As I reflect on the past year and digest what God did in my life -- one of the most defining, life-changing, path re-routing events was when I attended UpClose. A little background information on me: my time in Kalamazoo began 2 years ago when I moved here to attend Western Michigan University. The first 2 years were rocky, as I grew in my relationship with the Lord, but also tried to stay away from the worldly college experience. The whole time I deeply desired something more. More growth, more teaching, more community, more of Jesus. The Lord had made it really clear to me that He needed me in Kalamazoo, and that He saw my desires. So I stayed and waited.

Who knew that what I was waiting for was EPIC Commission. And all that needed to happen for me to get there was an invitation from a friend to go to UpClose. I’ll admit, it took that same friend a lot of convincing and coaxing to get me to finally sign up, and reluctantly I went to UpClose. During the short 2 days my heart that had been hardened toward EC, was slowly being softened and by the end of the weekend I knew that I was going to do EPIC Commission. I went home to my apartment that night and applied right away.

Now that I’m halfway through my first year of EC I know why God needed me to stay in Kalamazoo and I’m so thankful that in being obedient to attend UpClose it led me to join EPIC Commission. The life I live now, compared to a year ago is completely different - because I started to let the Lord shape it. Below are 8 reasons why I think that you should come to UpClose, 8 reasons that coincidently applied to where I was when I attended last year.

  1. God will meet you there, wherever you are at

  2. You will meet people who are in the same season of life as you, who want to chase Jesus as much as you do

  3. If you feel like you are experiencing a dry season, this is the perfect weekend to dive back in

  4. Regardless of if you want to do EPIC Commission or not -- it will be a great weekend full of Jesus

  5. You will be in a community of people who care deeply about you, want to see you live as Jesus lived and who will come beside you in it

  6. We will laugh really hard and have tons of fun

  7. You get a sweet beanie {just for coming}

  8. I will give you a death-gripping hug {for real}

So whether or not you’ve come to 6 UpClose’s in the past, OR you have never heard of EPIC Commission or attended Valley Family Church -- you are invited. God is faithful to do big things and I believe He will. I want to personally invite you to attend a weekend that could very much change you life.  My “8 Reasons Why” may not have affected you at all - but I promise you that a weekend with this gang will. Can’t wait to see you next weekend!

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

Madeline Murphy

1st Year EPIC Commission Student