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Marissa Renaldi - LOG #47

It's hard to believe that it wasn't yesterday that I was stepping into LOG for the first time. It was 2010 and the summer after my 8th grade year. I remember making sure to pack all of my best toe socks because I was told our shoes are collected at the door. Of course, my mom and I were running late so I was the last to arrive. I didn't experience the spirit team chanting and sprinting to my car, collecting my things and stealing me away from my mom. But that's okay, it probably would have made her question the decision to send me (haha, just kidding).  My mom (not wanting to give me away to random teenagers) walked in with me, made sure there was an adult present, and hugged me goodbye - I barely noticed her leaving because I was so consumed with excitement. I mean, they complimented my monkey toe socks so I knew this was going to be the best weekend ever. Little did I know, that weekend would turn out to be more than just endless hugs, the rush of new friendships and monkey toe socks. That weekend helped me find the peace I was longing for after losing a parent.  I had lost my dad just 3 years prior coming to LOG. I remember I had been living in a constant state of denial and never truly accepted it. There was a time during the peak of the LOG weekend where we took time to sit by ourselves and pray. I didn't like praying so (easily distracted) so I decided to write a letter about my dad and put words to paper exactly how I was feeling. While doing this, I became flooded with emotions that I had not yet felt. And I finally reached the final stage of grief.  Acceptance.  I remember weeping uncontrollably as my co-leaders embraced me, listened to me and prayed for me. They made me feel loved and comfortable enough to finally accept how I was feeling. I hadn't even shown that side of my pain to my own family. That is what LOG is to me. Family.  Yes, LOG is for strengthening your relationship with God and learning the values of servant leadership, but what I have gained most during my time was the feeling of family. And although he doesn't know, Terry has filled the void of "spiritual mentor" in my life - the role my dad once filled. And for that I am so grateful. I am so thankful for the support system I gained.  So, where am I now? I currently live in Indianapolis, IN with my fiancé, Andrew and adorable dog, Lucy. I am the Convention Marketing Coordinator for Visit Indy and never work a day in my life because I love what I'm doing! I volunteer as the Kitchen Coordinator for LOG for almost every season and it's been so amazing to see firsthand how much the organization has grown.  I formerly served as the Programs and Donor Relations Manager for a nonprofit in Indy. I've decided to put my fundraising experience to good use and am spearheading LOG's new campaign to raise $10,500 for the transition into our new home at Kern Road Mennonite Church. If you can't already tell, I see the value in LOG and want to do my part to ensure its success. With your help, we can secure LOG's new home!  Hope you'll join me! Marissa Renaldi Participant #47, Co-Leader #72


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