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Man, my SLB story.

I was a sophomore having just attended my second College Conference East. OCF had been a major part of my college experience up to that point–through my chapter, College Conference, and Real Break. I left CC East fulfilled and spiritually rejuvenated for the new year, having also made so many new friends from around the US and Canada, across jurisdictions.

I knew that College Conference was a program I loved, and as the Student Leadership Board applications came out, I began to see myself standing up on the stage making announcements about what was going to happen next, planning out different speakers to attend, creating a schedule.

So I applied.

I went through the interview process and finally in April I got a phone call telling me I had been selected to be the College Conference East 2016 Student Leader! Excitement and anxiety immediately came to my mind. I was excited for the opportunity to make important decisions and be the leader of an event which I believe is OCF at its best, but I was also anxious about the immense responsibility before me.

We began work right away in April and we worked throughout the summer, spending hours in conference calls trying to come to a consensus on workshop speakers and topics, recruiting for the CC East Leadership Team. Finally, in August came the Summer Leadership Institute where the Student Leadership Board spent time together in sessions with various speakers on important topics, and in fellowship developing friendships. SLI was a pivotal turning point for my experience on the SLB because I discovered a support system which assuaged the anxiety I had been experiencing over my position.

The SLB has provided me with a friend group that I couldn’t have imagined my junior year of college without. These are my fellow students who care deeply for this ministry and the spiritual lives of all college students. Growing up primarily involved with the Antiochian Church and her ministries, OCF has provided the opportunity to encounter and develop friendships with Orthodox Christians of other jurisdictions, both on the chapter level and on the national level. These are friendships which have been a source of great joy and comfort when trying to balance academic requirements with the work required to plan a conference, and I am so grateful to this group of people.

To every college student reading this, I task you to take a moment and consider applying to the SLB. Try, as I did, to envision yourself doing this work for the glory of God. If you can see yourself being a part of this great ministry on a leadership level, please apply for the SLB, and if you are accepted, I can guarantee you will experience a year of service to the Body of Christ which will transform your heart and give you lifelong friendships.

Mark Sultani is a junior at the University of Michigan — Ann Arbor studying Computer Science. He’s the President of his OCF chapter and served on the SLB as the College Conference East 2016 Student Leader. Some of Mark’s favorite activities include Arabic dancing, procrastinating, and laughing unnecessarily hard at marginally funny things.

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