Laurie, on left, with her sister, Whitney. Photo courtesy Laurie Mitchell.

What Really Saves Us?

Laurie Mitchell learns a new lesson about Christ.

Philip Long

Laurie Mitchell and her twin sister Whitney sat in their dorm room talking about something totally unique. It was their freshman year at Transylvania University in Kentucky and what Laurie had just witnessed spurred on the conversation.

Laurie and Whitney grew up in church, played sports and had always been close. They had just been to a Cru meeting where Laurie had looked around during the time of singing and noticed something strange.

While she was just singing the words on the screen, a lot of the people had their eyes closed and seemed to mean what they were singing. She began wondering, what is it that these people feel that I don’t? Whatever it is I want that.

What started as a conversation between the two sisters grew into a larger search as they continued going to Cru meetings and coming back saying “Ok, what did that mean? What does this mean?”

After a few months a friend named Becky joined them. Laurie remembers when she had met Becky earlier in the year thinking, Oh, she’s cool. I like hanging with her. Becky was a few years older than the girls, working with Cru and asked if she could mentor them.

Laurie and Whitney began meeting with Becky, praying and studying their Bibles. Now they were talking about faith all the time. They were asking, “What’s God doing in your life? What’s that verse mean? What’s this verse mean?”

And Becky was a great teacher. She challenged them in their understanding. They already thought they were Christians since they’d been baptized as kids. She taught them about grace, which was really big for Laurie.

Laurie says that growing up she’d always stayed out of trouble, because she thought if she didn’t, God would be angry with her. She lived a good life so that other people would say, “Oh yeah, she’s a good person.” She remembers volunteering at youth group, going to church, church camp and doing all kinds of stuff but with selfish motives, hoping that all her good work would make her ok with God.

But as Laurie met with Becky, she realized that she was saved only by faith in Jesus. She realized it was Jesus work not hers. Now her favorite verse is Ephesians 2:8 because it reminds her to be thankful for his grace every day.

Now Laurie wants to do good things now but with a different motive. She says she wants to be like Jesus who said himself “I don’t do these things for my own benefit but for my father.”

She and her sister went on to grad school to study sports management. Now the two are going on a 6-month mission trip to Asia. Only having ever been out of the U.S. once for 2 weeks, she’s relying on God.

Laurie is not exactly sure what the future holds when she returns, though she plans on continuing to mentor athletes at work, which often does provide opportunities to have spiritual conversations with students.

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