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SILOAM SPRINGS–On Friday, September 21st, over 225 college students from twenty different collegiate ministries all over Arkansas and Oklahoma attended the Camp Siloam 2018 Collegiate Fall Retreat. 

     The weekend consisted of three main sessions, Jonah Bynum and his crew leading worship and Zach Gryder preaching. Amanda Coburn, member of Woodland Heights Baptist Church in Conway, heard God’s Truth and felt led to apply it to her life. “I am just really convicted because I know what the Lord wants me to do:  I just have to do it,” she said. “There are people the Lord has placed in my life that I know I need to share Jesus with.” Students learned about sharing Christ through the breakout session, “Faith in the Workplace.” Other sessions included “Finding Joy in Life’s Disappointments,” “Time Management,” “Spiritual Disciplines,” and others.

       Not only were relationships with Jesus strengthened from the weekend at Camp Siloam, but so were other relationships. “This weekend really just helped me feel more connected to the people involved in my ministry,” said Jessica Hutchison who attends Vilonia First Baptist. “My freshman year I would only talk to the same few people every time our ministry met for our weekly worship service.  I wanted to talk to people and make more friends but sometimes it’s just hard.  That’s why weekends like this are so important.  It creates an environment where it’s just easy.” 

     Jonathan Freeman, associate Central Baptist of Jonesboro central campus college director agreed that the camp environment helped a lot of his 18 students open up about spiritual topics. “The highlight for me was intentional time my wife and I got to spend with our students that led to good conversations. Some are working through a call to ministry and we got to talk through that and another was working through salvation. Those conversations happened because we were able to get away.” One student accepted Christ and now wants to be baptized, he said.

      Jared Farley who serves on the College + Young Leaders Team at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention said he’s still in a conversation with a student about God because of what she heard at camp.  “We are continuing to meet with her and share the Gospel for follow-up,” said the Henderson State University Baptist campus minister. Farley said his students (including 5 freshmen) took up the fall retreat challenge to actively share their faith on campus. 

      Freeman said his students enjoyed taking a rest from the stress of life and school.  A student from the University of Arkansas in Monticello said she was one of those students. “I loved just getting away, taking a break from school, and surrounding myself with people who love God and pour their hearts out for Him,” said Macy Mitchell from First Baptist Church of Monticello. 

     Leyton Gassaway, member of Central Baptist Church in Conway, said her busy schedule almost stopped her from going to the retreat, but she changed her mind. “I knew this was something I needed, and I felt the Lord telling me to come this weekend.  I’m so glad I did!” Gassaway said. “When you come to things like fall retreat, it really just brings out the joy of your salvation, and that’s what I felt this weekend.  It’s so encouraging being around other college students that are praising, worshiping and growing together.”  

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