A Final Goodbye

07 August 2012

So the Summer Mission/Intern Team left this past weekend.
It was one of those weekends that i'll remember for the great memories made, but even more so for the goodbyes that were said (although somewhat reluctantly).
I managed to keep myself in check, but i'm sure it'll all hit me sometime this week.
I think knowing that there is a really good chance that we'll all see each other again made it easier.
However, I felt that I needed to say a few things to all of the guys.
I just couldn't bring myself to say it to them, mainly because I knew I didn't know what to say let alone if I would be able to hold it together while doing so.
So that is what this post is going to be.
My chance to share some things that the guys have taught me, how they've changed me, how God has blessed me through them, and how thankful I am to have met them.
I'll try to keep it short, sweet and to the point, but if I get to rambling please forgive me.

At the beginning of May when my summer began I didn't have a clue what was in store for me.
I didn't know what work would necessarily entail.
I didn't know what would happen in regards to church.
I didn't know that I would make any friends.
I didn't know what would happen.
I didn't know that God was going to bless me in more ways than I ever could have possibly imagined!!
The summer didn't start out so great due to a very negative roommate experience, but thankfully I got through it all with the help of friends and a load of patience from God.
I ended up with an apartment to myself after Block 1 and I was helping at church.
Yet I was still feeling disconnected from everything.
I was just going through the motions of work and going to church.
Then I found out that the mission team was coming for the summer.
I was excited about the possibility of having some fellow college students around.
Little did I know, but they were going to become a very big part of my life this summer.

I first found out that Malik and Andy were apart of the team, which was awesome.
It was good to have a couple people from school that I actually knew around for the summer.
I very quickly met and got to know the rest of the mission team.
The same day I met them we had our first college get together at the church office.
From that night on I became the +1 on the mission team and I spent a lot of my time outside of work with the guys.
In the next two months we made a lot of memories, had a lot of laughs, and spent a lot of time getting to know each other as we did things for the church.
I could tell you some of them, but I don't know that they would be as funny and make as good of a story as I think they would.
(If you would like to hear some details about the summer and what we did feel free to comment on here or message me in some way!! I'd love to share it with you!)

These past two months have presented many of awesome times, as well as some moments where I was challenged in my ways of doing things.
For the first time I was spending time with a group of guys who were chivalrous.
(This day and age it is very hard to come by, so I was kinda surprised I must admit.)
As I shared in an earlier post, the guys made no hesitation to give me shotgun in vehicles, hold doors, make sure I got served first at meals, and so on.
It took me a little while to get used to it all and I gave them a hard time about it for the first couple of weeks.
And then one night after they dropped me off I got to thinking about everything and realized that I was treating the situation all wrong.
I shouldn't have been giving them a hard time about it, but rather as a woman of God I was supposed to be encouraging them and supporting them as they were doing something that is not at all common in our world or culture these days.
By giving them a hard time I wasn't encouraging them and helping them as they are trying to become the Godly men that they are to be.
I was slacking on my job.
I didn't mean to be and it was only because I hadn't been exposed to it, but I very quickly realized that they needed the encouragement and as I was doing so it was helping me to become the Godly woman that I am to be, the Proverbs 31 woman that I desire to be.
I now have a new appreciation for the guys and their consistency in the chivalry department.
I learned a lesson through it all this summer and I couldn't be more thankful.
(Although I may be slightly spoiled now...lol. But appreciative none the less.)

Then there is the fact that I got to see them all interact with each other and see changes happen for all of them throughout the summer.
They may not have been hugely noticeable to others, but I noticed.
I don't necessarily know how to explain the changes that I saw, but I have no doubt that it was God working in their lives through their experiences with Journey, NAMB, and each other.
I saw them all get put into situations that they weren't the most comfortable with.
And in some cases they were just straight up uncomfortable.
They were pushed outside of their boxes, outside of their comfort zones.
But they all made an effort and stuck it out even if it might have been easier to let someone else do whatever it may have been.
They could have stepped back and said no.
They could have refused to do whatever they were supposed to be doing.
But I didn't see a one of them give up or take the easy way out.
It may have taken a lot of perseverance, encouragement, and a lot of faith in God, but they all did some amazing things in the midst of uncomfortable circumstances.
I commend them on their ability to step out in faith and take on whatever challenges that were put in front of them throughout this summer.
Whether it was doing bucket drumline, having tough conversations with people about faith, dealing with city officials, or figuring out how to react to stories/information about fellow college students.
The guys handled it all extremely well and it seemed that they all learned from the various situations and took something from them and grew from those experiences.
It was amazing to see God work through them.

I'm going to make this one of the last things, but it's the one that definitely touched me the most during their time here in Bourbonnais and at Journey.
I don't think that I have spent so much time with a group of young men who have such a desire to do what God wants them to and to share His word and His love with everyone they can.
It means a lot to see a group of guys, or even just one guy, be so willing to serve.
It was also encouraging to see watch them all when they were up singing or playing an instrument, or even watching them during worship at the beginning of service.
Watching them get so into the music and into worship is encouraging and a blessing.
It is rare to see a guy (let alone guys) get so into worship.
And I don't want this next thing to sound creeperish in any way, but I got a chance to watch all of the guys interact with children throughout the past couple months.
I have to say that it is awesome to me to see guys be so good with kids of varying ages.
Being someone who loves kids and cares about them immensely, it is always a huge blessing to see guys who are good with kids and enjoying spending time interacting with them.
And all of the guys were great with the kids at church, kids we met at block parties, and other kids that I only got to hear stories about.
It is such an encouragement to me to see that there are guys out there who know how to treat kids right and are so good with them!!
Overall I just feel extremely, extremely blessed to have been able to spend this summer getting to know this group of guys!

I wish I could put into words everything that is going through my mind right now, but I know there is no way that I can do so.
I just wanted to share a little about how blessed I have been this summer.
Had someone told me at the beginning of May that I would be trying to figure out a way to adequately say thank you to this group of guys for everything that taught me this summer and all the ways the have blessed my life...I would have told ya that ya were crazy!
And now i'm sitting here doing just that.
I don't know if I am even doing a good job of doing so, but I needed to do so.
I can't even put into words how blessed I have been by this great group of guys.
I feel like God knew that I needed these lessons this summer and my staying here and getting to know the guys was the best way for me to do so.
The way that God has worked in me this summer through the guys has been phenomenal.
God definitely knew what He was doing this summer, even if I didn't.

To the guys:
Thank you all so much for being such positive influences in my life this summer!
I couldn't have asked for a better group of Godly men to spend the last couple of months with.
It has been awesome to see all the ways that you guys have made impact in the lives of those at Journey, as well as the lives of many, many people in the community!
You have all been such a blessing!!
I hope that we will all stay in touch and hopefully be able to see each other again.
There have been rumors about a road trip at the end of this fall semester and i'm sure we will get a chance to see each other at various other times in the future.
I will be praying for you all as a new school year starts for almost all of you and wedding plans and job search kick into high gear for one of you.
I will be praying that God will bless you all immensely in the coming months.
I have no doubt that God has huge plans for all of you.
It'll be awesome to see how He does so!

Now that I have written one of the longest posts on here, I will call it good at this.
God has blessed me in more ways than I could have imagined!!
This summer has proved this in so many ways!!
I have no doubt that the coming year will prove to be full of more of His blessings!!

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