Learning to Listen and Respond: Ronny Hart's Six8 Story

I was compelled to sign up for Six8 because I knew, before even signing up, that it was different from other youth retreats. I knew this one would be full of open discussions and, most importantly, time to think. Six8 helped me understand the balance between spreading the good news and Christian teachings as well as meeting people’s needs. The two are not mutually exclusive; they coexist purposefully and intentionally.

Six8 has impacted how I view discussions with others. I’ve learned, for example, that conversations were a means to defend your position or point. Since attending Six8 I unlearned those previous ideas. I reshaped my ideas of what a conversation is and practiced what a conversation looks like. I’ve taken this back home with me and started to enjoy listening to others and their points of view even if I disagree. Sometimes, it’s hard to do that, but the result is always worth it –– I gain friends with different experiences and I become a more empathetic person to my neighbors.

I also learned how to embrace all viewpoints and ideas as valid. No longer do I listen to someone with the intent to change their mind, but I listen with the intent to learn how to love them better. 

Six8 taught me to see the beauty in the world, not as a whole but in each individual person. Each of us have intrinsic worth and despite the hardships that our brothers and sisters might face in places like Venezuela or Syria that cause the world to appear less beautiful. We, as individuals, bring that beauty back through our differences and unique features tailored to us by God. Similarly, Six8 has empowered me as a person of color and taught me that there are people out there who are also trying to take up their cross and fight for the underprivileged, underserved, and under appreciated. 

Six8 provided me with lifelong mentors and friends that I can call and come to for help when I’m in need. There are many times this semester and last semester that I’ve sought advice and guidance from adults on the Six8 team. They, along with all my Six8 friends, helped me through freshman year of college, showing me the importance of having good people in my life. I no longer view life as me against the world, but I view life as me with the world. That is a unique perspective that is so often taught in the Bible, but it isn’t until we practice communal living that we understand the importance of that. 

I’d wholeheartedly say that attending Six8 prepared me for the full Trevecca experience of theological conversations and how the Christian values and ethics we have affect our neighbors. Six8 helped me to decide what major I wanted in college and specified the life path that I want to take. This year has been amazing and impactful in so many ways and I’d wholeheartedly say that attending Six8 prepared me for what God had for me this year. 

Alyssa Landreth