Monday, June 3, 2013

Week 1: Uplifting Unity

WOW! It's hard to believe that one week is down! Its crazy to believe how fast this week went by; it's even crazier to feel that I've been here for so long, that maybe this is becoming a home.

So, one long, busy, stressful week of training is over. Last week was absolutely nuts! I swore going into training that it would be a piece of cake - I thought I had been on enough mission trips to know the ins and outs of leading a Week of Hope camp. Uhh.... not quite. I was thrown immediately into the loop of policies, procedures, and what not. And you know what? The entire experience not only challenged me but grew my excitement even more for the incredible opportunity that awaits me this summer.

As I discovered, the next 9 weeks of my summer will be jam packed to the minute. I really will only have free time on Friday nights and Saturdays. But you know? Thats okay. I'm excited to see how I will grow. As a result, I'm hoping that I will be able to blog once a week to reflect on a lesson I've learned through my training, leading, and serving during the camp week.

This past week, the importance of community has truly been revealed. As I was thrown into a mix of returners and new staff members, my original expectation was for things to be a little bit awkward. However, I cannot think of a single situation where this happened. Through the awkward airport conversations, long bus ride, and time of fellowship, I have met so many incredible, passionate followers of Jesus. The energy, enthusiasm, and love that every single one of these staff members has is absolutely inspiring.  In every new conversation, the genuine hearts of these people are truly revealed. Each evening, we gather together after a long day of training to build up this community, to encourage each other. While I have enjoyed every single moment of training (because I personally think it is super exciting!), the time that we have set aside specifically to grow each other in our walks with God is so valuable.

"If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose." Philippians 2: 1-2

To all my fellow Summer Staffers and to anyone who may be struggling with finding the overwhelming support received from a strong community, remember that verse. Establishing a positive network on the foundations of Christ's incredible encouragement, God's amazing love, and the Spirit's providing gifts, unity among a common mission to serve others and spread God's love can be accomplished. The challenges in your life cannot be faced on your own. Even the positive opportunities you are given in life cannot be handled on your own. We all need community. You never have to be alone.

My prayers are with everyone who face the immense opportunities to serve and share God's love this summer. May you be filled with the energy of Christ's outpouring love and united with other encouraging believers. Never lose sight of your vision and stay in God's constant presence.

P.S. In case you haven't heard, my location for the summer is Grand Rapids, Michigan. I can't wait to see all the amazing opportunities that God has in store for me as a Program Leader!