My faith has already grown so much since being here. I have learned a lot about being in faith in a community, and also finding time for being alone in my faith
— Tina Hellem

On August 13th at 6:30 pm Tina stepped off a school bus onto Hillcrest drive in the shadow of the Hillcrest Castle. With one suitcase and one carry-on in hand she quickly walked into the school after an exhausting day of travel. The old wooden floors and aged walls of Hillcrest hold stories of almost 100 classes of students, and for Tina, Hillcrest Academy would be her home to build life-changing stories. She is spending her year across the Atlantic from her native country Norway, a whole day of travel away from her family. She is doing  this all in the pursuit of furthering her relationship with Christ.

Tina has been a Christian as long as she can remember. She was raised in  a Christian home, attending a church in Norway since she was pushed in a stroller. “I’m glad I grew up in Christian home. My faith has been a part of my whole life (and that’s really nice”)

Her faith came naturally to her, because it was all she knew. That was until someone who was very close to her family slandered their trust. “I struggled dealing with forgiveness. Trust didn’t come as easily for me after that happened”. After that happened she continued to struggle with forgiving this person who wronged her.

“My family prayed together and processed things together more. We really came together ”. She relied on her friends to encourage her and push her through forgiveness, and through it she grew in her faith.

One of her friends, Sarah Hellen, a norwegian who had gone to Hillcrest two years ago pushed Tina to attending Hillcrest. “She really stressed that Hillcrest was a great place to further your faith”. Through prayer she decided Hillcrest seemed like a good place for her.

“My faith has already grown so much since being here. I have learned a lot about being in faith in a community, and also finding time for being alone in my faith”

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