Reflections: Robert & Anna Howell

There are a lot of exciting developments happening at The Summit! In anticipation of our upcoming Celebration Sunday (Feb. 8, 5:15pm), as well as us planting our AM Congregation beginning February 15, we asked some of our members to share their experiences of what it's looked like to be part of the Summit family.

In 2010 God opened a door for Anna and I to move to Denver so that I could attend Denver Seminary and we could start to figure out married life. We married in March and moved to Denver just before Thanksgiving. So, life seemed a bit crazy after only a few months of marriage, a new place to call home, and a new church to be a part of. It seemed bizarre walking into the Barleys' living room that first week to a bunch of new faces. If I remember correctly, I think we were the only people that were not part of the group that moved from North Carolina. But even though we were outsiders, we were treated as family.

Summit has always been a unique experience for us because we have not lived in downtown Denver. It is our hope that we can move there in the near future, but we have always lived in the nether-regions (aka suburbs) and been geographically disconnected from our church. While this has been a struggle at times, we've never been treated like outsiders. We have been loved and shepherded well. It's truly been amazing to see our church grow from about 10 people to the number it is today. We've been a part of three city groups with the privilege of leading one of those. City Group has always been one of our favorite parts of Summit for its time of intentional discipleship and community. Hearing others share their struggles and walking through life together has been used by Jesus to grow and preserve our marriage as much as anything.

On December 21, 2012 we found out that our baby boy Luke had passed on to eternity and that we would be spending the weekend in the hospital. Anna was 24 weeks pregnant and everything had been great up until the last few days of Luke's life. The first people to see us after the delivery were Bryan and Megan Barley. They showed up to the hospital, already with tears in their eyes. I remember thinking "Why are they crying for us? Do we really mean that much to them?" Justin and Vanessa Almas also visited us and before it was all said and done, all the pastors and wives on staff had either visited us in the hospital or brought us meals in the following days. When the word family is discussed at Summit, it's not used as some aphorism to try and make everyone feel good. It's the way people actually live their lives at Summit. We are a family and families come cry with us in our darkest hours.

Jesus blessed us with another baby boy on July 1, 2014. We named him Ezekiel (Zeke), which means "God will strengthen." Our dear friends supported us every step of the pregnancy and prayed for us continuously. They also blessed us with many meals after his birth. We are truly blessed and grateful to be able to raise our son with the support of our family at Summit.