photo courtesy Stephanie Bethel
My Story: How My Life Changed

My Story: Stephanie Bethel

“I grew up going to church because of my parents. I really didn’t think about it too much the rest of the week.”

Stephanie Bethel with Rich Atkinson

I grew up going to church because of my parents. I really didn’t think about it too much the rest of the week. So when I went to college, getting up early on Sunday to go to church really wasn’t high on my list of things to do. I pretty much stopped going my freshman year.

I had decided that I would do what everyone else was doing when I got to college so I wouldn’t be lonely. All through my freshman year there, I just blended in.

My major was small and had a lot of people that were pretty committed to school like I was. I fell into what was typical – drinking and going to parties on Friday or Saturday night and studying the rest of the week.

But it was still lonely, even though I was hanging out with a lot of people.

As I began my sophomore year, Lifelines, Cru’s outdoor ministry, invited the whole sophomore chemical engineering class out on a whitewater rafting trip. The trip was free, and my friends were going.

The Lifelines leaders mentioned they would talk about God and spirituality at the end, which was fine with me. It wasn’t something that I was nervous to talk about or anything.

We talked about truth and trust during the course of the day. There were a couple of students on the trip who were part of Lifelines.

I realized that there was something different about those students as they interacted with one another.

On the way home, I ended up sitting next to one of them. She told me all about Lifelines and asked a lot of general questions about me: what I was studying and where I was from. We got to know each other on the ride home. Relationships like that one attracted me to Lifelines.

The Lifelines team invited all of us to one of their meetings when we got back. I thought, “Oh, I don’t want anyone to see me going to this meeting.” But I wanted to go.

After a few weeks of the girl that I had talked with on the way home inviting me to meetings, I finally gave in. The next week, I had breakfast with one of the Lifelines staff members that had come on the trip. She told me again about God’s love and the forgiveness He offers.

In a world that constantly changes and things happen that I never could grasp, the idea of a Creator who loved me regardless of my past not only made sense, but satisfied a deep need I always had but never knew how to meet. That day, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Would you like to know God personally?


Stephanie lives in New Hampshire with her husband, Ryan, and son, Jack. Besides her love for the outdoors and outdoor recreation, she and her husband enjoy making furniture. They work for the Lifelines Northeast Regional Team.

What's your story? Did you become a Christian through Cru or any of its ministries? If so, tell us more at stories@cru.org.

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