Creativity & Connection: The Story of Two Students at Reclaim Today Writing Workshop

Highlands College students Emily Kate Sansom and Emily Hernandez were selected to attend the annual Reclaim Today Writing & Design Workshop hosted by the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) in Orlando, Florida, in February 2024.

The mission of Reclaim Today is not only that young people would “creatively explore how they connect with God in the ordinary, extraordinary, everyday moments of life” but ultimately discover the “true life and purpose that is found in Jesus.” Reclaim Today hosts a Writing & Design Workshop, allowing each participant to grow in personal and professional development in the areas of Writing and Design while practically applying their faith to their colleges, career goals, and everyday life. Thirty selected students from across the country have the privilege to attend. Highlands College students Emily and Emily Kate were selected from over one hundred applicants based on their creative writing submissions.

At Highlands College, we believe that writing is an essential skill that all students should have the opportunity to develop. Our academic staff, instructors, and professors are eager to encourage, develop, and teach students essential writing and communication skills. Each year, students have the opportunity to participate in writing workshops such as the Write Well Workshop which allows students to grow in knowledge of their skills. Students also have the opportunity to visit the Writing Center each week for one-on-one development. These opportunities benefit students’ academic writing, especially for unique pieces such as the ones submitted by Emily and Emily Kate for Reclaim Today.

At Reclaim Today’s Writing & Design Workshop, students were assigned various exercises and prompts throughout the week to promote creativity in their writing and drawing. Students had the opportunity to collaborate with their peers from all over the world and create 2-3 pieces of writing or digital design.

Emily Kate’s project, based on Deuteronomy 31:8, discusses the hardships of trying to navigate life without having all of the answers. She highlights and reminds the reader of the promises of God and that He will take care of them.

Written by Emily Kate Sansom, a Sophomore in the Student Ministry Major

The Unknown

Trying to figure out life is exhausting. From sleepless nights, to anxious feelings, it can be overwhelming. Do you relate? Not knowing what college you’re going to, what job you’ll have after college, and thoughts of a future marriage or a family might have crossed your mind. For others, you might be wondering, “How am I going to complete this school assignment, or how am I going to pay this bill?

Maybe you’ve been praying, and you feel like nothing’s changed, or maybe you’ve confided in others, hoping that they’d provide wisdom, but you leave the conversation feeling more confused than you were before. You feel like you’re doing the “right things,” but life feels as if it is falling apart.

Thankfully, we can give our worries to God. We don’t have to be afraid of what’s next because God knows. Like a snow plow clears a path where there was none before, the traffic coming behind it ultimately has to trust that the plow has already gone ahead and made a way. Knowing He goes ahead of us, we can put our trust in Him, and be reminded that He will take care of us. But first, he calls us to faith. You have an opportunity right now to take a step of faith by praying this prayer with me.

A Prayer for the Unknown

Mighty God, I give every care and worry to you. I receive your peace and repent for when I’ve not trusted you. Instead of fear, give me faith, and instead of discouragement, give me your encouragement. I trust you to open the doors in my life, and I will stop trying to open them on my own. Your way is better. Thank you for going before me in all things. Amen.

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

– Deuteronomy 31:8 (NLT)

Once students completed their projects for the week, they had the opportunity to attend the ABHE celebration banquet. During the banquet, Emily Hernandez was chosen to represent the writers by sharing her prayer piece with the attendees. Here is what she had to say about her experience:

“Getting the opportunity to share a word that the Lord had written on my heart to a group of such high-level leaders is something I will never forget. It was such an honor and a privilege to be selected to speak on behalf of such talented and creative writers.”

– Emily Hernandez, Freshman in the Worship Ministry Major

Emily’s project touches on the pain and disappointment of when life doesn’t go the way you planned. She turns to scripture to encourage the readers of God’s goodness.

Written by Emily Hernandez, a Freshman in the Worship Ministry Major

Failed Expectation

You waited. You prayed. You believed. It happened. Wait… It didn’t happen.

It Didn’t Happen.

How in the world did it not happen? You did everything right, didn’t you? Of course you did. So why? Why didn’t it go the way it was supposed to go?

We’ve all had this heart-wrenching feeling at some point in our lives. Sometimes, we do everything humanly possible, but for whatever reason, God just doesn’t come through the way we thought He would. Maybe that’s it, though, He doesn’t come through the way WE thought he would.

God sure has a funny way of doing things. His ways can seem completely reversed from our own. We must remember that while we don’t always understand or see what He’s doing, He is working on our behalf.

This is where faith comes in. Just because you haven’t seen it yet does not mean that our God is not good, or that He isn’t still the same God. God’s character hasn’t changed and never will. He is still a faithful Father. It is up to us to remind ourselves of this, that is the very core of faith.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV).

A Prayer For Failed Expectation:

Lord of all, Mighty One, Father, my heart is troubled. I don’t see why You have not allowed this to happen, I’m not sure of what you are doing. But what I am sure of is You. You’ve never failed me, and I know You never will. You are my hope. You are my salvation. I know who You are. I have confidence in you.

Lord, I have no idea what you are doing, but I trust you. Amen.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

– Jeremiah 29:11

“It was such an honor and privilege to be a part of the Reclaim Today workshop. While it was an incredible week of learning, growing, and developing our creative skills, it was also full of rest, relationships, and opportunities to experience the presence of God in a new way. I walked away, empowered, and excited for the future. Though the workshop was only three days, the new knowledge, memories, and friendships will mark me forever. It was incredible to be in a space with people from all over the country (and Canada!) Though our everyday lives look different, we were all united over one thing: to fulfill the great Commission.”

– Emily Kate Sansom, Sophomore in the Student Ministry Major

“The Reclaim Today workshop marked my life in ways I didn’t think were possible. The writing, marketing, and communication tools that I was able to inherit from the Reclaim Today staff are priceless. I can confidently say that I left the workshop both refreshed and equipped.”

– Emily Hernandez, Freshman in the Worship Ministry Major

We could not be more proud of these students for honoring the call of God in their lives and being lifelong learners as they grow in their gifts of writing and creativity. We know that as they continue their Highlands College journey, they will continue to strengthen the talents the Lord has supplied them with, and God will be magnified in all they do!

Here at Highlands College, we value the opportunity for students to experience a wide range of hands-on training. We believe real-world experience prepares our students effectively for wherever the Lord places them, from the church to the marketplace. To learn more, visit