Ambia Valentine: That's How I Connect
Every Summit Connect group has a defining moment when the group develops a personality of its own, the walls come down, and even the most guarded hearts feel safe. It’s the moment when there is a realization that God’s purpose is at work through broken individuals. For Ambia Valentine, that moment happened unexpectedly, somewhere between shoveling mulch and eating 4Rivers with her Connect group. “We signed up for our first niceSERVE project together, which was an outdoor improvement project at a local school,” Ambia recalls. “For four hours, we raked mulch, painted stairwells, planted shrubs, and loved every minute of it.” Ambia claims this to be the moment when she first knew that this Connect group made life better. “We could see we worked well together,but more importantly, that’s when we really started doing life together.”
Now into its second year, Ambia’s Connect group meets once a week to review a chapter in a study or the next video in a series. “We start off just taking a pulse on everyone’s week to see how things are going. We do this through something called ‘highs and lows,’” Ambia explains. “Basically we go around the group and tell some great things that happened in our week as well as some things we might be struggling with.” The group then delves into their study and ends with individual prayer requests. However, the group doesn’t limit their time to Wednesday nights alone. They often get together throughout the month, including shopping or going to the gym and organizing their outings through a group Facebook page.
The group members are limitless in their support for one another, supporting each other in all of life’s experiences. “As soon as Tiffany [one of the six girls in the coed group] told us she was getting baptized, we said ‘OK, we’re all going to support you, so get ready,’” Ambia recalls. Four of the group members drove out together and recorded the footage that would later appear on the big screen. “It was so great to cheer for Tiffany and be there when she came out of the water!”
As much as the group enjoys sharing their celebrations in life, they also face the tough experiences together as well. “Several members of our group have been through really difficult times in the last year. We’ve prayed for them and supported them along the way,” says Ambia. “When one of us is feeling down or maybe not having a great week, the rest of the group can usually tell and we are right there to pick that individual up. It’s a support network in every sense of the word.”
“We have friendships that will last a lifetime,” Ambia says. “I’m always bragging about my Connect group. Everybody is always asking, ‘What is your Connect group doing this weekend?’”
It seems the answer is clear: They’re doing life together.
Guest blogger Kaleb Harrell is a Communications volunteer and frequent writer for SUMMIT MAGAZINE.