Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20
This summer was a whirlwind. The days were long, weeks were short, and the months were even shorter. I can’t believe I’m already home catching up with family and friends in person instead of face-time or texts. I have lots to tell everyone and figured this would be the most efficient way.
So if you look at my former posts, #konquerkentucky or WOAH…we’re halfway there, you can get more of a weekly synopsis but this is more of a summary of how the summer went for me and how I grew. So from the beginning you should know that I was skeptical. I went into my interview with LeaderTreks not completely sold, but I knew the Lord brought me there for a reason so I followed his lead. Therefore going into the summer and moving to Manchester, Kentucky for almost 3 months I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, how the Lord would move, or even if he would. That’s where my faith was weak. Fast-forward to now, Ephesians 3:20 has never been more applicable. God moved in ways that I never imagined, ways that I never asked for, because despite me and my selfish heart, God used it all for his glory.
I look back on the past 3 months and stand in awe. For starters, I am not a contractor. My dad and brothers have taught me the basics of tools growing up but I’ve never built a deck, laid a concrete sidewalk, laid laminate floor, or used a jack-hammer. But through Christ, and with 8 groups of incredible students all of this and so much more was done. Amanda and I had a motto for the summer “Jesus was a carpenter, Jesus lives in our hearts, thus we are carpenters”. It was a joke but there’s so much truth to it. God gave us the ability to learn about the projects and the confidence to coach the students through it. There were many wrong measurements, wrong cuts, broken tools, frustrated students and frustrated adults, but the beauty of it is that our project was to build all of these things and to help the people of Manchester, but our mission was so much bigger. We were there to develop the student’s leadership skills and ultimately make disciples. The projects were only the means to do that.
This was an entire summer for us, but for most of the students it was just 1 week. It’s easy to think “how much of an impact could we make?” “Did they even feel God move?” “Do they even care?” but that’s where faith comes in. I was reading an article about a missionary named Dr. William Leslie who in 1912 lived and ministered to the people of the Congo for 17 years. He returned home feeling like he failed to make an impact for Christ and then died 9 years later. But then in 2010, over 80 years later, another mission team went to the same remote villages expecting them to have exposure to the name of Jesus but no understanding of Him. Instead they found a network of thriving churches throughout the jungle. They didn’t even have a bible in their own language so they used a french bible and had to learn french! You can read the whole article here, it’s really a great story of God’s faithfulness. So, I may never know the impact made this summer, it may not have even made a great impact. But I have to believe that the Lord worked through us and despite us to further His kingdom.
Some of my favorite moments this summer were conversations hearing about the student’s lives back home and how they’re going to implement what they’ve learned into their daily lives. I like to believe that will happen, maybe not right away but eventually. We got to hang out with almost 200 students this summer, and LeaderTreks had over 10 sites around the world, thats over 2,000 middle and high schoolers. The Lord can use each and every one of them. How exciting is that?!? Now my prayer is that they will allow Him to use them in mighty ways.
So for me, the biggest way that I grew was having more trust in God’s promises. Not only trusting them but identifying what He has actually promised and what the world says He’s promised. It sounds like an simple realization and something I should have already known, but seeing God’s faithfulness every step of the way this summer reminded me that He keeps his promises despite our unfaithfulness.
Now, here I am at a coffee shop in Douglasville, Ga remembering how faithful God was and trying to trust that He will continue to be faithful.
This summer was incredible, more than I can put into words. LeaderTreks is an amazing ministry that allowed me to lead trips this summer. It was the vessel that the Lord decided to use for me to be able to pour into those students. However, I will no longer be working for LeaderTreks. The original plan was to work for them for the next 2 years but for some reason the Lord decided to close that door. I know the Lord used this summer for His good and for my good and prepared me for something. I may not know what that is yet or where to go from here but again, the Lord is faithful. We studied Daniel this summer and my favorite day was Wednesday when we read Daniel 3. It’s the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace because they wouldn’t worship King Nebuchadnezzar. in verse 17 and 18 they say “If this be so, our God who we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up.” I love this because we know the Lord is able to do whatever he wants, but if not, He is still good and we need to choose to worship Him and Him alone through our trials.
I want to thank everyone who made this summer possible. If you have prayed for me, encouraged me, or financially supported me, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. If you were a monthly supporter, I’m sorry that I didn’t fulfill the 2 years you expected. But thank you for believing in me and ultimately being obedient to where the Lord called you to give. The monthly payments have been stopped (if for some reason they haven’t please let me know ASAP) but I ask that all of you continue to partner with me in prayer. This may not be the last time I work in a ministry where I need financial support and definitely my need for prayer does not stop here. I’m in a place of unknown and that’s the scariest place to be but also the best. I’m unemployed, single, living with my parents again, and have no set plan. It’s terrifying but also exciting; I have no ties to anything and am completely ready to go wherever the Lord leads. So your prayers are more than appreciated, they’re needed.
Don’t worry though, I will get a job (eventually), because unfortunately we need money to survive in this world. And I’m incredibly grateful to my parents for continually supporting me and letting me live at home. I will not just sit and wait forever, but for now I’m taking time to rest and seek what the Lord wants over my own desires. Until then, it’s exciting to know that the Lord can call me literally anywhere and I am able to go.
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