Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Final Thoughts on Summer Project

I decided to write one more short blog just summing up some of my feelings about summer project. It's funny because if you had asked me last summer at this time what I thought I would be doing the following summer I would have probably said living at home working at subway again. I remember the first time I heard about summer project from my bible study leaders at the U. I remember my first response when they told me I should think about it. I said no, it costs way too much and I dont want to give up a whole summer. I also remember thinking in my head that project sounded like something for those "super Christians" and there was no way I was one of those people. Fast forward about a month and at cru one thursday was when I heard about project again. They had all the students who had gone on project the previous summer stand up and they played a video and then a few of them spoke. I'll never forget the feeling I got that night. I turned to the person who was next to me and said I think I'm suppose to go on project. From that moment on the feeling never went away and I knew that God was calling me there. I remember having lots of conflicting feelings about giving up my first summer back home and not wanting to go somewhere that I didnt know a single person. Through it all though God was faithful, he helped bring in the funds I needed to go and also provided me with a job before I even got down there. He was obviously in control of the whole situation and looking back now I know there was never any reason for me to doubt or fear. This past summer God taught me so many things and I was stretched in more ways then I ever thought possible. I learned how to share my faith and walk up to total strangers and talk to them about Jesus. He gave me the ability to put aside my fears that I would be rejected by reminding me that my identity is not based off of what they think of me. He gave me the energy and patience to work at a job where there were people yelling at me on the phone all the time about things which werent my fault. He gave me and angie the strength and desire to face one of our biggest fears and share our faith and what we believed with one of our coworkers and our boss. Crazy how that was even able to happen especially since after that day we had multiple conversations about the bible with other coworkers. He also gave me the energy to go home after work everyday and get back about 4:30 and have about an hour before I had to be going somewhere else. One of the best things about project though was the people. God provided this awesome community for us in which everyone was totally honest and open with each other about struggles they were going through. We were their to support each other and build each other, and ultimately point each other back to God. That tight Chirstian fellowship provided support and strength for us to continue to work in our stressful jobs and reach out to those nonbelievers around us. Looking back on this summer I feel like I saw God work in so many different ways i'm still amazed at all that happened. Looking forward though I can't wait to see what he's going to do on all of our campus's this fall. I know we are all from different schools for a reason and as hard as it is to be apart from these people who have become so close to me I know it's all for a reason. I will never forget project and all that God taught me but I'm excited to see what's in store for the next part of my life!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The last two weeks of summer project

The second to last week of project the theme was walk it out. We were told that we needed to learn how to walk out our faith in everything we do. Monday and tueday of that week went by pretty fast and nothing really sicks out to be as being anything out of the ordinary. Wednesday night I went with the twins, liz and kelly to boulineau's to go eat some dinner and then went to hang with steph for a little while. We had a great conversation about school and about this coming year. Then it was date night time and I headed over to the beach. As I was sitting out there along with a few other project people who were spread out along the beach this man walked by and looked at me. Shortly after he went up to hannah and starting talking to her. I was curious so I went over to join the conversation. He was asking her if we were all here together and she starting explaining that we were with a group called campus crusade. He told us he was a Christian and that he was really excited we were down there. We had a really great conversation with him and before we left he asked us if he could pray over us and the rest of our time down there. It was really cool just to see God work through him and be there to encourage us when we were starting to feel a little drained. Thursday me and angie both had off work and were meeting up with our co-worker and our boss at the beach. We were both pretty nervous because we knew we would have a chance to share with them and we needed to take that opportunity. They came to the beach at about 1 and we sat and just chatted with them for a little while sadly after about 30 mins of sitting in the sun a huge thunder storm started to roll in. So we ended up going to Atlanta Bread Company and sitting and talking there. It was perfect because it was a way better atmosphere to sit and talk in. As we were there the thunder and lightning continued and then the power went out. So we ended up getting stuck there for 2 hours because we couldnt leave the roads are too bad. Which turned out perfect because we had just enough time to finish our conversation with them. When we got back to project it was crazy because of the rain ocean blv had flooded. A bunch of us went running out into the rain to go check it out because we had never seen this much rain before. Some of our boys went into the ocean bay club and grabbed a few tubes and floated down the road in so funny. Thursday night was cru and afterwards we had extended worship which turned out to be like 15 extra praise songs. Then afterwards a group of us went to dennys for breakfast at like midnight. Friday was a day like any other and I can't really remember anything out of the ordinary that happened. Saturday was our last saturday at work and we were not too sad to know this was the last day of crazyness at work we would have to deal with. That night our entire project went to the church to eat then headed to a pelicans baseball game. Sunday after church we went sharing for the last time as an impact group. Then afterwords our project got together and told stories about things they had seen not just at sharing but also throughout the summer. Then our impact group headed to bonefish for out last impact dinner. Then began the last week at summer project :( sad story! Monday after work I headed to the beach with angie jen alli and james. Then after that our bible study met up and were told we needed to go meet our boys at 6:15. When we got to their room they gave us a sheet of paper and shut the door. This sent us on a scavanger hunt all over the place. Each sheet we found had a part of the clue which we pieced together and it was an invitation to join the boys for fireworks that night. They even sang us a song telling us how much they cared about us it was pretty sweet. Then our girls bstud headed to ABC for one last bible study. After we met up with the boys and headed to barefoot for the fireworks which were pretty sweet. After when we got back I headed with hannah to the beach to talk with her. We had only sat their for literally 5 mins and two boys came up and sat by us. They were 16 and we ended up having a conversation about God with them which im pretty sure they werent expecting but it was great! Afterwords me and hannah went and sat in the knoll and got a chance to just talk for a while. I love talking to that girl and she is someone im really going to miss! Tuesday was our last day off work and our boss ordered pizza for us and got us balloons and visors which we proceded to wear the wrong way the rest of the day while we made ducttape flowers and answered the phones with different names everytime. Some examples being thelma or gertrud or basically whatever we could think of. That night I went with a group to the windum only to get kicked out because we didnt have wrist bands...oh us bad project kids haha, then me hannah and joanna sat on the beach for a while just enjoying the ocean. Then I went with a huge group to the place where everyone always goes bridge jumping and we had a fire and sat and talked till about 1 in the morning. Then I went in alisons room and me and her had one of last talks on project. She is another one of those people I am really going to miss. She was someone I could depend on and know she was always there if I needed someone to talk to. Wednesday morning I got up after 3 hours of sleep and went with a group to watch the sunrise. Which turned out to be just beautiful. Then after I went and got a tatoo on my foot. Yes I said it I went and got a tatoo. This was something I had been thinking about for a few weeks and finally decided it was something I wanted. It says "I am not ashamed" and underneath it says romans 1:16 I got it because I believe this is one of the biggest things God taught me on project and wanted a constant reminder to remember it by. Later I went to dinner with a group to Chick-fele and went swimming in the ocean. Thursday I went with my impact group to watch the sunrise again and then went back to sleep for a few hours. I then went with angie and hannah to enjoy the beach and some sun for the last time. Then me and hannah went shopping at bearfoot. Afterwards we came back and started getting ready for the banquet which was to be held at the avista resort. At 5:20 our entire project of 89 students walked over to the avista which was pretty funny to see since we were all really dressed up walking down the street. We had catered food and then since a few of the staff had come back to help us close up project Brock spoke and gave us our last message on project. He spoke of the transition of going back home and back to school and how hard it was going to be. He told us that we would need to rely on God's strength because there was no doubt that all of us would at least face some post-project depression. Then after we were able to all worship together one last time and some tears already started to fall on peoples faces. We also each got our project shirts and a book by John piper called dont waste your life. That night was a fantastic night and a really great way to end project. Friday morning I went with angie and cat to get our last paycheck and say goodbye to everyone at work which turned out to be a little harder then I thought. I met with berta one last time for a quick d-ship and then shortly after it started to rain. This rain was exactly like the last time everything flooded. So of course a bunch of us started running around in the rain. the streets flooded again and a group of about 15-20 of us went running down the road in it and splashing eachother singing "grace like rain" and "undignified" then we all ran to the ocean and jumped in quick and the came back out when we realized being in the ocean when it was lightning was probably not the best idea. The rain that wouldnt stop seemed like a pretty fitting end to project. At about 6 the first group of students started heading out and it started to hit me that this was really happening. It was really hard to see 4 cars pull away and realize those people wouldnt be coming back. After a little while a group of like 20 of us went to tgi fridays to enjoy one last meal together. Then we came back and started packing up our cars because my group was leaving at 4 in the morning. We were told that our group would not be stopping for lunch dinner or breackfast and we were driving all the way to madison so we would be in the car 21 hours. Looking at this logically we probably all should have headed to bed but of course who does that the last night of project? Me and Alison ended up sitting and talking on one of the porches for about an hour on going back home and what that would look like. Then we met up with a group of people sitting on one of the porches up stairs and we sat on fb for an hour looking at all 887 of the pictures on our NMB fb page. Then it was 3 am and we decided one last walk on the beach was necessary. So me katie alison james and dan walked the beach one last time. As we were leaving I looked back and starting to realize this was the end and I started to lose it a little bit. Then we all split up and I headed to my room to finish grabbing my last few things. As we started putting the final things in the car everyone started to come out to say goodbye. The first few people I said goodbye to seemed a little surreal but then as I looked up at the office and all the people around me I just started crying. My heart broke at the thought that this was literally the end of the summer. Alison gave me a hug and by then we were both sobbing. It didnt even feel real as I walked around to give final hugs and then climbed in the car with jenny vang matt and angie. As we drove away I remember just sobbing and jenny telling me to stop because she didnt want to cry anymore ...ha the first few hours of driving I dont remember a ton probably because me and jenny just slept in the back seat. We literally just drove the entire day. Hannahs car ended up blowing out a tire and getting in a fender bender which was really hard because we ended up having to leave them behind and we never even got to see them again to say goodbye. As hard as it was to say all my goodbyes it was harder still to never even have the chance to say goodbye. The rest of our 4 car caravan continued on until chicago when two of the cars left us. Then the rest of us headed to chris's house which we made it to by about 10:30pm that night. Then we left his house the next morning and we fit 5 women plus for 4 of us it was all of our stuff in stephs car which was a true miracle I have no idea how it worked. Then after dropping steph off in WI we continued on the MN. We dropped my roommate casey and lauren off in woodbury then the car overheated and me and angie had to let it sit for 15 mins before we could get it to work again. That pretty much ended our fantastic road trip and I met up with family and made it home by about 9pm on sunday night. Its crazy to think the summer is over. Right now it still kinda feels like a blur. God taught me so much this summer I know it will take me the next few weeks to process through it all. I had the best summer of my life so far though and I am excited to see how we can all use what God has taught us this summer and bring it back to our own campus's. I know God has a lot in store for us and can't wait to see my NMB family again at TCX!