Most of you know that I am a Fellow in the Fellows Program in Falls Church, VA and working in youth ministry as my internship. I couldn't be happier. There are 11 other fellows besides myself and we joke that in the last two weeks, we have been experiencing "forced intimacy." Pretty funny, slightly true - but the real truth is this: we really like each other, and I think it is great. For any of you juniors and seniors in college out there... check out the Fellows Program. It is for young adult/post-graduate people who are looking to be successful and upright citizens for Christ who seek to glorify Him in all things that we do! Amazing. www.thefellowsprogram.org
Anyways... back to the "forced intimacy" thing... Our first weekend together, we journeyed up to Somewhere, PA to the Summer's Best Two Weeks camp where we spent four days together. We played lots of games - a personal favorite, Ultimate Frisbee - and spent a lot of time chatting and getting to know each other. All of that is easy... it is not hard to bond over a few games here and there or late-night chats, but another important component to the retreat: sharing testimonies. I was scared out of my mind for some reason. My summer ended somewhat difficultly, I was already slightly nervous and anxious, I was experiencing a million emotions already and on top of that, I had to share my most private story about me and God. For those of you who know me well, this takes time for me to do - especially with new friends. I love the Lord so much and I love hearing everyone's testimonies - but when I share mine, I am usually very comfortable with the people I am with and people who I feel will love and support me. On this retreat - I was going in somewhat blind. I had no idea who these people were, where they have been, what they were expecting of me, or if there was a chance that they would become REAL friends and REAL brothers and sisters to me.
Soon enough, it was my turn to share. I prayed for God to bless me with strength, energy, and the ability to share my testimony without fear. He blessed me immensely. The words came with ease. I had everyone's eyes on me, listening attentively. I received prayer from a fellow who I was still getting to know - someone new in my life had the sweetest heart to pray for me!! This was a huge deal with me. For anyone who is hesitant about sharing your testimony, do it anyway. You need to find a way to share your story about God in your life and the transformation He has going on inside of you. I learned so much about these awesome fellows here and about myself and I am SO grateful that God gave me the courage to share. My self-confidence sky-rocketed and I am realizing that I am being loved for who I am and who I want to be and who I will be. I pray and hope that the fellows feel the same way because I do appreciate them for who they are, each and every one of them, and who they want to be and I am excited to see the person God will form them to be. A lot of amazing things will happen in the next 9 months and I am thrilled to be a witness of all of that.
Here's the question for you: What is your Christian community like? Do you have one? If not, why not? What is holding you back? If you have one, what are the aspects that you like/love about it? Have you shared your testimony?
These are important questions to ask!! I am learning more and more how vital these relationships are going to be for me this year and I am so thankful that we have started our year out on a good foot by sharing these intimate stories about God. After leaving an amazing community of women, Into Hymn, I was absolutely heart broken. I would have a hard time just listening to the music and I was scared that I would never find a community like that one. I was right. I will never find a community like Into Hymn. However, God has blessed me with a new and different kind of community. New brothers and sisters who He has placed in my life (and me in theirs) to learn about each other, accept, appreciate, affirm, and to encourage each other. We will be seeing each other a lot - seminars, classes, retreats, youth group stuff... but amidst all that craziness, refreshing relationships will blossom into awesome Christ-centered friendships and that is SO GOOD. God provides, friends, He provides what is best for us and I am so thankful.
I am so excited about what is happening here. My youth ministry job is incredible and I feel like I really belong! It is a great feeling to feel needed and desired in the work place. The feeling that YOU are of great importance and value within the ministry or organization. And even better, it is great to learn about how your work for God is making an impact on several others around you. I am incredibly thankful right now. Or as I'd like to say, "Happy as a Clam." Thank you for your continuous and steadfast love and prayers. Constantly, I am encouraged by you all and I appreciate you! Please send me an email and let me know how YOU are doing at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know I have been a little slow with the correspondence lately - time is hard to come by while being in this program - but I do check my email often. I would love to know what is going on in your life, how God is moving in your life, and how I can be praying for you.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:5
We are called to bear fruit together now that we are of the same Vine and Body of Christ.
Fellows Class 2010-2011
God is good.
((Sorry if there are oodles of edits throughout this blog... I am not going to make the time to edit it tonight!! ENJOY IT ANYWAY!!))