A new year has begun for Class 17 of Impact 360 Fellows! On August 26, 85 students from all around the world arrived on campus in Pine Mountain with the same three goals in mind: to Know Jesus more deeply, to Be transformed in character, and to become prepared to Live a life of Kingdom influence. Our class is the largest class to date, representing areas such as Dubai, Canada, Brazil, Colorado, Ohio, Oregon, Georgia (of course), and many others.
Move In Day went very smoothly for us. The Impact 360 staff made us feel more at ease throughout this crazy day by greeting us by name, carrying moving boxes from cars to dorm rooms, and putting up “welcome home!” signs around campus. As Class 17 Fellow Abby Trent said, “I could see the servant heart in all the staff from the moment I came on campus.” We Fellows first found our dorms, met our roommates, unpacked our belongings, and made our bed spaces feel like home. Fellows, parents, and loved ones then gathered together to share our first meal together. After a parent orientation, families and loved ones said their goodbyes and departed from our campus.
Without a doubt, the overall theme for the day was excitement; excitement for meeting so many new Christian friends, excitement for starting a new chapter of life in Pine Mountain, and most of all, excitement to cultivate relationships with God. Another major feeling experienced by many students was contentment. We were able to recognize how God led every student of Class 17 to Impact 360 for a meaningful and individual purpose. One Class 17 student expressed, “I know this is where I’m supposed to be.” Many of us Fellows have felt God leading us to Impact 360, so we have peace in knowing that we are being obedient to Him.
All of the excitement did not come without fears and anxieties for a majority of us students, however. Many Fellows were anxious about meeting so many new people at once. Some felt emotional about leaving their families and loved ones for such a long period of time. Many came with distress, walking onto campus carrying physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual burdens. Others felt overwhelmed by being immersed in a brand new environment. Josiah Thomas, another Class 17 Fellow, spoke about this saying, “I felt excited, but it was also disorienting stepping into a new everything.” Although there are many challenges this group of students has gone through, are currently facing, and will be put up against, we are confident that through Christ who strengthens each one of us, this experience will help shape us into more loving, knowledgeable, and godly followers of Jesus.
Move In Day was full of smiles, tears, laughter, anxieties, warm welcomes, and stressors. Most importantly though, Move In Day was overwhelmingly filled with prayer and trust in a God who loves us like no other. I can speak on behalf of all 85 Fellows when I say that we are beyond excited for what God will do in our lives here at Impact 360 over these next nine months. Class 17 of Impact 360 Fellows are trusting God and taking steps of faith and obedience by committing to nine months of loving, worshiping, and learning about the creator of Heaven and Earth.