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NEW FRIENDS IN NEW PLACES

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

Seventh-grade year was an extremely difficult year for me. All my friends had decided that I was too weird and abandoned me. My best friend of six years, the first friend I made when I moved to Tennessee at the age of seven, was the first to leave me. I do not know why they all left me, but it probably had something to do with the new girl.


Her name was Mikayla and she came to our class a week after school started. She was different from everyone and, just like me, that earned her the title of “weird” and an outcast. Since she and I did not have anyone else, we decided to stick together and become friends. That was one of the best choices I made. Mikayla and I grew to become best friends that year and our friendship still carries on to this day.


Mikayla and I went to the Carolina camp meeting together that summer and spent every hour together. I do not remember much of the teen meetings that week, except for Friday night. God had plans for that evening.


The speaker talked about friendship and what he spoke struck home in my heart and Mikayla’s. She and I had both struggled greatly with friends that year and the sermon had us in tears at the end. As everyone was leaving, I noticed Mikayla was quiet and distant. I got this feeling, “Go to the pastor. Ask for prayer.”


I am not usually keen on walking up to adults I do not know well, but this feeling, this voice, it was persistent. Bringing Mikayla with me, I went up to the pastor, who agreed to pray for us. As

we were kneeling down, a girl ran over and asked if she could join us. We let her and the pastor and the girl prayed for Mikayla and me.


When it was over, the girl introduced herself to me. She and I swapped emails and kept in contact over the summer, eventually becoming a dear friend to me. Her name is Emmie Lee and she is still one of my closest friends, helping me out when life is rough.


God had plans for me that evening. If I had chosen to ignore the feeling, to just leave immediately with Mikayla, I never would have gotten the chance to meet Emmie and I would have missed out on an amazing friendship.


When God speaks to you, listen to Him. He has plans for you. When life seems rough and you feel alone, you will always find a friend in what seems to be the most random of times. And if you are still waiting, always remember that God is your friend and He will always listen to you.



By: Lauren Elliott ('23)

Greeneville, Tennessee

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