By Ruth Gunderson
Julia Aamot has a question. Maybe two. Okay, let’s admit it, Julia is going to keep asking until she gets an answer.
“I don’t know why God has made me a questioner,” admits the AFLBS senior from Cokato, Minn. The questions seem to well up from within, revealing a deep desire to pursue the things of God. Through her quest, Aamot’s search for knowledge has brought her to a place where she knows she can ask those questions.
Just two years ago, Aamot was unsure of her footing, having graduated from high school without a firm plan for college or career. Maybe nursing, she thought. In the meantime, she took a gap year, working as a waitress to save money for whatever God may bring her way. It was her friends, at first, who saw Bible school as a perfect fit for their inquisitive friend. Her father had attended AFLBS, graduating in 1995. He didn’t push it, though. Maybe, she thought. But plans had already been made for a six-week cross-country road trip with two friends in the spring of 2017. She was committed.
It wasn’t a typical teenage pleasure-seeking adventure the trio had planned. No, they marked out a circular route through the South and East Coast that hit up volunteer opportunities with ministries such as Voice of the Martyrs and JARS International, and visits with missionary families who mentored the girls. It was fulfilling, those days, giving time and energy to ministries in need. Their travels opened her eyes to a world of accessible mission opportunities. Experiences piled up on each other, tipping her toward a decision. One place in particular stood out—she felt woefully unprepared to talk with a woman at a food shelf who didn’t believe the Bible is literally true. She knew then that she needed solid answers.
Last fall, Aamot drove onto campus and asked her first questions. It was a slow slog, at first, as she tried to find her footing with her fellow classmates. She came off as argumentative, she admits. But as the days turned colder, and as teachers opened their doors and fellow students stayed up for late-night discourses on faith, Aamot’s sharp edges softened.
“I began to see that we don’t have to agree on everything to be brothers and sisters in Christ,” she said. “I could argue all the time or I could learn more.”
It was a simple lesson, true, but the ramifications have been reverberating through many aspects of her personality. For one, she makes an effort to listen more. And, though humbling, she admits when she is wrong.
“Grace has been a huge emphasis,” she says of the lessons she has taken away from her first year at AFLBS. “I love now having that mentality of being able to talk to people about things of faith. … I want to know why, but, I want it to be in an honorable way. I want to be respectful of people.”
As a senior, Aamot is ready to be a mentor to the incoming class. She wants to encourage them to ask questions and seek answers. It’s part of her new passion: a heart for people who have questions. What that looks like, Aamot is yet to discover. But you can be sure that she’ll be asking God about it.
“It’s okay to leave it up to Him,” she said.
This article first appeared in Kinship Magazine, Fall 2018 Edition.
Kinship is a magazine of the Free Lutheran Schools. Stay up to date on latest news, student stories, classroom highlights, and fun tidbits about life on the AFLBS and AFLTS campus.
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