My family expected to move around for my dad’s job – we trusted God that His plan was good and right, wherever he sent us – but I could never have guessed we would end up in Nebraska! We moved to Lincoln when I was in 5th grade for my dad to be the Campus Minister at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This new role of CM for my dad officially made me an RUF Kid, which, little did I know, would be the most fun gift I ever had handed to me!
There are SO MANY stories that I could share about my 5 years as an RUF Kid, but some of the best stories happened at Summer Conference every year. My siblings and I quickly connected with the other Kids of CMs who were there from all over the country. The big kids formed a little “clan” that moved from pool to pool and stayed up late to hangout, even dancing at the beach dance party! There were also many little kids around, and it was so fun helping their mamas by playing with them in the mornings. And the schedule was amazing for us: while the students were in seminars, we hung out on the beach with other families and had the pools to ourselves. Later in the afternoons, the college students were on the beaches, and we got to hang out with them during their free time. Finally, at night we went to Large Group and worshiped God with hundreds of people. It was so powerful and life-giving!
Other favorite moments of mine are all the weddings we went to! When your dad is a pastor of college kids, your family ends up at more weddings than you can count. It was a fun bonus of the job because my family loves to party! The weddings have all been super fun, but, I’ll tell you, the most fun weddings are the weddings with the fullest dance floors.
RUF life brought a sweet life, and lots of real life, into our home. From listening to my dad preach at Large Group, to having at least one college kid in our house most of the time, I was surrounded by people who loved God and loved others. But I was also exposed to some challenges at a young age because of the nature of the job. Those experiences taught me that life isn’t always perfect because of the sin in the world, but God always has a plan. Eventually, my mom also worked as Campus Staff, and I’m not gonna lie, it was hard sometimes that RUF was such a “family job”– but I wouldn’t trade any of it. I had strong connections with so many college girls over the years who helped me lean on God and pray when things were hard, and also loved me so well! I learned from them what it looks like to follow God while having fun in college.
Growing up in this position has taught me how to be a leader as well as someone who trusts God and leans on others. At events, I would talk to our regular people, but also was interested in talking to new people. From a young age I knew how to talk to almost anyone because I was talked to as a person rather than a little kid. I will always have a deep love for RUF, the experiences, and the community we were raised in!