It’s the beginning of May and my first year of being a freshman in college comes to a close. I turned in all my papers, finished up all my exams and waved goodbye to my professors. Pack away the textbooks, push the notebooks under the bed, and relax to think about the next couple of months….summer.
You know, sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I am doing, and I guess…I usually don’t. (That includes right now.)
When you spend months talking with your friends, family and to God about this dream that you have, this vision of what you hope to be doing, where you could go, and how your near future will end up, and then when God says “okay here is your opportunity” – it usually isn’t really what you pictured. It sure wasn’t for me when it came to my dream for this summer.
For months Connor and I envisioned this summer a little differently. Imagined going to some place, some city far away from Abingdon, and living as “missionaries” (I hesitate to use that term). Just Christians, reaching out to a community and trying to live each day with a focus to spread the gospel. Yeah, definitely not there yet. Probably never will be. That’s beside the point.
Harlan certainly was not what I was imagining. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Freshman year of college ended and I really questioned whether me getting my “education” at ETSU was really the best I could do in using my life to give glory to God. So ETSU is out the window. I don’t belong in a classroom right now.
Then, I spent exactly 4 weeks working about 40-50 hours a week making some cash down at Abingdon Equipment. I know this is getting ahead of myself, but at GO! Camp they shared with us this saying from Apple – “There’s work and there’s your life’s work.” Abingdon Equipment is just work. I’m trying to find my life’s work. So glad those 4 weeks are over.
At the end of my experience of what them older folks would say to me is “life as an adult, working 40 hours a week” (I don’t believe them) I got to travel down to Henderson, TN for something I’m still trying to find the words to describe.
All I really can say is that on June 3-8, the Kingdom of God hit Henderson TN. Then it united, grew, empowered, encouraged, and exploded out into all the world….inevitably turning it upside down.
GO! Camp was an incredible experience. Just a quick rehash – we heard amazing speakers, awesome stories, crazy poets (literally), and I received an inspiration overload. But we weren’t just hearers of the word, we were doers. We packed nearly 140,000 meals to feed starving children all across the globe. We wrote dozens (if not hundreds) of letters to a homeless man in Chicago. We did prayer walks asking God to use our lives to understand and change the human trafficking and extreme poverty that corrupts this world. We encouraged and were encouraged ourselves at a Special Needs Athletics game. And that doesn’t even begin to touch on how many lives were changed that week – including mine. In 5 days. I can’t even begin to imagine what all the GO! Campers and Staff across the nation are doing to change lives and live out the Love Mission in the past couple of weeks since GO! Camp.
When I was a stuck up, ungrateful little brat at the age of 7, I swore I would never live in a trailer. I thank the Lord I do now.
Back in April the 7:08 Ministries group went to Harlan, KY to do some doorknocking. At the end of the day we gathered into one of the motel rooms we were staying the weekend in and sang songs before we all went off to bed. After singing we started a little conversation about Harlan and the church here. Essentially, what I got from that discussion is this – Harlan isn’t so great. The church isn’t very strong. This place needs some help. Encouragement/empowerment, if anything. But “who would seriously want to live in Harlan?”
Apparently…this guy. Oh, and his crazy ginger-best friend.
The next day Connor and I kind of just looked at eachother and we knew what the other was thinking. Crap. I think God wants us to move to Harlan……great.
Yet when all our plans, ideas, and dreams were going to come to screeching halt and collapse in failure, Lee Sergent (the minister/elder at the church in Harlan) calls me up one day. Asks me what I want to do in Harlan this summer. I explain it to him, but Connor and I had previously figured out one major flaw – we’re both poor teenagers (okay not really, we’re ridiculously wealthy and prosperous compared to the world, but you get my point) wanting to move to a place….an imaginary place in Harlan. Where on earth would we live? Sleep? The church building? Maybe.
Lee calls me up…”Hey, I got an empty trailer if you want to live up here. You can stay for free.” I couldn’t contain my joy when calling Connor up – dude we have a place to live!!!!!! (I can’t believe I used that many exclamation marks. Am I a 14 year old middle school girl?)
Answered prayer? I think so. No more excuses now.
I’m constantly reminded of how little control I have over my life and what I want to do. In the end, I just have to say “well…I’ve failed. It’s all up to God now” and He doubtlessly comes through with something that is much different than what I imagined, but far greater for my life. Example A: the DC trip.
I wasn’t expecting Harlan. In fact, I tried hard to ignore Harlan and convince myself that I was to go elsewhere. Then when I finally admitted to myself that God was saying “you want to move somewhere to help people – why are you ignoring this place I am constantly putting in front of you” then I thought, okay I got this. I’m going to make this work, take control, and figure it all out. If only I could figure out how to quit trying to figure things out and….Connor forgive me……let Jesus take the wheel. Then, maybe I think my life would be much better.
So. We’re in Harlan. Yep….that happened.