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 right...an 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!!


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