Thursday, March 30th TCS held a Spiritual Life Conference for our middle school and high school students as well as an evening session for our TCS parents. Marcus McFolling was the main speaker and Greg Colbeck along with our very own Mrs. LeeAnna Colonnello led worship. Even before Marcus stepped foot on our campus God was working. The story of how he came to TCS is one of prayer, persistence, and providence.
The day was broken up into times of worship, a message, and small group sessions. Marcus began the morning by encouraging all the kids to come to the front and lift their hands in worship to God. You could see the students pouring out their hearts in worship. A few weeks before, the seniors experienced their Dominican Republic trip. “It felt like we brought the DR back with us,” senior Rakeen King said.
Marcus’s talk spoke to the hearts of all students, but especially to those struggling with anxiety, fear, depression, or even suicidal thoughts. He gave the opportunity for students to indicate if these feelings applied to them. Toward the end of his session, he had all the TCS staff who were present stand around the room. He encouraged the students to go find a teacher or staff member to pray with. Students responded as they moved to teachers for prayer.
Tears and hugs flowed freely as students experienced the love and acceptance of their peers, teachers, and Heavenly Father. Senior Javier Souto said, “It was a wakeup call for some people and a sign of relief for others. Some people struggle and they’re not very vocal, so being able to be vulnerable with your own friends and other classmates allowed people to be more open to the entire experience.”
After Marcus’ morning, session the middle school students participated in small group sessions led by our MS faculty members on different life and Biblical topics such as work ethic, social media, womanhood, and manhood. The high school students had breakout sessions where the boys heard about being a man of God with Marcus and living a life of purity with Pastor Colonnello. The girls talked about living a life of purity with Mrs. Dagnall and their identity in Christ with Marcus.
“I liked how we related with the teachers. The women were able to talk to the girls. We learned a lot and it felt comforting,” said senior Hannah McNulty.
Sophomore, Haley Gotshall experienced God speaking to her that day. “After our breakout groups with the high school girls, Marcus’ friend Blake called me aside and told me that God put it on his heart to come and talk to me. He began to name every single thing that I was going through, and I had never met this man before! He helped me get started on where to start reading the Bible and encouraged me. That was a pivotal point where I thought ‘Wow God is really there and He’s really trying to help me.’ That was the biggest thing that happened to me.”
After lunch, the high schoolers went into their discipleship groups to debrief and discuss the events of the day. Many students were impacted by seeing the teachers on a more personal level. They felt as if the teachers were treating them like a loving parent figure, more than just a teacher.
Sophomore, Isabella Ramos said, “I liked how everybody was so vulnerable, nobody was competing, we were all at the same level, all comforting each other and helping each other. I think we need to do this more!”
Ella Mendalski, who played a pivotal role in having Marcus as our speaker for the conference said, “God knows that kids these days have different needs than kids of Christian schools 20 years ago, and through Marcus, He spoke truth to them so that they heard the pursuit of a loving Father, because they need to hear that they’re wanted, they’re loved, and they’re accepted. The Spirit of God transformed our school that day, the kids felt what the love of God feels like, and they ran into it.”
“It was encouraging to see students listening to God’s Word and responding. In this broken world, many of our students are hurting and, on this day, they got to experience what God’s love can look and feel like every day if they surrender to Him. We are praying that the uplifting spirit of love and acceptance that students displayed toward one another will continue in the days and month ahead,” shared MS/HS principal, Miss McKay.
God continues to move through this generation of students and throughout the TCS campus. We are excited to see how He will use the impact of this Spiritual Life Conference on our students for His glory!