Morgan Smith, Faith Editor
When she arrived at the convention, Hollingshead discovered that she was the only Christian in attendance. The convention gave her the opportunity to witness to non-believers from across the country.
“What the Newman Civic Fellows Convention is, is a national community service award for those that have been impactful within their community or in their society, both stateside and internationally,” Hollingshead said. “Mine was a combination of internationally and stateside as well.”
Hollingshead is a nursing major from Denton, Texas.
She said that she has always had a heart for helping other people.
“I want to make an impact in the community and pretty much anyone I come into contact with,” she said.
Hollingshead has worked to help liberate women from sex trafficking, and has done volunteer work with various homeless shelters.
“I did a mission trip in Georgia where I helped a lot with that, and this past summer I spent some time in Indonesia, serving in a medical hospital,” she said.
She said that while she thought the convention was a positive experience, it was not what she initially expected it to be.
“I was expecting the community service side, kind of connecting and establishing connections across the United States, and there was a little bit of that, but it was so much more political than I was expecting,” Hollingshead said.
Being the only Christian there, Hollingshead said that at first, speaking up about her differing beliefs was intimidating.
“Once I did they were able to explore my views a little bit differently while I was able to listen to theirs as well,” Hollingshead said. “Even though no one agreed with me the seed was still planted, and I think that’s what makes the difference.”
She said part of opening her discussion with the other convention goers was being open about her faith.
“It was still really cool, being able to communicate through the differences,” Hollingshead said.
“I think being in a culture like OBU is so wonderful and so nice, to be surrounded by fellow believers who encourage you in your walk. I haven’t really had to be outside of that, so just learning, for me, how to be a light without coming across as judgmental.”
She said she would advise others to put themselves in challenging situations in order to better share the Christian faith.
“We have such an opportunity to grow in Christ and to grow as individuals here at OBU,” Hollingshead said.
“I think that can be definitely abused, because it’s a way to be so comfortable and you don’t get out and do hard things, so definitely utilize this culture to grow as a Christian, to grow in Christ, so that when you find yourself, or when you put yourself, in these difficult situations you can stand firm.”
Hollingshead said that she ultimately left the convention with more friends than when she arrived.
Even if I didn’t lead them to Christ, someone along the way can,” she said. “And who knows? Maybe what I said stuck with them, and they’re still thinking about it.”