Ashley: So growing up, I was very adamant about thinking all Christians were bad people, especially because I thought they spread hate instead of love. And so in my mind, I thought that I should use the book they're basing everything off of against them.
But then one day when I opened up the Bible app, it does a verse of the day and the verse that came up was Romans 8:18 - The sufferings that we feel today shall not compare to the glory that will be revealed in us. I remember just thinking, "What?" Because that didn't sound like hate at all. And as someone who was struggling with depression and felt sad all the time and felt like I was suffering consistently, to hear that there was something more to it and read that really surprised me. And so I got scared and put the Bible down and never returned to it until college when I met Morgan.
Morgan: I met Ashley on the 8th floor of Chadborn, a dorm on campus. She was very talkative and came to my door and invited me to go out with a bunch of girls from the floor and check out Taste of Madison. As we were talking over together to that together, we were standing at a bus stop on the corner and I noticed that she has a little cross tattoo on her wrist.
Ashley: It was my junior year of highschool and there was this post that had all these religious symbols on it and the secular meaning behind it. The cross can symbolize being loving and kind and compassionate to one another and so when I read that, I was very stuck on it. All I can think of was, I need this for my first tattoo. Morgan, she asked me about my cross and she says, "Hey so I notice you have a cross tattoo so you must be Christian and I was wondering if you wanted to check out a church with me sometime." And I said, "Oh no. I don't really do that church thing. This stands for my own morals and beliefs."
Morgan: And I didn't really know what that meant at all.
Ashley: And her response was like, "Oh! OK! I'm going to check out church sometime and if you might be interested in that you can ask me about it." And she also said something along the lines of like, "If you ever want to find out what it means to me, I guess you can ask me about that, too."
I remember thinking, "I don't want to know what it means to you. Why would I ever come to you with these questions?" But then literally three days later, I just felt so pressed. Especially because all I can think about was how the Bible couldn't be truly bad because of Romans 8:18 and I need to know what this symbol means to her beyond what I thought it meant to me.
Morgan: All of her questions made me dig deeper into the Bible and look up, OK, who is Jesus? And who is God and what does that mean for my life now?
Ashley: I don't remember what I had asked, but I remember she was just like, "I can't answer that but, I go to a Bible study every week. The two attended Bible studies together for one month before Ashley when to her first large group meeting. She witnessed over 300 students worshipping Jesus together.
And so, I just decided that night that Jesus exists, Jesus is real, He died for my sins, He has saved me and I want to continue learning about how He loves me. I remember right after I accepted Christ I just started telling everyone who He was.
Morgan: Last November, Ashley and I decided to get baptized together.
Ashley: And I remember Morgan went first. And I was so overwhelmed by this feeling of, look how much God has used Morgan in my life and how God is going to continue using her in other people's lives. It was an amazing moment. I remember crying watching Morgan go and then suddenly it was my turn.
And Pastor Marc was like, "Do you accept Christ as your Savior? Do you live Christ with your heart?" And I was like, "Yeah! Of course!" And suddenly I was dunked and I came up and it was so liberating to show that I loved Christ so much. And I just declared that God has the most important role in my life and I just declared that Jesus saved me. And I'm not turning back.