As this semester ends and the summer gets closer, I thought I’d update you all on what I’ll be doing this summer. I also have a few things to share that God had been showing me as I prepare!
This summer I’ll be on staff with Youth Works: an organization that conducts mission trips around the U.S. for junior high and senior high students. I’ll be living somewhere in the eastern US with a small staff team (I’ll find out the exact community and my team on May 1st!).
Students and their adult leaders will come to do volunteer work one week at a time in groups of about 70 people. I will be the team's Community Service Coordinator, which will have many responsibilities as I build relationships with the community, plan service opportunities for the youth, organize them into service teams, conduct orientations, and plan and facilitate meals, activities, and programming for the youth.
The process of getting this job began last October when I found out about Youth Works. Ever since living at home and working a retail job last summer, I knew I wanted the summer of 2018 to be different and challenging. As I read about staff positions with Youth Works, I was surprised by how meaningful and exciting the job sounded.
The application process was long and daunting though. In all honesty, I didn’t think I could get the job. I decided to simply apply, pray about it, and see what would happen. My thought was that if God wanted me to do it, he would get me through the tough process. Amazingly, after an application and a few interviews, they offered me the job! I accepted it, then life went on as normal.
Recently, I bought a plane ticket and started online training. This has made it feel a whole lot more real. It was easy to apply in October and accept the job in November, but preparing a month before I actually go? It’s been an experience, to say the least.
As I learn the nitty-gritty details of a typical week, I feel excited- but mostly exhausted! My days will be very full and challenging. I’ve struggled with serious feelings of inadequacy as I think about everything I’ll need to do. However, God has used this to powerfully remind me of who he is and what he is capable of! This situation has intensified every truth he’s shown me, and I’d love to share some of it with you!
God guarantees his faithfulness. God is faithful. I’ve known that forever. But this promise, this steady character trait of his, has become more meaningful to me as I think about moving to a random city all on my own. Has it ever hit you how huge it is that God promises to never leave us? It doesn’t matter how unfamiliar or scary the place is. It doesn’t matter if you go there kicking and screaming. It’s a promise from our Father.
When I get all in a tizzy thinking about this summer, I forget that God will literally be with me. Somehow, I forget that leaving the familiar doesn’t mean that I’m going out on my own. I read a verse a few weeks ago that spoke straight to my heart and my deepest fears in this area:
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
Oh, how that lifts a weight off my heart! God knows that I am blind, that I am so badly in need of his leading. He sees my every worry, but he also sees the road ahead of me in striking clarity. He has it all planned! He will not forsake me.
God can change our passions. To be honest, I am not naturally passionate about or ‘gifted’ for everything I’ll be doing this summer. Working with teenagers and having such a leadership-based, up-front job aren’t things that I’m comfortable with.
So, after realizing that my job is very full of those two things, I started praying for something strange: that God would change my desires and passions. I’m asking that he’d show me the beauty and potential in working with teenagers and how I can impact them. I’m also asking that he’d give me a genuine excitement for the things He will do this summer! And surprisingly? It’s worked!
My first reaction to having doubts about this job was to sweep them under the rug. I didn’t want to admit to God that I was having second thoughts. I wanted to be brave and strong. But that’s all quite silly, because He knows better than anyone what my true thoughts are. When I simply approached him in prayer, laid it all out before him, and asked him to help me, he’s started something far bigger than I thought was possible!
I encourage you to do the same: no matter what it’s about. Putting on a brave face and trying to go at it alone is never, never a good idea. God can shape our passions and use us where we aren’t most naturally inclined to go, as long as we’re honest with him.
I am absolutely dependent on God. This has been the overarching theme of my past few weeks. Looking forward to this job with all its pieces and challenges has reminded me of my weakness and my tendency to worry! It’s easy to forget my desperate need for God when I feel like I have a handle on my life, but this situation has reminded me of it in full force.
So, that’s where I’m at right now! I have a few weeks of school to finish up, then I’ll be heading east at the end of May. There, I’ll complete a week of training in Pittsburgh before moving to my community with my team.
I’d really appreciate prayer as I prepare to go, and throughout the summer as well, as I’ll be given many opportunities to work hard and depend on God! I won’t be able to write every week, but I do plan to post throughout the summer to keep you updated on how it’s going. Thank you for reading, for your prayers, and for being a part of my life!
Hello! I'm Anna, a college student living in the Midwest. I'm a strong believer in uncontrollable laughter, powerful words, and a morning cup of coffee. I pray these posts will encourage you to live a full life with and for God: unhindered. Follow me on social media for post updates!