(carrying over from summer 2012)
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
How Now Shall We Live, Charles Colson
Les Misérables (French version), Victor Hugo… if feeling motivated
“The reason death sticks so closely to life isn’t biological necessity- it’s envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud.”
1 Corinthians 1: 4- 9, ESV
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge- even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you- so that you are not lacking any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Every sunrise of each day is a chance and an opportunity to recognize the grace and beauty and mercy of God (Lamentations 3: 22-23). I thank God for the grace and the freedom of knowing I no longer have to merit his favor and love because Jesus has done it perfectly and completely for me. I think the more you see of the world and the more people you meet one realizes how awe-ing and endless God’s grace is but also how very rare and uncommon it is among his people. When you yourself are saved by grace and have been blessed with community that sincerely loves Christ, the need for God is so much more evident in the world. I will be the first to admit that I have not and don’t display grace as though my Savior willingly and innocently died in my place to pay a debt that was completely mine. But, thus, I am thankful that it is God who is ultimately gracious. I pray to live out the Gospel everyday in recognition of this undeserved gift of reconciliation and fellowship of his Son. Christ will sustain you to the end, the debt is paid in full, God is faithful, and his love endures forever (Psalm 136).
I’ve been in Paris for two days but it feels like a week! I think I’m going through a little bit of what’s called “culture shock.” Everything is just so different here and it’s hard to really put it into words! But this experience so far has just felt so surreal. Sometimes I can’t believe I’m here, in most likely the most popular city in the world, surrounded by French speakers, and experiencing a different culture completely apart from my own. It does come with difficulties though, such as there not being a real schedule and knowing when to make time for God. In addition to that wanting to spend time with him when we’re always with people and going on to do the next thing to do. But it’s certainly not impossible and cannot be forgotten! Prayers for this would be appreciated!
Also, there’s a terrace on top of the hostel for international students we’re staying in and I got to capture this beautiful view of la tour Eiffel!
I know what you’re thinking, “Finally, I get to hear about Hannah’s summer staff experience a month later!” (Just kidding) But here it is!
So, for having gone in with few expectations there were a lot of things about summer staff at Timber Wolf Lake I was not expecting! I knew it’d be awesome but I didn’t think it’d be that awesome and so fun! There was a ropes crew Hunger Games version of the game assassin, a night in which a few southern gents taught some of us how to swing dance, a lot more dancing (of course), spontaneous and fully cloathed jumps in the lake that have happened more than once, and so many other great things!
Also, the time that you spend at summer staff is non stop and the time flies. Typically a day looked like this: morning rides or bible study, meal, help set up/run/tear down event, some down time, meal, rides, meal, some down time, and then help set up/run/tear down event. It was exhausting at times but all so good and so worth it. Because of how our time was spent there was great community and great time of just being with God.
One of the things that was so awesome about our summer staff session was that we all got along so well and was pretty much drama free… seriously, I can honestly say I loved everyone there! One cool thing that our summer staff leaders told us was that great community was going to be a byproduct of Christ and then campers being of number one importance, not focusing on eachother or ourselves. Which is so true! How else, but by the grace of God, would all 45+ of us have gotten along so well? (Another interesting tidbit is that everyone was from everywhere, too, like Alaska, Alabama, Mississipi, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Wisconsin, Nebraska, North Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, Virginia, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, and obviously Ohio!)
Personally, having been on the go a lot and with people a lot made being with just God all the better. It was cool learning how to be with God not only during the times I had taken advantage of for quiet times but also during the times when patience is running thin and there’s still an hour left to go and all one can do every time is look to the cross and remember what He alone has done and why we’re there.
If I were to give advice to anyone considering doing summer staff it’d be to make it about Jesus and then the campers, make an effort to be vulnerable with community, and still remember to guard your heart.
While at summer staff you’re going to be surrounded by really awesome people… I think I had a minor crush all the guys at summer staff and it’s not called “YoungLife find a wife” for no reason! But if we’re not careful, being vulnerable and not putting up many walls can cross the line of forgetting to guard your heart at all. Getting just a little carried away can lead to toying with someone else’s or your own heart or someone else playing with yours as well. (Did you follow that?) But God is sovereign and will always draw us back to him even if we get distracted or are the distraction.
Over all, though, I feel really blessed for having gotten to experience June summer staff at Timber Wolf Lake! We got to witness God move so much that month through the power of prayer and I’ve met so many wonderful people. If you choose to do summer staff, it will be one of the best decisions in your life. (:
This is the address for where I’ll be living in France!:
28, Rue de Metz, 37000 Tours
And maybe this will be my homestead?… just kidding!