A Leadership Experience, and Opportunity

Alright, so here’s another story from Slaying the Giants week.

Saturday nights are project social nights, which includes a catered meal and an activity for our impact groups. The Slaying the Giant Saturday activity was a city wide scavenger hunt. Each impact group received a packet containing gospel booklets, surveys, some money, and a long list of items that we could do to earn various amounts of points. Also, to reach our goals for the week, they included initiating conversations and gospel presentations for bonus points. Our first hurdle was finding transportation, because we only had one car for 14 people. After much disorganization and confusion, one of the project directors, who was actually my discipler last school year, agreed to go with us and let us use her car. Our Bible study leaders were there also, but they weren’t allowed to give us any help. As we stood in a huddle, figuring out the car situation, I was handed the packet and list of things to do for points, simply because no one else would take it. I tried to pass it off to two older guys in our group who had led us before, but for some reason, they refused to shoulder the responsibility. As the youngest person in our impact group, and admittedly one of the most reserved, a knot tightened in my stomach.

One of our stops

After maybe the first two places on the list, I saw that this wasn’t going to be easy. Some people were resentful that I was taking charge, which made everything so hard. It was tiring to repeat myself over and over, explaining where we were going and why. I felt a huge strain from just knowing that people weren’t happy about it, and knowing that what I was doing was for the best of the group and there was nothing that I could do differently. When I tried to delegate tasks, I got no response. Finally, people started splitting off of the group to go initiate conversations, and that was fine with me. But we still had one more location that I’d made clear that we were going to, and as we were on the way one of the guys asked,
 “So can we just go sharing now?”
And the staff person who was along for the ride said, “Yeah, go ahead, lead the group!”
I spoke up right away, “Didn’t we agree to go to the Pavilion (a restaurant) first?”

Silence. Fine, I decided. I’m done with this. We got to the beach, and I handed surveys and gospel booklets to everyone, made sure they were set to go, and then after the last student was out of sight, I snapped. I dropped the packet on the sand and doubled over sobbing. “I HATE leading people!” I gasped out between sobs to my discipler and the staff lady. They handled it well: hugged me, told me they were proud of me, and that I’d really done a great job, and I eventually got under control. It was a huge relief to be done with it, it’d been so stressful and so out of my comfort zone.

Best hotdogs ever, btw

But the night wasn’t over, because we still had sharing to do! I went with both of my disciplers, and the first group of girls we talked to, I just mostly listened, since I was still feeling shook up. The next group we approached however, I initiated the conversation and went through the survey, and then my disciplers had me go through the gospel with both of the girls too. I was so nervous, just because they were my leaders, and I didn’t want to say something wrong, which was a very silly thing to be thinking really. It went very well, despite my nervousness, and both girls were very glad we’d talked to them, even though they said they’d prayed a prayer before at some point in their lives.

The night still wasn’t over quite yet, because I still had to gather up all the statistics from all the groups who shared, and add up all the points. The strain returned, however briefly. I felt like some people still weren’t happy with me, but it very well could have been more imagined than actual. So finally, after two hours, the ordeal was finally over. I called my boyfriend Brian, and tried to tell him about it, but I broke down sobbing unconsolably for a while. It took a long time for me to get the whole story out.

 Basically, I think it was just difficult for me because I’m used to being a follower, and I really like to please people and keep everyone happy, but in this situation, someone had to do something, and not everyone was going to agree. So, as my discipler Kim told me, I did what I had to do, I finished the task, and I did it well. And while it was incredibly difficult for me, I realized that I could lead people, a large group of people, in the face of resentment, and do it well. So even though leading in that situation isn’t a strong point for me, I feel like I have more confidence in that area.

In discipleship, we discussed to some length spiritual gifts. My top result after taking the spiritual gift test was discernment. Tying for second were mercy, faith, and sheparding. All of them work together really well I think. Mercy is pretty self explanatory, it means that I can empathize with others and desire to allieve suffering, while faith is the ability to believe in results when they’re not evident, and shepherding is investing in people for long periods of time to help them grow. So, the mercy helps me to shepherd well, the faith helps me to believe that there will be results even though they may not be evident for long periods of time. I scored pretty low on leadership, but, like I said, even though I know that isn’t a spiritual gift for me or something that comes naturally, I know that I can do it, when I need to.

I mention this, because every year on this summer project, the staff all leave after the 5th week, and we students lead the rest of the project for the remaining 5 weeks. That means that students lead the teams, like the prayer and vision team, community team, and weekly meeting team, and students lead each of the Bible studies and do discipleship with the girls in their appartment, and students actually become the project directors. It’s the staff’s responsibility to pick the new student leaders, and since this is week 4, they’ve already begun the selection process.

When Kim told me she wanted to talk to me about something after the weekly meeting Sunday night, I honestly wondered if I’d done something wrong. We’d just had our international dinner, which I will tell more of in another blog, and I wondered if maybe I’d dropped the ball somehow in the planning for it and was in trouble. I was utterly thrilled when instead she asked me to be the Bible study leader after the staff leave! I was hoping so much that I could be, I felt such a desire to lead a Bible study after discussing leadership in discipleship with Kim the week before and after our women’s time last Thursday night. I feel like I’ve been so blessed with numerous experiences and had so many people pour into my life, that I really want to do the same for others. I’m so excited to begin my Bible study leader responsibilities, starting next week!

Please pray for me! That most of all, I’ll be humble and teachable as I teach others, and also that I can truly love each of the girls in my Bible study and be an encouragement and catalyst for them.

That’s all for this blog!
In Christ,

Slaying the Giant Week

Hello friends and family!

We competed in a cooking contest. I’m cutting onions.

Job Developments 
It’s now week two of project! God has done amazing things over the last two weeks, one of which is providing me with a job! Tuesdays are outreach nights, when as a project we go out to different areas around town and initiate conversations that hopefully lead to the gospel. Well the Tuesday night last week, my Bible study was sent to Main Street, so my roommate Laura and I walked up and down and around, trying to find people to talk to. We chased down one lady, but as we were going through the quest survey questions and said the word “Christian,” she said, “You lost me there,” and walked away. We tried to talk to two more girls, but they told us they weren’t interested either. As we continued up the street, we came across a couple standing outside of a restaurant. We said hello, and struck up a conversation. They said that their friends had just opened the restaurant, and were giving free samples inside. After talking with them a little more, we explained that we were with Campus Crusade for Christ. Come to find out, they were very familiar with the organization and actually hired a few students every year at one of the Dunkin Donuts they opperated. They asked if we had jobs, and Laura already did, but I told them that I hadn’t been hired yet. They took us inside and introduced us to the couple that owned the shop. They told me that they didn’t think they would actually need any help, especially full time, but they took my name and number anyway. After talking with them for a while, I discovered that they were actually a Christian couple, and they had many amazing stories of God’s provision as they opened their first coffee and donut shop. Well, only a few hours later, I got a call from them saying that they’d talked it over and wanted to hire me, and they wanted me to come in the next morning for work! I actually cried, it was such an amazing example of a divine appointment! I get to work with two Christian bosses who treat me like a part of their family….not to mention I get to sell donuts! It’s a very fun job; we sell coffee, sweet tea (of course!), smoothies, milkshakes, donuts, bagels, and soon we’re going to add sandwiches. It’s been great to see the business grow. The first few days were kind of iffy, but we’re doing pretty well now. Please continue to pray for my employers as they seek to use their finances wisely.

That same outreach night, we finally gave up on Main Street and went to the beach, where we began talking to two ladies digging for shells in the sand. We didn’t even go through the survey questions with them, we told them why we were here, and then we pretty much just listened for the rest of the time while they told us their stories. They were both believers, but had rejected organized religion because of the hypocrisy they saw in the church. One lady, Janelle, was an evangelist who works with charities for homeless people, and she was struggling with a lot of doubts about not only the church, but even God and Christianity, as a result of the unkindness she’d experienced at the hands of other Christians. We honestly didn’t say much the entire conversation, except to try to encourage her in her walk with Christ, but mostly we just listened with compassion. Janelle begged us to pray for her, and we did so, and at our sharing time afterwards asked the rest of the students to be in prayer for her also. So I would like to ask you readers to take a moment now and ask for God’s truth to cut through the entangling lies of Satan that are dragging Janelle down into doubt and disbelief.

The rest of the week was full of activities with our impact group (a guy’s Bible study that’s teamed with us), work, discipleship, and outreach. Our discipleship times include outreach, or sharing, as we call it, on the beach, but for most of the week it I really didn’t get into any good conversations. For some reason, I just felt like my heart wasn’t in it. My daily quiet times were distracted and unfocused, and I was struggling with impatience. Also, the high school seniors have arrived in full force to drink and party for a week. They’re all around us, and literally everywhere, which was very overwhelming at first.

We got honorable mention for our table decor (my idea! yes!)

Slaying the Giants
The staff men take turns preaching for our meetings, and on Sunday night Mike spoke on the story of David and Goliath. I’ve heard that story preached on countless times before, but once again it convicted me of my own fear of the giants in my life. His challenge to us was to make an evangelism goal for the next week which included a number of initiated conversations, gospel presentations, and then one extra area that was a big “giant” of fear for us that we would slay through the power of the Holy spirit. He asked us, “If you had one week to share the gospel, what would that week look like? Act as if this were that week.”

As challenging as that was, on Monday I still didn’t take the initiative to find people to go sharing with. Tuesday night, outreach night, I went sharing with a staff member. We talked to two ladies on the beach, one who was obviously a believer and a Lutheran, and her niece who was Baptist, but was going through a lot of struggles. We gave them tracts, and Marge, the Lutheran lady, was very excited because a few of her grandchildren were coming to visit soon and she planned to share the gospel with them using the tracts. It’s amazing how the gospel can mushroom!

After that conversation, we really couldn’t engage anyone in conversation for a very long time, and I started feeling really discouraged. I started wondering, “Why am I here? God, I thought you brought me here to share the gospel, so why aren’t you leading us to anyone?” Just as I was thinking that, the staff lady I was with, Sherri, began asking me questions about what lead me to decided to come to North Myrtle summer project. Having to think through the events that lead up to it and all the reasons I was excited to come really rejuvenated me and pumped me back up. Then we turned the corner and met up with a woman and her daughter and daughter’s best friend. We went through our survey questions with them and briefly covered part of the gospel, and from their answers I really believe that they were believers, but they just didn’t use the common terms that we were used to. They were also really excited to receive the booklets from us!

Yesterday as part of my discipleship time I went sharing with my discipler, Kim, and one of my roommates, Becky, and as we arrived at the beach we took turns praying. Kim prayed that God would guide us to some girls with open hearts that we could connect well with, and not ten seconds after she said “amen,” we spotted two girls sitting by themselves. Kim told us that Becky and I were going to have to initiate and do everything, and she’d just be there to help if we needed it. She also told me that I should go throught the booklet with them, not knowing that that was actually my giant for the week. So when we got close I started the conversation, and it just took off. They talked to us for a few minutes before we could even explain why we were there! They were more than happy to take the survey, so we sat down with them and began going through the questions.

We connected with them right away. They were both so friendly and sweet, and really, really talkative! It took us a while to get through the survey, and in answer to the last question, “From 1 to10, rate your desire to know God,” they both answered with an emphatic 10. One of the girls, Rita, said she’d actually been thinking about it for the last month. So from there I began going through the booklet with them, with plenty of insights from Becky and Kim. They had so many questions, and so much to say about every point, it took us an hour and a half to get to the prayer! I was wondering a few times, “God, how are we going to bring this conversation back around to the booklet?” But He always made a way!

 By the time we got to the prayer, they both had a very clear understanding of the gospel, and both realized that they needed to take that step, but they were not quite ready to yet. It was a little sad, because I really thought they were going to, but they are really, really close. We invited them to our meeting on Thursday night, which is tonight, and they both wanted to come and bring their friends. They really want to hang out with us more, so I’m hoping that we’ll be able to get together with them again. Their names are Rita and Julie. They’re both from a Catholic background, and are here to party with their senior class for the week. Pray that God will have his hand on them for safety, and also that he will keep convicting them through the Holy Spirit, so that they would take that step of faith and give their lives to Christ. They are both so close!

Every student must choose a ministry team to be a part of, either the community team, weekly meeting team, worship team, prayer and world vision team, outreach team, or operations team. The students in the praise bands are automatically on the worship team, and every Impact group has to have at least one person on every team, and not more than two per team. Prayer and World Vision was my first and only choice, and I’m very excited to serve on it. Our first meeting is tonight, and we’re going to plan some activities to motivate students to be in prayer, and give them a heart for the world!

Please be in prayer for me, that I won’t get discouraged, and also that I’ll meet my goals for initiating conversations and presenting the gospel this week.

I’ve lately been struggling a little also because I feel like many of the messages are things I’ve heard before, and they’re over things I already know and understand. Our Bible study is great, I’ve enjoyed SO much digging into the book of Mark with my roommates and discipler each week, and I’m learning so much from that, and we have binders full of materials on tons of different topics which is very helpful, but I feel like sometimes the messages with the whole group aren’t applicable for me, which isn’t the right attitude to have. I should be able to take something away from every service, no matter who’s preaching or how well they preach, so I know I just need an attitude adjustment, and maybe I just need to listen harder and dig a little further into the passage or topic until I find something more.

Psalm 67 is our theme passage for the Prayer and World Vision team, and I would like to include it here as a prayer that really expresses our desire for the high school students and other people we meet here. We want the whole earth to have a chance to hear the gospel! Pray that we will have compassion for these shepherdless masses, just like Jesus does.

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us

and make his face shine upon us,

Selah 2 that your ways may be known on earth,

your salvation among all nations.

3 May the peoples praise you, O God;

may all the peoples praise you.

4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,

for you rule the peoples justly

and guide the nations of the earth.


5 May the peoples praise you, O God;

may all the peoples praise you.

6 Then the land will yield its harvest,

and God, our God, will bless us.

7 God will bless us,

and all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Amen! Praise God that through him, we already have the victory! Have a great week, and please keep in touch with me! I’d love to hear what God is doing in your lives too!

In Christ,

First Week in North Myrtle!

Dear family and friends,

After surviving rush hour traffic in downtown Chicago, tricky I-pass lanes, torrential rains and fog through the night over the Smokey Mountains, and drivers who like to go over the speed limit, we arrived safely in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, last Wednesday, an hour before registration started! The trip was a blast; I became much better acquainted with the students driving down from Iowa State after spending two days in a car together, and also the students who joined us on the trip from North Dakota State, University of Iowa, and Kansas. God was certainly watching out for us as we never got lost or had any car problems or incidents, other than driving through the I-pass lane outside of Chicago.

I quickly realized that the weather here wasn’t exactly what I expected. It rains, suddenly, furiously, and completely without warning, so it’s always incredibly humid. The humidity makes it seem much hotter than it really is. Being as close to the beach as we are, we do get a nice breeze off the ocean, which helps a lot.

Speaking of the ocean, it’s spectacular! I’ve always been fascinated by the ocean, and here it is truly amazing. I haven’t had time to swim or even lay out on the beach yet, but hopefully I’ll get to that this afternoon.

I have been on the beach, however. We went “sharing” Thursday and yesterday on the beach. Both times we got into good conversations with people, and twice we were able to go completely through the gospel with them. They were very open and interested; one woman had trusted Christ but was having doubts about her salvation, and we were able to encourage her in that, and three other college sophmore girls just didn’t have a clear understanding of what the gospel was, and that it was through Christ alone that we come to God, and not our works. I truly believe that they understood what Christ had done for them by the end of our conversation, and it’s in God’s hands what they choose to do now. We know that we are 100 percent successful if we take the initiative to step out in faith and plant the seed!

Right now everyone is very busy trying to find jobs. With 94 students this year, and a tough economy, it’s been more challenging than past years, but we are confident that God will provide. I have several applications out, and I’m still waiting to hear back. I don’t need to start being concerned until Tuesday, but I would greatly appreciate your prayers about this. We really want to find jobs that can be mission fields for the gospel and practical places to show Christ’s love and the difference he’s made in our lives.

I’m living in a small apartment with 6 other girls, all from different schools. Four of us are in one room, and two in another. Luckily, we have two bathrooms! And we have several girls who are very good at organizing. Unfortunately, one of my apartment mates has pink eye, so we’re all rather concerned, especially since another girl in my room thinks she may be getting it now too. So I would appreciate your prayer about that too, just that we would stay healthy and not infect the entire project.

I’m very excited about the things I’ll be learning, and I know I’m already learning a lot about cooperation and patience! I’ve also notice my tendency to complain! I know God will keep working on me in these areas over the next ten weeks.

God really blessed me last night by giving me an opportunity to encourage someone who really needed it. Late Friday night I woke up at the sound of someone crying. Through our thin apartment walls, the phone conversation one of my roommate was having in the bathroom carried into my room, and from that I gathered that she had just broken up with her boyfriend of several months. My heart immediately went out to her, having known that pain that broken relationships cause, I can’t imagine facing it far from home and surrounded by strangers. I noticed the next day that she wouldn’t eat anything, and spent most of the time in her room. I was really struggling with how to approach this, because I’m not particularly skilled with dealing with girls. I planned to find our discipler and tell her what was going on, and ask her to go talk to her, but as the day wore on I never got a chance to pull her aside. I strongly felt the Holy Spirit’s prompting to talk to my roommate, so last night when everyone else was at the park playing in or watching a softball game, I went back to our apartment and, scared to death, knocked on her door. I didn’t have to say much, just that we were here for her and cared about her, and shared some of my experiences with her. After some tears and hugs, I left her with a good friend of hers. She’s doing much better today, but continue to remember her in your prayers, as this will continue to be a difficult time for her. Please pray that God will continue to use me to encourage her and others as well, and that I will respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and not let my fear stop me.

One more cool story of God’s awesomeness, and then I’ll wrap up this lengthy update. Late last night, several Campus Crusade students and I were out on the beach, throwing around a frisbee or just talking, when we noticed a growing number of people with flashlights. I assumed they were looking for clams or shells, but Dan, a student from Kansas, stopped and asked them what they were looking for. “A four-year old boy,” the man replied. He had gone missing about 15 minutes before. Quickly, we spread the word to the other Campus Crusade students, and before searching we gathered in a circle and said a prayer for the boy, and for his family. This area is known for it’s deadly rip-tides, and in the dark, it’s especially treacherous. We split into two groups and headed in different directions down the beach, calling his name. Not two minutes after we had prayed, word was passed down the beach that the boy was found. Not only that, but another group of Cru students farther down the beach had stopped and prayed at exactly the same time we did, and estimating the time it took for the news to spread, he couldn’t have been found more than seconds after we prayed. God’s power and sovereignty amaze me.

So with that said, I’ll leave you with the scripture passage God gave me during my morning devotions on Thursday: 2 Thess. 3:1-5.
1Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. 3But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

Amen to that! I’d love to hear from you all! Thank you for your support and prayers! Enjoy your Sunday afternoon!

In Christ,