(A letter written to the people in Lubbock who are in the same program as me, plus some campers and other wonderful people:)
Hey all you lovely people. I really wish I could be sitting with you guys right now, but seeing as I’d already come to Lubbock in October, I didn’t want to overdo it. Just know that I love you! I struggle between extremes of feeling like I have way too much to say and that I have nothing to say at all… so I’ll try to make this worthwhile.
We talk a lot about spiritual gifted-ness and DISC tests and all of that stuff, and I do think it’s good and important to recognize our strengths and weaknesses. But honestly, when you’re being Christ and involved in others' lives, you’re going to be called to do lots of different things, whether you’re comfortable with it or not. Take the opportunities in front of you to really give what is needed. If someone needs help with English, teach energetically. If you’re talking about the Gospel, do it without shame. If you’re volunteering at a park or a hospital, work your hardest. If you’re listening to someone’s story, do it with patience. If you’re praying with someone, whatever denomination or religion or lack thereof they may be, pray knowing that God is listening and answering with good gifts. I know not everyone is going to a foreign field, but I got great advice from Brent of the ’06 Peru team (if you’re there, hey! :D) that when you’re learning a new language, remember that it’s always better to say something encouraging, even if you’re grammar’s wrong, than to not say anything at all.
What I’m trying to say is do what’s in front of you and do it your best. There will be times when you’re disappointed, when people you’ve invested so much in still decide to love the world more than their God, when you have no idea how to answer someone’s questions adequately, when you just feel useless. I love Psalm 62 during these times; verses 5-8 say “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” Remember your own salvation, and take hope in that. Remember that you are no one’s savior, rather you are a servant of the only one who saves. Romans 12:9 through the end of the chapter is great too, but especially verse 12 – “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
And please, please remember that God doesn’t only strengthen us when we’re locked in a closet with him. Praying and studying the Bible and journaling and fasting… all of these things are really good. But God made us a part of a Body – draw strength from them. You can even draw strength from serving other people. It’s like eating and exercising – exercising is hard work, and you’d pass out if you hadn’t eaten anything, but do you honestly expect to be as healthy and happy as you could be without it? So to make it brief, take the opportunities you have, with love, and trust God to make something beautiful out of it even when you don’t understand. That goes for wherever we are for the rest of our lives.
Any Grass Valley AIMers, past, present, future – I absolutely love you and can’t wait til I see you again.
To Lindsey Vivian – Have you managed to break any more chairs with your tiny self? :D I love you and your energetic hugs. Let’s hold hands again someday soon.
To Lily – I love that you respond to my many status updates. I love you too. Come visit!
To Ginger – I had a dream I was playing with your hair and you had green streaks in it. Crazy, no? I miss you and can’t wait til you visit.
To the Tulsa campers – I never got to come to Camp Adventure until I was an AIMer – hope you have a great time!
To Cairen – I love you and love that you’re with people I love. :D
To all ‘07ers – I wish I didn’t have to wait another year to see all your faces again.
To Rachel Holler (and Amanda if she’s there) – thanks for making Camp Adventure good memories.
I love you everyone and I’m praying for you.
Hello out there!
9 months ago