A 14-year-old girl, Nele*, decided to face up to her fear of darkness by requesting her parents to bring her to the OM Riverboat again, after she had a panic attack the first time she went through The Agency experience.
Nele was standing alone in the Riverboat café when community member, Gill Trainor (U.K.), spotted her and approached her to see if she needed help. It turned out that Nele had come with her school group a few days ago to experience The Agency but couldn’t complete it due to her fear of darkness. Her teacher had to remove her from the escape room halfway through the experience. Another community member, Esther Becker (Germany), had met Nele then and saw her disappointment. She encouraged and invited Nele to come back to the Riverboat and try again.
“I’m scared, but I really want to challenge myself again and overcome my fear,” Nele told Gill resolutely. Nele later shared that she has a frightful feeling of someone about to kill her when she’s in the dark.
It was a busy Sunday and The Agency was fully booked for groups coming in. An excellent idea came to Gill and she decided to check if it would be possible for Nele to only go through the trust tunnel when it was empty between groups. Backstage manager, Ciara Hakkola (Canada) supported the idea at once and made the necessary arrangements to bring Nele in during a free slot.
In the tunnel, Nele clutched the bar tightly and managed to come through it all by herself while Gill waited for her at the end. “I’m so proud of myself that I did it!” she said, elated. Gill then walked her through a series of posters that participants get to read after the trust tunnel. The last poster said, “El – Light of the darkness”. (El is an alias name referring to Jesus Christ in The Agency). “Just remember that God is with you in the darkness,” said Gill to Nele, who is the only Christian in her family. “Yes, I remember, I will hold on to Him like I held onto the bar,” Nele replied. “Now I know that God is with me in the darkness, I don’t have to fear!”
Gill and Esther applauded Nele for her bravery to return to the Riverboat alone, determined to overcome her fear. Nele has not only succeeded in facing darkness, she has discovered the Light to lead her through.
* surname not mentioned for security reasons