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It was time to take off the mask

Ashleigh Rolland checked off her Christian to-do list, then one question changed everything

I was taught that being a Christian was more about doing “Christian” things than actually following Jesus.

I did the right things and said the right things. On the outside, I was a good person. From years of playing the part, I had convinced myself and those around me that I was a Christian. But as I got older, keeping up the act got harder.

I had to put on a good face when I was at church because not being OK wasn’t acceptable. I remember driving to church and my parents would be fighting. Then we would have to get out of the car and act like life was perfect.

My friend didn’t give up on me.

A Question Without An Answer

When I was in 7th grade, one of my best friends started inviting me to Fuse, but my family was anti-NewSpring at the time, and there was no way they would let me skip out on my youth group for a different one. But my friend didn’t give up on me. Fast-forward two years: I’m a freshman in high-school, and my friend is still inviting me!

At the time, Fuse was on Tuesday nights for high schoolers, so I was finally able to go. From the first night I loved it and felt like I really belonged, so I joined my friend’s small group.

Our small group met before Fuse, and one night that fall of 2011, one of the leaders asked us about when we met Jesus and saw a change in our lives.​

I felt joy I didn’t know was possible and had a smile that just wouldn’t go away.

The End Of An Act

Throughout the night I couldn’t get this question off of my mind. All those years I had just been playing a game. It was time to take the mask off, and let Jesus take over.

At the end of the service, my heart pounding in my chest, terrified of what people would think, I raised my hand to ask Jesus into my life. That one small outward action, on Sept. 13, 2011, changed my life forever.

I felt joy I didn’t know was possible and had a smile that just wouldn’t go away.

Real Joy

The following year, I started serving in KidSpring, where I met a sweet group of girls that have now been in my life nearly four years.

When they started going to Fuse, I went with them, and getting to lead them in a group at Fuse has been one of the greatest joys in my life.

More often than not, they teach me more than I could ever teach them. I’ve gotten to see so many of them meet Jesus and take their next steps.

I truly believe that everyone's life is better when Jesus is at the center.

Focused On Jesus

Everything has come full circle: Because of one friend that kept inviting me, both me and and people around me have changed for the better. My family also started attending NewSpring together, and we all took steps closer to Jesus and each other.

Now I have surrendered my future to Jesus. I started attending NewSpring Leadership College in the fall of 2015, and the experience has been immeasurably more.

Training for ministry as a career hasn't always been what I wanted to do. But the Church has had a huge impact on my life, and I believe the Lord has called me to help build the church by loving and leading students in their relationship with Jesus.

I've experienced and truly believe that everyone's life is better when Jesus is at the center, and I just want to help point people to Jesus.

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