The Day Unending Life Began
January 22, 2007
Hi, I feel kinda weird writing this email. And i doubt if it ever gets to Mr Louie Giglio. I am a Senior at The University of Florida. I got a new roommate this semester and she is a Christian and I have never really been into the whole Christian thing because every pastor or speaker that I have ever listened to didn't speak in a language I could understand. I have believed in God and Jesus, but never really understood it because the preachers at the church that I have always been forced to go to every Sunday of my life. They speak all high and mighty and I never really felt connected, and I felt like God was only for the perfect people.
Well my roommate went to this Passion Conference over winter break. And she came back and moved into my apt and she was real and genuine about all her Christian stuff, like I have never seen before in a person. She said that God changed her at this conference, so i was like what are you talking about. And she told me. She told me about how God was cool, and how God really wanted a deeper relationship with her, and she wanted to really love God the way he loved her, so of course I was like well huh? She then said you need to listen to Louie talk about God, so I asked who Louie was, and she put on the Indescribable talk, and then we watched the Passport talk. And in the Passport talk you said that Christians do not have to just hope for the best at the end, that they do not have to do enough good stuff. You explained how to get to heaven in a simple way, in a way that I have never heard before. I actually got it, I got it that it is not about being so good, cause I am not a good person. I have screwed up a lot. But then you said grace, and talked about how is was different than other religions. Because God is a loving and a kind God who wants to forgive me. My roommate then explained that he wants to forgive me.
Now for one of the reasons I am thanking you. One, I am now a Christian. And two, my roommate said that she had never really cared about telling others about how much God loved her before she went to this conference. So though I am not sure who will ever read this. Please tell Louie thanks from me, for talking about Christ in a way that a college kid can understand. I know that Jesus has changed my life and as I get ready to graduate college in May, I am gonna be a different person. I am sorry this is kinda rambling but I just had to tell you that I now know about the Grace of God, and I have life for the first time in my 22 years
Well, I have to say reading those words for the very first time was one of my happiest days in the history of "everything Passion." Here was a student who had never come through the doors of a Passion gathering, yet because of someone who had (her roommate, Christa) Ashley found the embrace of the God who made her and gave His all so she would know how much He truly loved her and that He always would. It wasn't so much about Passion, but about the fact that one of the students we so desperately love had found the Savior, and, in her words, knew she had life for the first time in her 22 years on this planet.
Yet, soon our joy was mixed with tears as the news reached us that an accident took Ashley from us a year ago today. She only walked with Jesus on earth for three short months, but Ashley's life was forever changed. And through the kindness of her family, who have allowed her story to be told, God is using Ashley to touch the lives of people around the world. It would seem appropriate to title this entry [Remembering Ashley Akinns - 6/21/84 - 4/29/07], but how could we ever forget her? Her story is forever woven into the very fabric of our hearts, and not a day has gone by in the year so quickly passed that we have not thought about her and because of her thought about what it means to really live. Today is a difficult and precious day, in that it's the day Ashley first saw Jesus face to face. Yet, today is a hopeful day because of January 21, 2007...the day, for Ashley, unending life began.
When Ashley's mom wrote to tell me about Ashley's death she said, "I may never meet you here on earth, but I know that someday I will be able to meet you and give you a hug in heaven, but only after Ash does." Well, from the looks of things, I'm going to be one of many in a long, long line of people waiting to meet Ashley as we all celebrate the One who is mighty to save. Yet, we are all going to have to wait until she's reunited with the ones she loved the most, those whose wounds are deepest on this day... those who miss her more than we could ever know.
To Ashley's family and closest friends, our thoughts and prayers surround each of you today. May her life-loving smile brighten the sadness of this day, and may the arms that so tightly hold her now carry you until you hold her in your arms again.