What’s your name?
What’s your middle name?
I didn’t know that- that’s cool. Describe your perfect meal.
My go-to perfect meal is my mother’s homemade chicken soup that has all this random vegetables in it from our Mexican market. Then you put avocado and cilantro in it and salsa in it, and then they have this amazing fresh bread from the Mexican market, although I actually go with the chips because the bread is glutenous.
Is there a dessert with that?
Churros. Of course.
How did you find Agape/Ecclesia?
A lady from my church worked for Intervarsity and knew Taylor Norris. She emailed me Taylor’s info, and then I heard from Taylor about org fair. I went and saw the “We heart Jesus/We heart you” signs and I met Blythe right away. I went to Agape and fell in love with everyone and the rest is history.
What continues to draw you in?
I know you’ve heard this several times, but there is something so unique about Agape/Ecclesia that is so different from other campus ministries that I’ve witnessed. I think it’s the tangible love in our community. I experienced that from day one. That only increased through my personal trials, my suffering; I just felt like I could see Jesus as I was talking to all of these amazing people. That’s an experience I’ve never had and something I hold on to.
Why are you a Christian?
Why not? Take a crazy chance, why not do a crazy dance.
I honestly can’t imagine my life not as a Christian. Not only have I grown up in the church, but it’s a part of who I am. I have had moments where I wanted to walk away, but that’s pointless. We are created to worship God and if we’re not worshiping God, what is the point of life?
What draws you to Jesus?
I love Jesus
I thought you said who does.
One of the biggest things which has been constant over the past four years is that no matter how far I am from Jesus, he’s always drawing near to me. Even if I don’t want to draw near to Jesus, he’s there. His love. Jesus. Period.
How have you experienced that recently?
One time I packed up the car and went on a road trip to Tennessee. I hiked roughly 7,000 feet up Mt. Lacontte- I didn’t know it would be that steep. Once we got to the top and we were watching the sunset over the Smoky Mountains, it was just breath-taking. You can’t explain it- you have to experience it to understand. I was basically crying up there- there were people up there drinking whiskey, they were offering us whiskey. I declined, even though it was cold, because you shouldn’t take whiskey from strangers. Stranger danger. Anyway, as I was looking out, I had this moment where I thought “wow, this is so beautiful. God created this.” And then when I thought about the fact that God created us, I can’t comprehend how God feels towards us- “I created that; I love that; I love Kendelle.” That was a profound moment of that trip- realizing that I am so small in this big world and God still knows me intimately.
What has God done for you that you couldn’t do for yourself?
Everything. Do you want a list? I mean, I was born. The majority of my faith journey, though, was in college- the big things happened in college. Getting through these four years without God would have been impossible. Even my freshman year, I was on the edge of dropping out because I was in so much pain. Same thing sophomore year, and then with my surgery- I wanted to take a semester off. Without Christ through the community and Christ’s strength in my, I feel like I would have gone to a really dark place. Not to say that I didn’t go through depression or anxiety, but it could have been a hundred times worse. God bringing me through college is something I couldn’t have done on my own. Oh! And climbing that mountain! Seriously! God was so present on that mountain.
What gives you hope?
This answer could be different depending on the season. My parents recently transferred job titles and now they oversee a dozen or so adult rehab centers in the Midwest. These centers have programs for any man or woman in addiction. They go through a nine-month program and end up being a part of the church. I never thought a lot about it because I grew up with it being a big part of our church, but over Christmas I went to a service at a rehab center in Detroit. We had all these former rock stars and broadway producers who got caught up in drugs and went through the program. Now they’re clean but they stick in the church. They are using their amazing gifts to glorify God. It was incredible to see how God transformed their lives. Those kinds of stories give me hope. A lot of these folks come off the streets and are caught up in addiction, and they are the people that are often looked down upon the most, but those are the people that Jesus sits with. That gives me a lot of hope.
Is there a book you think everyone should read?
I have a list of books that I’m taking to Malaysia- I haven’t read any of them yet, but I’m gonna steal Emma’s author, Sarah Bessey and tell everyone they should read her books even though I haven’t read them. Only because Emma speaks so highly of her and at the women’s retreat, she gave a talk about going through Bessey’s book and I think it transformed the way a lot of us look at Godly, spiritual relationships.
Any parting words of wisdom?
There’s this quote and it goes like this: “Life is hard. Then you die. Then they throw dirt in your face. Then you get eaten by worms. Be glad it happens in that order.” My dad used this in a sermon once- he talked about hardships and the pain of life, but at the end he said, “Life is hard; you need Jesus.” That’s my parting word.