“Why do bad things happen?”
“If doctors work, why don’t we use them?”
These were questions Kaitlyn, a lifelong Sunday School student, was asking last summer. The high school junior had reached a level of total disinterest in Christian Science and didn’t want to go to church any more.
Her mom, Stacey, who had attended Family Camp at the A/U Ranches as a child and knew about DiscoveryBound (DB), wanted Kaitlyn and her younger sister to experience the CS community as teenagers, so she encouraged them to sign up for the DB Outreach National Annual event in San Diego, CA over Labor Day weekend. “It came up at the exact right moment,” Stacey says.
“The weekend looked like tons of fun – the beach, the aquarium, sea lions, amazing lectures,” Kaitlyn adds. “Little did I know what I would get out of this life-changing experience.”
Although it was her first DB Outreach weekend and she knew only a few people on the trip, Kaitlyn felt instantly welcomed by the group. “You could feel the love and good vibes just radiating from everyone the second you walked in,” she recalls.
That feeling of community bloomed into a full sense of belonging when, during the weekend, she learned about DB’s one-year Compass program for 10th- to 12th-graders. “The second we got home, I practically ran inside to register,” Kaitlyn says. “I truly believe it was God saying ‘Go! Do this! You belong here!’
“That weekend, I was the happiest I had been in a long time,” she continues. “It was smiles and laughs for 72 straight hours. It was the first time I had been aware of God’s presence and how He can make you feel – like you’re flying while keeping you so grounded.”
Stacey says her older daughter had wanted to participate in a youth group for students of Christian Science since hearing about DiscoveryBound’s four-year National Leadership Council (NLC) program, but they couldn’t figure out how NLC would fit into her schedule. Plus, she adds, “She had been really grappling with how Christian Science connects to her life. The weekend turned out to be the beacon of light Kaitlyn needed to find her way. She was so excited about Compass that we had to make it work.”
Between San Diego and the second Compass retreat in January in Colorado, Kaitlyn continued to sort through her questions about Christian Science. She wanted a career helping people, like a therapist, but felt it conflicted with Christian Science. Her commitment to Compass kept her practicing CS, although she resolved to stop when she turned 18 to study psychology.
As the second retreat approached, Kaitlyn says, “I was absolutely exploding with questions. I knew they’d be answered but I just didn’t know how.”
The weekend kicked off with a talk by the event’s CS practitioner, Kathleen Moyer, and Kaitlyn says, “I was shocked to see that 11 other teenagers had the exact same questions that I did!” The Q&A went on for more than two hours. The same thing happened the next night.
Then, the following afternoon, everything changed. “I got this very apparent angel message that I am meant to be a practitioner,” she says. She told Kathleen, who shared that, growing up, she loved helping people and, through a series of angel messages and life events, felt clearly led to a career as a Christian Science practitioner. “It just clicked,” Kaitlyn says. “The birds started singing, the rainbow shot across the sky, fish jumped in the pond, and flowers bloomed like it was finally summer after a freezing winter.
“Earlier in the week, we talked about that ‘gut feeling’ and how that is God communicating with you,” Kaitlyn continues. “Every time I think about being a practitioner, I get that feeling. I just know it’s what I’m meant to do.”
“Each step of the way has been divinely guided, from finding time in her schedule to financial needs met,” Stacey says. “Everything about this opportunity has brought light into her experience. She loves to talk about the topics of the monthly chats, and often we continue working together on the topics throughout the month. Her opportunity to be a part of the Compass group has been a wonderful experience and truly a very clear answer to prayer.”
Programs: DiscoveryBound Outreach and Compass
School Year: Junior
Interests: Musical theater, singing, writing, watching movies