In this week’s blog we are honored to be sharing with you a reflection from Carissa Dagon. She is an incredible MTOP Volunteer from the Grove UMC and inspiring young adult.
Hi, my name is Carissa Dagon. I am a senior at East Ridge High School and I have two younger brothers who are both in frog here. My family and I have been going to the grove since we moved to Woodbury almost 17 years ago. I was confirmed in the fall of 2015.
The summer before, the confirmation class went to Mountain Top. for those who are not familiar, Mountain Top is a 7-day camp in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee. You spend the week with people from around the country, as well as your church, doing service projects for the people in the county and growing in your faith.
Last summer, I went to Mountain Top for the third time. My week on the mountain has come to be my favorite week of the year, and I already cannot wait to go back. Through Mountain Top, I have grown closer to God and learned so much about Him and how to live as a disciple of Jesus. Three summers ago was a wake-up moment in my faith journey.
In that week, I learned more about my faith than I ever had in my life. There’s something about the feeling I got while singing praise songs, in the mountains, surrounded with endless love, that I cannot get anywhere else. This changed me. I felt my faith grow stronger by the minute, accelerating faster than I could have ever imagined. Not only did my relationship with God change, but so did my relationship with myself. I have realized that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I am a child of God, and I am called. I am called to always be with Jesus, and this realization changed how I view myself and the world around me. I know that I was created for a purpose, and that there is nothing that life can throw at me that I cannot turn to God with.
Mountain Top has taught me to put my full trust in God. I am confident in His unfailing, unending love. Because of this, returning to Mountain Top wasn’t much of a decision for me. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to once again feel the immense power of the holy spirit and serve people in need. Since I went the first time, I have sought out this opportunity to grow tremendously in my faith by returning to the mountain. I am so grateful to have been able to serve the people of the Cumberland Mountains and to connect with God in such powerful ways. Though leaving the mountain is hard for me, I find myself excited to spread all of the joy and love of christianity that I just experienced.
A huge part in that has been coming home to a welcoming and loving church community. I have loved growing up in the Grove and meeting all of the wonderful people here. The connections i have made in my years growing up at the Grove, both with people my age and with adults, are ones I know will stay with me as I experience life and its uncertainty. church is another place i find myself filled with God’s love and compassion. I was a part of creation station and frog, and now attend jolt as often as I can. I treasure the talks I have had with small groups as we explore our faith together. I treasure the games we play and joy that is shared as a community while we all grow closer to each other. I treasure Sunday morning worship, where I get to sing and hear God’s word. Most importantly, I treasure the inclusive and joyful atmosphere of this church. I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of such a community that provides me with moments to accelerate my faith and grow as a child of God.
Through my incredible experiences at Mountain Top and the great church I belong to, my relationship with God is unfailing. I have sought these changing God moments, like on the mountain, but also have had it surprise me in the best way. I am grateful that the Grove can continue to be a place that nurtures and grows people, and provides accelerating moments of faith that connect us with God. I encourage all of you to seek moments to connect and grow to closer to God; I am so glad that I did.