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Blog: Harlee Sims Senior Spotlight

Harlee Sims is one of our bright-eyed seniors this year at Olive Plants. For most people, high school is the time you use to discover who you are, and something especially admirable about Harlee would be instead of finding who she is as a person, she’s finding who she is in Christ. Learning not to ”sweat the small stuff” and realizing the ”big picture of life” took a while, but was worth it. Harlee is definitely a people person and loves relationships, in fact, that was one of her favorite things about homeschooling and has pointed her towards her future.

Ever since she was a little girl Harlee wanted to be a teacher (except for the fashion designer phase). God gives everyone a gift. In Harlee’s case she is outgoing and relationship-driven, so naturally, God would call her to be around and help people. Harlee feels that God has called her to be a teacher, which became clear her eleventh-grade year. Her plan so far is to be a high school English teacher but she is open to whatever else God whispers in her ear.

“Harlee had gone to impact 360 to Immersion camp this past summer,” said her mom, Christy Sims “and it totally gave her a new perspective. The day she came home we spent all day talking about the things that she had learned, how her heart had been renewed and how she was starting to see what God needed from her in her future. Immersion was the turning point in her relationship with Jesus.”

Located in Pine Mountain, Georgia, Impact 360 Institute has been cultivating leaders who follow Jesus since 2006. Through biblical worldview education, community-based discipleship, leadership coaching, vocational mentoring, and missional opportunities, students are equipped to live as change-agents in the world. Impact 360 Institute serves High School graduates through their 9-month Impact 360 Fellows experience, teenagers for one and two weeks through Propel and Immersion, and young professionals pursuing a graduate degree through Impact 360 Masters. The Impact 360 Institute is a wonderful place for teenagers and young adults to learn more about God and grow in their relationship with Him before they enter their adulthood

One Sunday after her time at Impact 360 at Rocky Mountain Baptist Church, Harlee shared her experiences and lessons which her summer of Immersion provided.

“It literally changed my life,” she started out saying.

To prove her phrase, Harlee described a few stories to the audience. For instance, the campus traveled to Georgia Tech where everyone paired off. Each group would go up to different people, asking questions; such as “who do you think God is, do you believe there’s a God, what do you believe is the meaning of life if there is a God?” As a result of this, Harlee and her partner ended up praying with and for one man, holding hands in the middle of the college campus as people strolled by.

“That was one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” she later pronounced.

One of the most emotional experiences took place on the last day of her two-week program. During a goodbye party, Harlee and a small group of friends stepped outside to pray in a circle.

“We all grabbed hands and started praying out loud…. And when I opened my eyes, the people from inside at the party had come out and laid their hands on us.”

What started out as six people turned into a prayer circle composed of the whole campus.

Harlee Sims is an exceptional teenager who goes above her normal teenage duties to reach people for Christ. She has a true heart of gold that is in love with who God is and what he is doing in our world. Her love for God has changed her life and her vision for the future.

Her mom, Christy, tells a story about the Sunday after Harlee came home from Impact that confirms this fact. "The Sunday morning after [she] got home she was teary. During Sunday school she was emotional. I watched her as she sang in the choir and I could see emotions flashing across her face. I could tell she was having a hard time and by the meet and greet time she had disappeared. I found her in the bathroom sobbing her heart out. She had finally been hit with the full realization of the thing God had burdened her with. She was telling me about all of the hurting people that she met. Who was going to help them? Who would help them heal? Who would tell them about Jesus? She was in actual physical pain in her chest from the hurt she felt for these people."

Most teenagers have a plan after high school, but it may not be what God has in store. Like Harlee, her vision for the future did a 180 as her original plans included attending Toccoa Falls College immediately after graduation. God has drastically changed her life in a new way, and took her down a path she was not expecting. She will now be attending the 9-month fellow's program through Impact 360 in lieu of attending college her first year.  Harlee is and always will be a great role model for the young and the old alike. She is living for Christ on a whole new level and is supported by all her family and friends.

Mark 16:15 He said to them “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

“When I was asked to give a special memory I instantly had a flash of a little girl in princess dresses, plastic high heels, tea parties. A little girl who liked to pretend to be a newscaster. I saw a ballerina, a soccer player. I saw my little girl in her t-ball uniform, in her solo dress or Irish dancing down the grocery store aisles. I saw my little girl bow in her head and accept Jesus as her savior in my car at the age of four. Harlee has been my world, my game changer and she's been my very best friend from day one.” says Christy Sims, Harlee’s mom.

“My advice for my daughter is to keep her heart soft and open to the things that she will be led to do in life. That she will count on God to provide for her and equip her for whatever He calls her to do.  When she takes off on her adventures I will miss my best friend. It's going to be incredibly hard to not see her anytime I want to.”

“I had Harlee as a student in journalism last school year.” Replied Olive Plants tutor, Cassi Wisener. “I love that she lives out Acts 28:31 in her life ‘proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ- with all boldness and without hindrance!’ ”

Christy Holloway who has been a close family friend for a number of years says “I’ve never seen her without a smile on her face. She makes everyone feel like they are important”

Harlee’s relationship with God is something to be admired; the words she says, the things she does are for His glory and He is the center of her world, so whatever Harlee does next is going to be incredible.