheran … I guess … I’ll go say hi."

So I went and said hi.

I don’t remember who was manning the table, but they gave me the whole spiel, and I put my name and contact info down.


I later received a text message that read: 

“Hey Andrew! This is Ashlyn, the LCM President. Just wanted to say thank you for stopping by our table today!! We are having worship tonight at 5:30 with dinner to follow. We would love to have you!! If you have any questions, please lmk!! (let me know!!)” 


And I, regretfully, did not respond.

I’m not really sure why.

I hadn’t gone to church since COVID, and I was never really the most religious person to begin with. Faith wasn’t an active part of my life at that time, and I was pretty much fine with that. It was also FWOC (first week of class), and there was just a lot going on. Maybe all the exclamation marks were a bit overwhelming.

Regardless, I didn’t think too much of it and went about my day. And that may have been the end of my LCM story, if it weren’t for Graham Grush....

 

I knew Graham from our church back in great incorporated community of Arden, North Carolina. We were, as some of you may know, preschool besties. I wasn’t much of a talker as you can imagine, and it’s said that Graham was the only kid at preschool I would talk to. We reconnected at UNC and would get lunch every once in a while to catch up and chat. And he would usually invite me to LCM.

I would say something along the lines of, “yeah maybe! I’ll let you know!”

He would always really mention how great the community is.

And I don’t think I fully understood what he meant by that. 

This probably went on for months.

Graham was persistent, though, and I’m glad he was.


Fast forward to January 19, 2022, the beginning of the spring semester.

Graham texted me, “Hey Andrew! Just a reminder that LCM is at 5:30 if you wanna come.”

This time I did respond.

I’ll share the whole conversation because it’s kind of funny...

A: Ok sweet thanks

G: Yessir. I think I mentioned this but in case I didn’t we have dinner after worship. 

A: Yeah I think you mentioned that. Are you gonna be at Morrison

G: Unfortunately no, I’m already here working on homework. I’ll definitely walk back with you though. 

A: Gotcha

G: If you come

A: Cool I’m coming

G: Sweet

A: I’m here. Where do I go

G: I’m coming

A: Which building I’m confused


So, I finally went to LCM.


I figured I could give it a shot and see what it’s like.

I was skeptical but curious.

I remember being really impressed with Pastor Mark and just how genuine everyone was.

Some guy named Jake asked me what I called corn that was off the cobb.

I said... “corn.”

I remember being very surprised by the whole vibe of LCM, in a good way. 


Two weeks later, I texted Graham, “Yo are they having lcm today.”

When I read this part to Ashlyn, Caroline, and Graham, one of them said,

“Ahh! You were hooked!”

I guess I was.

As time went on, I slowly became more and more involved up to now where I practically live at the CC (campus center).  It’s too bad that it took so long for the LCM hook to reel me in. Maybe God was just waiting for the right moment, the right time of my life. Everything happens in due time, I suppose.

Regardless, I’m really grateful that I finally found LCM. 


Through LCM, I have reconnected with my faith and spirituality in a way that I did not see coming. I have met some of my closest friends.

Friends around whom I feel like I can truly be myself.

LCM has helped me adapt to college life, find my self, and thrive.

I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that LCM has shaped me into the person I am today. When I look back at my time at Carolina, I’ll in large part remember Lutheran Campus Ministry. I’ll remember the beach retreats, the spring break trips, the fancy dinners, and the countless hours just hanging out in the CC.


But more than all that, I’ll remember the people.

I’ll remember the community.


When Graham told me how great the LCM community is, I didn’t really understand what he meant. But now I understand.

Now I get it.

Now I see.

So, thank you all, and I will miss all of you dearly.

Go Heels.


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