So first of all I would like to apologize because for my VERY long delay in posting up an update – yikes Sorry! A lot has been going on but that does not excuse me not posting, so I apologize. Thank you for your prayers and support, YOU, yes YOU are channels of grace for all Life Teen missionaries and we appreciate you more than words can say. You are part of this mission, or rather, His mission. In JPII’s encyclical, Mission of the Redeemer, he says that the Church is missionary by its very nature. Which means that every single person in the Church is called to BE MISSIONARY – so you my dear friends, are called to be missionary. Whether that is at your job as a youth minister, a teacher, a nurse, a lawyer, a secretary, an engineer….wherever you are, you are called to BE MISSIONARY. I highly encourage you to check out that encyclical if you haven’t yet.
Ok, so right now my mind is in a million places so I apologize if this sounds scattered. Here we go
So about two weeks ago I spent about five days in Kingston, Jamaica visiting the Mustard Seed Communities there. It was a blessed time filled with questions, answers, lots of emotions and surprises. So my questions when I landed, here is the gist of what I was thinking – “What am I doing here? Can I really help? How can I be so homesick when I’ve only been away two days? Am I called to start something? Am I called to stay?” Slowly but surely, through lots of prayer and talking with my mom over the phone (my phone actually worked! but I later came to realize they did charge a bit extra – oops ) I came to realize that as much as I have a desire for long-term missions on my heart, I feel lead to continue to strengthen my medical skills as a nurse so that later on I can better serve on the mission field. I have thought, on and off, this year about the possibility of God calling me back to the hospital setting, and possibly back to school. The more I think and pray into it, the more I feel lead to pursue that. So, I am currently praying into going back to work in a hospital setting and going back to school to pursue a Nurse Practitioners degree. As an NP I would be enabled to diagnose and prescribe, something that I am currently not trained for as a Registered Nurse.
THE WAITING GAME
I feel like often times in my life God has called me to wait, and as much the waiting period can be hard for me, it always ends in fruitfulness. I remember applying to be on summer staff in 2006 while I was still in nursing school, and how I had also applied to an externship at a hospital. My reasoning was that I would just do whatever program accepted and that would be that. To my surprise I got accepted to both programs, something I never would have imagined. So now I had a choice to make, and as much as I really wanted to be on summer staff that summer, I knew God was nudging me to accept the externship at the hospital. It was a tough decision to make but I had to make a choice – I couldn’t d both.
So, I informed Suzanne (she was in charge of Life Teen Summer Camps at the time) why I could not be on summer staff; I explained that as much as I wanted to serve at summer camp, I knew God was calling me elsewhere for a very good reason, even if at the time it was not clear to me what that reason was. So fast-forward a couple of years, the externship I did that summer opened the doors for the job I would be hired for right out of nursing school – and my two years working at Egleston (Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta) children’s hospital turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Oh and bonus, I got to be on summer staff in 2007 right after I graduated college – and that experience had a MAJOR impact in my life, and I met some of the most amazing people and became good friends with them, these are people who up unto this day continue to lead me closer to Christ. So yes, I had to wait but there was a good reason for it. I would not trade my experience as a nurse at Egleston for anything. I would not trade my experience as a summer staffer for anything.
Another thing I waited for was to go on mission trips. Since my junior year of high school God placed a desire for missions on my heart. But it was not until my junior year of college that I got to go on my first mission trip to Jamaica. In 2003 (freshmen year of college) God had really stirred a passion for Africa in my heart – I never knew how that would ever play out, but then last year I got to spend a month in Ghana serving as a missionary (I went through Life Teen). That same year I also got to go to Nicaragua to work at a Mustard Seed home (Hogar Belen) and I had the opportunity to serve as a missionary in General Cepeda, Mexico. So in one year, I went to three different countries – WHAT?!? Yes, I waited, but it was most definitely worth the wait. The mission trip to Ghana actually lead me to leave my job at Egleston (really difficult decision to make) and enter the Life Teen mission program. God writes straight in crooked lines, and His timing is most definitely not in line with mine – thank God for that, as hard is it might be for me to wait I know from experience that there is a reason.
So last week we at Covecrest hosted the Life Teen training – pretty much youth ministers from all over come to spend a week here to pray, attend workshops to enable them to plan out their year, and spend time in fellowship. During the week I met a lot of great youth ministers, totally passionate about what they do (lead teens closer to Jesus) and who they do it for (Jesus). Another great blessing was meeting AMAZING holy priests! Ah! I had the privilege of meeting and spending time with Fr. Jacob and Fr. Martin (Legionaries of Christ) – I mean WOW. Every time I sat with either of them it was as if God just kept pouring out truth into my soul through their witness. I feel like I really came to understand the Mary and Martha story much better, I can totally get how Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus just listening to the truth He wanted to pour out. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so safe and just renewed by being around such holy priests, totally convicted of truth, totally sold out for God. The whole week was very busy but very blessed. And another major blessing that week was that two of my dearest friends got to visit me, my friend Bernice (from college) and my friend Amy (former camper when I was a summer staffer). It was a joy to have them here with me, living into the life I lead. I think that as much as I can write and talk about what my life is like as Life Teen missionary at Covecrest, I can only express so much. But when people come and live what I live, it makes way more sense. I am so grateful for them having made the time to visit me.
The Life Teen summer camp is fast-approaching. I am very excited about it! Ah! I have witnessed miracles from summer camp and I have a feeling that God will keep showing up in big ways. One way summer camp affected me personally is through my little brother. My little brother came to Covecrest for summer camp about three years ago, and it was here that his conversion took place. It was a miracle! His life was completely transformed. About a year later he applied to be on summer staff and actually served as a summer staffer He is currently studying theology and philosophy in college and is praying about where God may lead him next, possibly youth ministry. So this is one of many miracles that have taken place during Life Teen summer camps, that is why I am excited to be a part of it, because I have seen what can happen. Please pray for summer camps, for all who are attending and all who are serving.
ORANGES IN THE OFFICE, BUBBLE WRAP & CATCH PHRASE
So just to share a little bit about our community during down time. Earlier today when I started this blog, my missionary brothers Mark & JJ found some oranges in the office. They began playing with said oranges and one of these hit my head – it was funny It made me laugh because I feel like we can find anything and make a game out of it. Earlier this evening JJ and Sara found bubble wrap, they began to pop it and after a few minutes they began to play tug-o-war with it so they could pop it as fast as possible – it was hilarious and loud haha And now, as I finish typing up my blog, JJ, Sara, Kaitlin, Erik and our new friend Angela (she is here with group) are all playing Catch Phrase – it has been fun to listen to them play while I blog.
Ok, so that is my update for now. Oh we are hosting a women’s retreat this weekend so prayers for that would be greatly appreciated