I would always rather tell one story well than tell seven stories poorly. So, at a conference of over 5,000, a few hundred of whom I’ve met briefly, and a few handfuls of whom I’ve had the pleasure of conversing further with, I think it is definitely acceptable and probably preferable for me to acquaint you well with one, rather than slightly with several.

I first talked with Olga Deckman over a cafeteria dinner on plastic plates. I like Olga. Besides her kindness and spunk, I think she and I have good “friend chemistry.” She’s a photographer (who will humbly decline that title), a high schooler, an embracer of challenges and a very beautiful soul. I told her a bit of my story and she told me a bit of hers. I learned that Olga’s love of photography (in her words, “just taking pictures”) began in the 7th grade with a hot pink camera and continues today with a custom-fit Nikon. The wide array of subject matter I saw in her photos, as well as her knack for identifying and defying challenges, has convinced me that when Olga says “your only limit is yourself and what Satan tries to say you can’t do – but he’s a sore loser and a butt-head,” she means it.

It is obvious to me that God has been working, is working, and will continue to do even more in this girl’s life. Often it is easier for an observer to see such truths. So, as an observer who cares, I will be sure to communicate to Olga my excitement for her future and my confidence that God is working well with her – as he tends to do with his children.

It is an indescribable blessing to be volunteering at CHIC, meeting others, being met and above all, learning and worshipping together. This is truly a unique experience of the body of Christ.

This post was written by Elizabeth Ahlem, a CHIC volunteer through North Park University.

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