CHANGED FOR LIFE

What Students Say

“The Compass program changed my life. Not only have I made three life-long friendships with brothers in Christ that have a calling in ministry, God has begun a work in my heart to refine the passions he has given me in accordance with his will, gifts and calling in my life. God has made it clear to me that I have a call to youth ministry and possibly missions.  But regardless of my location, God has called me to be a man of integrity, purity, and character. God has shown me that He deeply cares for humanity and wants to use humanity to restore His kingdom to Earth.  I knew this intellectually but Compass showed me how I can create and cultivate that perspective practically.”

—Josh

“Compass was the best way I could have ever spent my summer. I shared amazing experiences with other youth that longed to serve God with their lives in different types of ministries. I learned and grew alongside them, as we built lasting friendships and mentorships. I also have a mentor here in Vermont from my church home, and we meet usually every week to discuss and study the Bible and other Christian books. Having this support keeps me accountable and it helps me in further understanding God and His will for my life. I plan on serving God in different ministries, and I think the Compass experience has been a great start for me and has even inspired me in my ministry goals. I had an unforgettable time that month during Compass, it was truly a time to grow closer to God and other Christians. I am so thankful to have experienced Compass and the effects it has had upon my life as a believer.”

—Norma

“Compass was unlike any other experience I have had, since it excellently combined spiritual encouragement and challenges. Throughout the RMI, I felt God calling me to change certain aspects of my life and also felt his blessing. For example, God used La Vida to expose some of my bad habits regarding complaining and teach me to be more grateful for what I have. At Gordon-Conwell, God challenged me to find accountability, and in Mexico, began to show me his global plan. Throughout all this, God surrounded me with incredible, God-fearing friends from different parts of the US who encouraged and challenged me as I did the same for them. Going on Compass can take a big leap of faith, since, if you’re like I was, you may not know anyone prior to going. In addition to building my relationship with him and giving me incredible friends, God used Compass to further define my calling as a pastor even where I am attending school  at Vanderbilt University. I would especially recommend Compass if you feel that God has called you into full-time ministry, because God will use your time on Compass to prepare you for what he has in store for you.”

—Jeffrey

"Before Compass I didn't think I could be a leader, and would just let others lead.  But after Compass I was able to realize that the Lord has given me a voice and I should use it.”

—Melissa

“Compass has played a pivotal role in shaping me into the adult I am now. I consider it a tremendous blessing to have been able to attend seminary classes with real professors during the academic phase of the Compass program, and I am pretty intent on getting a seminary degree after graduating from Mississippi State. I am also very thankful that I was able to participate in the foreign missions trip to Mexico City, and I am currently looking for foreign missions opportunities in the upcoming summers. The Compass program has opened so many doors for me, and now nothing seems impossible. Memories of the Compass program are always fresh on my mind, and now, more than ever, I am able to see how God was in the works the entire time, using these experiences to shape me into a stronger leader, servant, and witness. I am thankful for the experience, the memories, and the lasting relationships that were made.”

—Gabe

“Compass was the catalyst that showed me that even at a young age, you can have a real, personal faith in Jesus Christ.  Being surrounded by the other participants who absolutely loved the Lord, going on a short-term missions trip, spending time in the wilderness with my small group, and committing to a real positive mentoring relationship has deepened my faith to a degree that makes me want to continue to grow deeper.  I look back on Compass as the turning point of my life and as a springboard into a future that I hope will glorify God in everything and be completely motivated by the love of Christ.”

—Phil

“I loved taking those [RMI] classes. Compass sparked the love for theology in me. Now that it's been about three years, I walk my faith with more confidence. I now embrace God's forgiveness and love. Without those two components, where would I be? Compass saved my life.”

—Nancy

"The Compass program is by far the highlight of my high school experience. I can say with confidence that the Compass program helped guide me and shape me into the man of God I am today. The other students I traveled with, as well as the staff that guided us will forever hold a place in my heart."

—James

"Compass introduced me to the concept of professional Christian ministry. Before hand my faith was largely ritualistic and narcotic. God was someone I thanked for food and Christmas presents or who I addressed my emergency concerns to whenever a quick fix was needed. Compass remains one of the most definitive periods of my life to which I can attribute how I am currently at seminary today."

—Peter

“I heard about the Compass program a week before the deadline to register and would've ignored it had my pastor not pushed the idea.  At the time I was more interested in pursuing sports broadcasting than full time ministry.  I filled out the application and started to pray, figuring that if I was accepted it was where the Lord wanted me.  The first week with Lavida was alright, the missions trip was fun, but the week of Bible studies with seminary professors was when I knew that God was calling me to ministry.  Being able to learn from highly educated men and ask them questions one on one was an amazing experience.  I am now a full time youth pastor and still remember the great opportunity I had in being a part of the inaugural Compass program.  Any kid who feels like the Lord might be calling them to ministry should take advantage of the Compass program, it helped me hear my calling.”

—James

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What Church Leaders Say

“We have had three students go through the Compass program and I nominated a fourth last year from another church. I have clearly seen in all four students dramatic spiritual growth as well as a deepened sense of missional responsibility that all Christians have as salt and light in this dark world. One student was affected so much by Compass that upon his return he asked me if he could start a peer discipleship group for junior and senior high school boys. He designed the program with the help of two other high school students and they met for a year every Thursday night. They had seven young men faithfully attending each week. This led to the development of a discipleship group for freshman and sophomore boys as well as one for our high school girls.”

—Peter, Youth Pastor and Compass Nominator and Mentor

“Every participant that I have nominated to the Compass program has returned from the RMI experience and been more motivated to pursue a more intimate relationship with Jesus.  They have been both more willing and effective in serving in the church.   All but one have gone to Christian college.  This year’s participant returned far more focused on what area of ministry and study that he feels called to pursue.  The seminary teaching was very inspiring and rewarding for him.  He came back with a desire to one day go to seminary and continue the type of teaching and training he received during the RMI program.  I was able to have a detailed conversation with him about colleges and seminaries and his future educational and ministry path.  I credit the RMI experience for opening his heart and mind to new levels.”

—Andy, Youth Pastor and Compass Nominator and Mentor

“The most exciting thing for me to see was that the students from our church who did the RMI have taken steps to make their faith their own. As they have processed what God had done over that month, it was clear that they desired to now look to Him for guidance rather than me. How exciting. Instead of asking me what God might want them to do, they now come to me and share how they have been praying for guidance. I am hearing results of prayer, rather than requests for prayer.”

—Jason, Youth Pastor and Compass Nominator

“The Compass student I mentor has taken an active leading role in youth group. She really has it set upon her heart that missions, quite possibly heading out to Costa Rica, would be a great experience for the youth group. She is trying to lead the kids to dive into missions, and is currently trying to figure out if Costa Rica is the place to go or if they should do missions somewhere local. She is taking more of a leadership role at school and in her sports activities.”

—Stephanie, Compass Mentor

“I heard about the Compass program a week before the deadline to register and would've ignored it had my pastor not pushed the idea.  At the time I was more interested in pursuing sports broadcasting than full time ministry.  I filled out the application and started to pray, figuring that if I was accepted it was where the Lord wanted me.  The first week with Lavida was alright, the missions trip was fun, but the week of Bible studies with seminary professors was when I knew that God was calling me to ministry.  Being able to learn from highly educated men and ask them questions one on one was an amazing experience.  I am now a full time youth pastor and still remember the great opportunity I had in being a part of the inaugural Compass program.  Any kid who feels like the Lord might be calling them to ministry should take advantage of the Compass program, it helped me hear my calling.”

—James, Youth Pastor and former Compass student

"The next generation of Christian leaders is already in our churches! Many young people today are confused about their futures. They desperately need someone to come along side of them, recognize their potential, and encourage them toward a life of ministry—and that is what Compass is all about! Over the last five years Compass has helped a number of youth from our church discern their divine calling and has provided them with valuable theological training and practical ministry experience. All of our students who have participated in the Compass program are making a difference for Christ in their current communities.”

—Jason, Pastor and Compass Nominator and Mentor

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What Parents Say

“As parents we want to express our appreciation for having Josh attend Compass.  He has only been home [from the RMI] a few days and we can already see the impact this program has made on his life. What made Compass a unique consideration for us was the combination of team and character building, teaching, and missions experience.  There are many summer opportunities, but none that we know of brought all three of these together in a single program.  The team building and teaching in combination with the short term missions experience is especially close to our hearts.  During seminary, my wife and I participated in a similar program which set our course to serve in China and to have a lifelong interest in missions.  Of course, we were much older.  I believe the Compass program captures the purpose and excitement of God's adventure for all us at an earlier age, exactly when the world is pulling in the opposite direction. When Josh first told us about this opportunity and the breadth of its experiences, we thought it would be financially impossible for us to do. Yet, when we looked at the cost structure we were amazed to see it was within our means. We have come to realize that this was because of generous grants, that offset the real cost of the program for each student.”

—Dirk and Kris

“Compass has given Tyler a keen desire to follow after God.  It isn't that the desire wasn't  there before, but now the questions of a senior in high school have a different frame to them.  Before Compass Tyler had ideas and plans - maybe be a youth pastor, maybe go to Gordon College. Compass has given him a chance to ask the question, "What is God calling me to do for Him?" but with a deeper understanding of the answer  to that question. This summer gave him chance to experience a deep fellowship with others and experience the world of missions and seminary.  He has grown as a leader, as a believer and this experience has given him  chance to hear the call of God on his life.  God spoke to him deeply and powerfully and now we have the amazing opportunity to watch as he is mentored over the next few years to further clarify that call.  I can't tell you how grateful we are that Tyler had this opportunity.  Thank you to you and your staff and the Lilly Foundation for all God has given Tyler through you.  May you be blessed as you continue this ministry.”

—Diane and Kevin

“Christa says that Compass more than any other church based mission trip had the biggest impact on her life.”

—Peter


Share Your Testimony

Are you a compass student who would like to share your compass story?  Has your life been affected by a graduate from the Compass program?  We invite you to share your stories with us!  Please use the form below and submit it to us.  We'll review your testimony and post it as space allows.