I am from (Oahu) Hawaii. I am here on exchange for nine months and recently joined CCM Griffith this past February. Studying abroad has been my dream for many years, and it still feels surreal to be living here. I chose to do this not only for the college experience and to live abroad, but to truly find myself again while strengthening my faith. For the past three years, I have been in a confusing place, constantly questioning myself. I believe part of the issue is not knowing who I truly am as an individual. That is why I needed to leave the comfort of home and put myself in a vulnerable position. This way, I will gain the growth, clarity, and peace my heart has desired for the past few years.

However, I almost withdrew from my plans because of my health. Last year I suffered from depression and anxiety. I completely lost sight of who I was and used school and work to distract me from the agony. In October, I was taken to the ER for a blood clot scare, and a few weeks later, I was involved in a car accident with my mom. About a week after the accident (during my finals week), my boyfriend and best friend of six years chose to give up on the relationship. I struggled to process everything that had happened, especially the breakup. I did not eat and sleep for the first four to five days, which resulted in an unhealthy weight loss. My skin became pale, and every part of my body ached.

This was when God came and saved me. It was the first time in a while that I felt His presence. He comforted me during the days I laid on the floor and cried, and throughout all the sleepless nights. I remember how He would make me sit for hours in front of the mirror, and I struggled to understand the reasoning behind it. Later I realized that as I looked at myself, I felt numb, empty, and confused. I invested myself entirely to pleasing others, whether if it was through school, work, and especially the relationship. I never prioritized myself, and that is what God taught me throughout the holiday season before I arrived here. For the majority of the holiday season, I isolated myself. I walked in God’s guidance and focused on healing and growing as an individual. Spending quality time with my close friends and family reminded me that God placed all these loving people in my life, and how powerful His love is. I was also reminded that I needed to truly live my life instead of going through the motions.

Over time, I noticed that He spoke to me through other people. He knew what I wanted to accomplish during my time here in Brisbane, but also knew I needed to find a safe community. This was where He brought Campus Christian Movement (CCM) into my life. About two weeks after I moved into the dorms, I decided to attend Market Day. Market Day is an event that allows Griffith students to join clubs. I walked around a few times but did not see anything that interested me, nor was I approached by any of the club representatives. As I was about to head back to my room, I felt the need to walk around the event one more time, and I am grateful I did. Two of the CCM members approached me, and one of them (Grace) was the current club president. They were both friendly and even offered me a bag of homemade cookies, but I knew this was God’s plan for me. Plus, it was no coincidence that the church I attended as a child was Grace Christian Community Church. I followed them to the booth, and from then on, I have been attending life group as well as church every week. It has been so wonderful to have a community, especially during this time. I cannot wait to continue to bond and grow with my CCM family. I will be forever grateful for this amazing blessing from God.

Dori Nakayama
Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Writing