Mackenzie’s search for a community of friends who love Christian Science started in a trash can. Her mother, Aimee, had thrown away a DiscoveryBound Outreach flier inviting teens to a weekend event in Boston. “It looked interesting so I picked it up,” Mackenzie says. “I had asked her a few years earlier if she wanted to go to a Christian Science camp,” Aimee says, “but she absolutely did not want to go to a place where she knew no one.”
That changed when 15-year-old Mackenzie decided to fly to Boston for the weekend event. “I immediately made lifelong friends,” she recalls. “We did so many fun activities, such as visiting The Mother Church, taking a sunset harbor cruise and touring the city.
“I had never experienced the overflowing amount of love that everyone expressed,” she continues. “We were able to talk about a variety of things and how to apply Christian Science in our lives, and I found that so helpful. One of the highlights of the trip for me was the deep conversations that I had with my friends and travel group leaders [chaperones]. They were so heartfelt and gave me so much spiritual insight.”
These strong connections and insights led to a healing for Mackenzie and another teen on the trip while touring Mary Baker Eddy’s house at Chestnut Hill. Not feeling well, they sat together with two chaperones on the front porch and began reading the Christian Science Bible Lesson together. “I immediately turned to God and knew that I could only express good, joy and harmony on this trip,” Mackenzie says. “We kept going over how much God loved us and all of the blessings we had already experienced that weekend. We immediately started to feel better. I was so grateful – we both had a healing at Mrs. Eddy’s house!”
For Mackenzie, the impact of this community went even deeper than a physical healing. “I remember sitting in The Mother Church and tearing up because I felt the presence of divine Love all around me,” she says. “It was an indescribable feeling.”
Once she got home, Mackenzie says she couldn’t wait for the next DiscoveryBound Outreach trip. She attended the National Annual events in San Francisco in 2015 and, this year, in Washington, DC over Labor Day weekend. She also began attending a Christian Science camp and, last summer, worked as a counselor there.
“Coming from a church with only four Sunday School students, it could be hard sometimes, feeling like you were the only Christian Scientist your age in the community,” Mackenzie says. “In Boston, I had never been surrounded by so many Christian Scientists my age, and that was life-changing for me.”
The DB Outreach event in Washington, DC opened another door for Mackenzie: She joined the DB Compass group, a one-year program focused on spiritual exploration and connection with Christian Science peers. During the weekend, Mackenzie was one of four teens on the trip to join the group, which was having its first retreat.
“Even though we live across the country and even the world, I can always talk to my DB friends about anything and get spiritual insight for anything I’m dealing with,” she says. “I have always turned to God my entire life, but going to these DB events and camp has made me turn to God about absolutely everything in life, whether it be stress about school or the future. I couldn’t be more grateful.”
Two years later, Mackenzie still has the DB Boston flier hanging in her room with the statement from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (p. 66), “Each successive stage of experience unfolds new views of divine goodness and love.” She explains, “This quote has been proved year after year for me since Boston. Each time I go to a DB event or camp, goodness and love are unfolded. That quote will always mean something special to me.”
Now in her senior year in high school, Mackenzie is grateful she didn’t miss the opportunities of DiscoveryBound Outreach events designed for teens. “These past few years being involved with DB and now Compass have only brought blessings into my life and truly show God’s good plan for my life.”
Mackenzie’s brother, Jake, also went on the Washington, DC trip and started attending a Christian Science camp, which his mom, Aimee, says he loved. “It was that one mail flier sent to our home,” Aimee says, “that sparked off a set of many wonderful Christian Science youth group activities for our children!”
Programs: DiscoveryBound Outreach and Compass
School Year: High school senior
Interests: Varsity swim team, hanging out with friends; plans to double-major in marketing and interior design in college