It’s hard to find adequate words to describe the experience I had last summer at Redeemed Girl Institute. During my drive to Destin, Florida, I prayed that God would open my heart to all that I needed to hear and that I would be receptive to whatever He had in store for me. God delivered in ways that I never dreamt of or imagined. Reflecting on that week brings words like freedom, redemption, healing, forgiveness, worship, and discipleship to mind. And to be fully honest – the sun, sand and laughter were part of this amazing week, too! (Not to mention the embarrassing amounts of cookie dough we consumed).

Although all of those elements were great, the most important to me was that I left RGI more in love with Jesus. I had a new desire to share my faith so that others could understand the same love that I was experiencing. Whenever I tell people about RGI (which I have done countless times), I have to share an illustration that really hit home with me. During one of the sessions, we talked about whether our relationship with God was like a love story or like an arranged marriage. I realized that I had been living with the “arranged marriage” description. When I left RGI, the butterflies I had in my stomach were overwhelming and unlike anything I have ever experienced — and my love story began.

A little background may help explain why this meant so much to me. I tried to run from the truth during my first few years of college. I was involved in a relationship that dishonored Jesus and I was living the “party girl” life style. I ended up in the darkest place I had ever been but by the grace of God, through the darkness, I turned to Jesus. A few months later, I found myself at the RGM outreach event – “Girl’s Night Out.”  That night they mentioned the Redeemed Girl Institute, and for some reason it caught my attention, so a friend and I made up our minds that we would be there. PRAISE THE LORD! My past had become such a burden. I was filled with shame, brokenness, and fear of being unworthy of the unconditional love of Christ. At RGI, I learned about my identity in Christ and I left behind the shame and guilt I had been carrying for so long. I began to truly believe that I was a new creation in Christ. I would encourage anyone reading this that if the Lord is putting it on your heart to be a part of this life changing experience, please do not ignore Him.

There’s something amazing about being in a room full of young women who each have their own unique story, yet share one thing in common: hearts that desire to more deeply know the Savior. There was incredible power in the teaching, the worship, and the leadership of the women involved with Redeemed Girl Institute. Thinking about it now still gives me chills.

For so long I was the girl who believed in God, read my Bible occasionally, and prayed when I felt like it. Leaving RGI, I was not that girl anymore. I was afraid that the passion I felt would dwindle, but five months later I can say that it has not. RGI was a transformation process and I daily seek to continue to live that out. I look at my notes from RGI as often as possible to reinforce what I learned about Christ that week. I can honestly say that going to RGI was the absolute best decision I have ever made. Even though the leaders, teachers, and new friends I made played a big role in making that week so special, it was the presence and power of Jesus and His love that was most overwhelming and evident. I encourage you to take that leap of faith and take the next step in your personal relationship with Christ. I can promise you that RGI will surpass all of your expectations and leave you speechless at what God can accomplish through a group of REDEEMED GIRLS!

Mary Chelsey McCord,

Nursing Student at the University of South Carolina

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