Jubilee Stories

Jubilee Stories: Leah Hornfeck

If you’ve hung around the Harbor for any length of time, you’ve probably heard us invite you to the CCO’s Jubilee conference. Perhaps you’ve wondered why we care so much about getting students to come to this. In the weeks leading up to Jubilee 2018, we’ll be sharing a series of stories of our own experiences at Jubilee and how God has used this conference to transform our lives. This is why we work so hard to get students there.

This week, we’re sharing a story from Leah Hornfeck, our current CCO Fellow. Read on!


Travel back with me to February 2014. The Winter Olympics in Sochi were well underway; The Lego Movie brought in the big buck at the box office; Derek Jeter had just announced he will be retiring from the MLB; and a young, naïve freshman was about to have her world rocked at the Jubilee Conference. That freshman was me, and this is my Jubilee story.

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect going to Jubilee for the first time. All I knew was that when they announced it at our campus ministry group people cheered, and that was a good enough reason for me to go. I wanted to be a part of whatever this excitement was. While Jubilee was a ton of fun and filled with excitement and joy, it was also full of deep and challenging messages. The one that really resonated with me was the talk about The Fall given by the man, the myth, the legend—Dan Allender. Dan Allender talked about shame and and the way it affects our lives in ways that are even deeper than we often realize. However, as Christians we have hope because we have a shame-bearer. We have Christ. I won’t get into the nitty gritty details of Dan’s talk, but I highly recommend you take a half hour and listen to it yourself. It just might change your life.

dan allender.jpg

It certainly changed my life. I realized as Dan was speaking that I had A LOT of shame that I had never really dealt with before. This was super overwhelming, and I had no idea how to process it all. Thankfully, I finally found space to process everything I was thinking and feeling during our Spring Break service trip. I even began telling a couple people about these shameful experiences and allowed them to bear this burden with me. Maybe for you this is completely normal, but for me this went against every ounce of my being. My natural disposition had always been the less you let people in, the less you can be hurt. So, I had gotten really good at giving the illusion that I was being vulnerable while still keeping people at arm’s length.

Now I was completely exposed. I was laying out some of the deepest, most secretive parts of my life to people, and it was terrifying. I didn’t know how they would respond. I didn’t know what they would think of me after this. But in God’s grace and goodness, they responded with compassion and love, and I grew so much closer to them as a result of these conversations. I learned that I wasn’t alone, and I gained a sense of commonality to my experiences and feelings. I had a taste of community in the Kingdom of God, and I realized how I had been starving myself of that.

From this point I made many intentional efforts to break down my walls and let people in. I found that when you do this, people tend to let you into their lives as well. I had begun having more intimate, deep, genuine relationships than ever before, and it clicked—this is the way God intended for us to live and by the Cross of Christ we are free to do exactly that.

Community, relationships, and their complicated inner workings with emotions and experiences is still something I’m learning more and more about. I think God has a lot to teach us about what it means to follow him in the way we handle our relationships. Dan’s talk was a catalyst to me realizing these things about myself, others, and the Kingdom of God. That doesn’t mean I never would have known these things were it not for that talk, but for me, Dan Allender’s talk changed everything.

Note: Dan Allender will be back at Jubilee this year, speaking again on the Fall during the Saturday morning Gathering!

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