Love Is Illuminating

20 August 2013

This quote has popped up in a couple different places the last few days and it has really just hit hard. With everything that has happened in my past I find it easier to hide things. I do not want someone to think that all I am is these broken pieces and all of these bad things. So in an attempt to make things easier, I hide those parts of myself and just put forth the good things. It really comes down to the fear of someone not being able to or not wanting to love all of me, the broken and bad parts included. A lot of times it feels as though all of my flaws are a major deterrent and the reason that I have yet to find the 'one'. But when I came across this quote, it made me wonder if by holding back the broken parts of myself I am keeping myself from people. By holding those things back I am not trusting them enough to give them the opportunity to love me despite those things. This is something that I have really come to realize that I desperately need to work on. Love can illuminate things in my life that may otherwise seem dull. I know that it will be an amazing thing and I look forward to it.

I also remind myself daily that I need to give it to God and trust that He will bring the right people or person into my life at the right time. If I trust Him enough to bring them into my life then I need to know that I can trust those people. It is not an easy task, but I am hoping that I will get better at it as time goes on and as I continue to trust God. His plan is far better than I can imagine...all it takes to see it pan out is some trust and a lot of faith in Him! I also know that the most illuminating of loves is that which comes from my Heavenly Father!

Super Summer 2013

17 August 2013

Hey y'all!! I'm back tracking to the beginning of the summer to tell you all about the first 'not' camp (it really is camp lol) that I participated in this summer. This 'not' camp is an intense week long discipleship camp for students who have just finished 8th through those who have just graduated high school. The students are put into schools based on the grade they finished. Each school has a dean, an assistant dean, a team leader assistant (?) and then 4-5 team leaders. Each school has a theme and a color. The dean and assistant dean teach multiple lessons throughout the week based on their theme and the overall theme of the camp. There are chapel/worship services in the evenings with messages based on the overall camp theme.

This year was a special year though. This year was the 20th Anniversary of Super Summer. It was such an awesome experience to have my first year there be such a special year in the history of Super Summer. On our last day everyone wore there Super Summer shirt (color based on what school they were shirts are staff members) and we took a group picture of everyone who came to camp, along with a special banner.

Super Summer 2013...20th Anniversary

You can't really see me, but i'm back with everyone in the blue shirts. I was a TL in Blue School. GO BLUE SCHOOL!!! A friend from school and a fellow summer intern was also a TL in Blue School. The rest of the team was new to me, but I quickly got acquainted. It was such a blessing to get to know everyone that was leading Blue School. I couldn't have asked for a better team. God definitely knew what He was doing when He brought all of us together to lead those students. I have gotten to know them better since then as well and look forward to getting to know them better in the future.

The best yet scariest part of the week was being a family group leader. Family group is small group and I was leading one with seven 8th (soon to be 9th) grade girls. This is most definitely not my area of expertise, but I couldn't back out or push it on someone else. This was my group and I went into the week unprepared and not knowing what to expect. We met three times a day in small group and talked over things that were discussed in school sessions and in chapel. I ended up being blown away by these young ladies in my group! They already have strong relationships with Christ and are working to get closer. I got to see some changes throughout the week in the mindsets of a couple of them and it was amazing. I got to know a couple of them better and more one-on-one. It was such a blessing that they were so open to trusting me with the things going on in the heads and hearts. It really allowed me to better pray for them, as well as be able to encourage them in different things throughout the week and even now as I continue to keep in touch with them through Facebook.

My family group...Beautiful Godly young women!

These girls were crazy & made me laugh :)

We took some pictures as a family group on the last day. This last day was when they really clicked as a group and I wish we could have had just a couple more days. I can only imagine what would have happened!! They are absolutely amazing young ladies with hearts for Christ. They're enjoying life and learning how to daily live for Him. While in the midst of this the antics are quite funny. From Skittle accidents to spitting water across everyone (unintentionally) to doing crazy flips and tumbles in the grass. These young ladies were so amazing to work with!! I am beyond blessed to have been able to have spent a week getting to know them and share with them. I didn't know how the week was going to turn out but it was definitely far  better than I expected!!

I try to keep in touch with them all on a regular basis, which from what i've gathered isn't common for TLs. It's a blessing to know how i've worked in their lives even when I didn't think I was doing a good job. One of the girls told me that i'm the best TL she's had at Super Summer. I was surprised when she said that. I know that I can only credit that to God because I couldn't have done that on my own. That week and those girls were in His hands...I was merely a tool in the whole plan.

That week in June was an incredible blessing and one of the highlights of my summer (and likely my year)!! I wish we had had more time, but i'm incredibly happy to have had the time we did. I pray daily that these girls, along with all the other students, learn how to walk with Christ in their daily lives. I pray that He shows them how important they are and how useful they can be. I pray that He bless them in everything they do and that they may be a blessing to everyone they come in contact with. My prayers for them are unending.

It was a wonderful week!! I hope I didn't bore everyone by sharing about this incredible God focused week. It was such a blessing to me and I just wanted to share it!!

Softball Tourney

Hey y'all!!
Things have been a bit up in the air here lately as things are kinds busy, but also my head just has been focused elsewhere.
I feel like i've neglected this blog and i'm sorry about that.
That should change as this week goes by and school kicks off in less then two weeks.
I'll be moving into my apartment the end of next week and classes start the following Wednesday.
It's absolutely crazy to think that summer is over at the end of next week. I'm pretty sure it just started...
The time has flown but it's been one heck of a summer.
I'll be sharing with you some of the craziness in the next couple of days, then let some other types of posts begin to start back up again!!

Well we're off to the state Softball Tourney in just a short while.
Looking forward to cheering on the team and connecting with ladies from church!
I'll be back later today with another post with one of the summer highlights!

Words Are Hard... +An Octopus

05 August 2013

Yesterday marked the end of the summer internship for 4 of the 6 of us. Everyone packed up their things and headed off their separate directions, some only for a few days as band camp starts on Friday. For one of us he headed home for a few weeks before heading back down to Tennessee. It was a long day for all of us and while tears were not shed it was definitely sad to watch everyone head off.

This summer has been an amazing experience with some incredible people and I am beyond blessed to have experienced it!! There have been changes to the team throughout the summer, but all have been good. We started out with seven, of whom five already knew each other. The two that were new to the team were newlyweds. They were welcomed to the team and we enjoyed getting to know them. Unfortunately, some things just didn't work out and they headed home. While this relieved some stress and made things run smoother, it also added stress to everyone's shoulders as we took on more work and shifted jobs around. This change also meant that some things that everyone thought would be happening didn't happen. While some disappointment was felt, we took it in stride and got excited about the things that were coming up! We ended up having a sixth team member for the past couple weeks and it has been absolutely wonderful!

Without further ado, here is a short overview of the summer via pictures...
(More to come in the coming weeks!!)

Intern Orientation at Streator Baptist Camp
This picture is from our first weekend together as an intern team in June. We were at IBSA's Intern Orientation at Streator Baptist Camp. Everyone in the picture served as an intern through IBSA in various parts of Illinois. The couple of days that we spent there provided all of us an opportunity to get to know these amazing people that were doing the same things as us for the summer. It was truly a blessing and I have enjoyed keeping up with many of them via Facebook. They are an inspiration!

Illinois Super Summer 2013
This picture is from our next big thing from the summer. We went to Illinois Super Summer and we were Family Leaders for the various schools. This was a challenging week for us as none of us had really done anything like that previously. We went into the week not knowing entirely what was going to happen, but we were excited none the less. While the week was stressful at times, this week was such an amazing experience for all of us! Sometimes it is experiences like this that show us just how much we have to left to learn. Speaking on a personal note, this week was definitely a huge blessing to me and really showed me some things that I need to work on in my life with Christ. It was an incredible week! (A post will be coming soon about this camp!!)

Hanging at the beach in Chicago  (...with Joel according to Facebook)
Just a day at the beach
One of our next big things happened to be having the IBSA All State Youth Choir come and hangout for a weekend. We took them to Chicago and took them on tours around the city, then we ended the day with an ultimate frisbee tournament at a sports complex here in town. They then sang at Journey on Sunday morning, followed by Auerlio's for lunch. You may be wondering what this has to do with the above pictures... The tour we took them on happened to be a bus tour. The tickets for the tour happened to be valid through Monday, so us interns took a trip to the city. We hung out at the beach for a few hours, grabbed dinner at Giordano's and ended the day on the night tour. It was a great day to just hang out and spend time with each other without having to do a bunch of work or be focused on other things despite being together. There's nothing like a long day in the city enjoying each other's company to make for a great day off!!

Kenan's Birthday
During the midst of the summer we got to celebrate two birthdays. Kenan's birthday and Kristin's birthday both happened to be in July within just a couple days of each other. Kristin and I, along with Rachel, made a birthday cake for Kenan!

Kristin's birthday was two days later and the guys made a beautiful cake for her!!

Kristin and her cake!! (Picture courtesy of Kenan Keller)
Getting to celebrate their birthdays with them this summer was awesome!! It is such a blessing to know them both and be able to share those special moments with them! Such an awesome time with amazing people :)

All 6 of us interns with the octopus!!
Our next big event came not long after. The day before leaving Bri came down to join us for the last couple weeks and to work with me for the next few. We left the next afternoon to head to Streator Baptist Camp for IBSA Co-ed Missions Camp North. Since Chad was camp director we were in charge of running the whole camp. The six of us were tribe leaders, we lead worship for all the services, filled various other roles from set up and tear down crew to registration and night time game coordinators, and Kenan ran sound and did tech for the week along with running recreation time. Prior to camp Malik worked with a lady from our church to fix and edit Bible studies and missions lessons for the different age groups at camp. The camp ranged from 2nd graders all the way up to those who just graduate high school. It was a long week that put us all in places that put us outside of our comfort zones. We were stretched in various ways throughout the week, some good and some not so good. Yet at the end of the week we had to say that it was an incredible experience!!! Personally, I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else. It was a huge blessing to share with the students and serve God in all of the ways I did.
Also, that thing that Bri is holding in the picture...that's an octopus. Yes, you read that octopus. We played a variation of ultimate frisbee at camp using an octopus. It was quite hilarious!!

Kristin and I at Art Camp (Courtesy of Trent Walstra)
Our last big thing for the summer was an Art Camp that Journey hosted. It was a five day art camp with an art show this past Sunday morning. One of the ladies at church is an art teacher at one of the local schools and she taught the children this past week. They learned about various artists and were given the chance to imitate the techniques of the artists. We had 4th-6th graders in the morning and 1st-3rd in the afternoon.  It was an awesome week and a great outreach for our church into the community! It was tiring but a great experience!!

So there is a quick overview of the summer, some details were omitted and hopefully I will get a chance to share them in the coming weeks. I just wanted to right this post to wrap up the summer with everyone here. We are an interesting group, but we all bring different things to the table and that has been huge this summer. It was such an awesome opportunity to work with Andy, Malik, and Kenan again. Last summer was awesome but this summer was amazing!! I couldn't have asked for a better chance to get to know them better and spend more time with them. They continue to teach me new things and I am blessed to have them as friends, and as brother figures when they pull the card out. God knew I needed them in my life and He has continued to use them in positive ways. Such an incredible blessing to know them!!! And getting to work with Kristin and Bri has been awesome. Yeah, we knew each other at school but spending so much time together we haven't got to know each other in different ways. I can definitely say that they are both absolute blessings to me and I look forward to getting to know them better throughout the school year!!!

I can't say enough about each of them, as that would take forever, but I can say that I can't possibly put into words how much of a blessing they have all been to me! They have seen me on my not so good days and on the days where i'm just happy as can be. They have seen me be lazy and totally checked out and they have seen me pull crazy antics out of nowhere. This summer definitely proved to bring me out of my shell and they got the chance to see that first hand...whether they wanted to or not. :)

I pray that God will guide their paths and lead them to do more incredible things for Him! I pray that God has His hands on them through everything they go through this school year, whether it be good or bad. May He provide everything they need. May He give them peace in every situation and joy as well. I pray that He uses each of them to share His love and grace to everyone they come in contact with. May He bless them and use them to bless others.

While this post could go on for days, I will wrap it up on this last note. I couldn't have asked for a better summer with better people. I was right where I was supposed to be with the people I was supposed to be with. It was truly a wonderful blessing and I am glad I get the chance to share about it! My words are many but those that are spoken are jumbled at best. Like we've said all summer....Words are hard. Words are very hard.

Thank you all for an incredible summer!!


Still Doing Office Work At 1am

04 August 2013

Hey everyone!!
I know that I said I was back and would be posting more just a couple weeks ago, but then things got kind of crazy around here and all of us interns have been going non-stop for about three weeks.
I am definitely serious now about being back and posting about the summer.
This coming week will definitely be much slower paced and therefore allow me some time to work on writing.
I have a lot to share with you all and can't wait to do so!!
God has been doing some incredible things!

So as I am sitting in the office attempting to finish up the Worship Folder for today's church service, I will leave you with this lovely picture of the awesome intern team I have been working with!!!
I will be sharing more about them soon as well :)

Malik, Kristin, Bri, Kenan, Me, & Andy at Co-ed Missions Camp
Also, props to anyone who can figure out what Bri is holding in this picture!
I will share exactly what it is in an upcoming post!!
I highly doubt that anyone will guess, but you are welcome to take a shot :)

Anyways, it's back to work for me!
Goodnight everyone!

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