I hope everyone has had a good weekend and is ready for a new week! My weekend has been nice and relaxing, and I’m feeling really motivated. Last week flew by, which reminded me that I don’t want a single day of this summer to go to waste. I don’t want the next nine weeks to fly by just as fast only for me to say, “Oh, that was quick!” I want to have a meaningful experience here, which I don’t think will be hard.
Now that I’ve experienced a full week and full weekend of “church duties” here in St. Joe, I’m really excited for the rest of the summer. I am so glad I pursued WOLC as my internship site. So far, I couldn’t be happier with the leadership and mentoring I’ve experienced in only a week.
I promised to update everyone on my first weekend, which I can’t do without mentioning 678. 678 is the middle school ministry that MYC has on Sunday mornings. I was able to help out with a girls small group during the service, and after service I helped out with 678 worship team practice. Helping raise up young song leaders will probably be one of the more influential things I’m able to do this summer. So far, I’ve begun to develop a few relationships with band members that will help build trust, connectivity, and encouragement as they continue to grow in this area of ministry.
In high school and my freshman year of college, Johny and I co-led a youth worship team at Lexington First Assembly. It was a great learning experience (as most youth ministry ventures are). Around the time the youth pastor, Anthony Nelson, left the church to begin plans for a Dream Center in Bethel, Alaska, John and I felt the call to move on with the next chapters of our lives, as well. For the last few years, I have remained thankful and fond of my time spent serving with Anthony at [EXP]. The name of the youth group was short for the word “expedition,” which was more than appropriate. For Pastor Anthony, for me, for Johny, and for many others, [EXP] was the launching pad for greater delving into ministry, calling, and worship renewal. Needless to say, my time serving as a leader there was invaluable, and I realize that now more than ever, thanks to some of my current internship duties.
Some of my “learning activities” this summer heavily involve the church’s youth ministry. Some things are more practical (setting up/tearing down the stage, learning/teaching vocal harmonies and keyboard fingerings, etc.), but nothing is as important as the relational element. I have worked with students a lot in the past, and I also have younger siblings, so I get the importance of that relationship development. Having someone to encourage you, teach you, hold you accountable, and mentor you can be extremely rewarding. Though I’m only here for ten weeks, I really want to strive to leave a mark on these students. If only one kid remembers his/her time with me fondly after I’ve gone, I will be so happy.
Serving in this capacity, after having done it once a few years ago, is refreshing. It’s a ministry I am familiar with, so it’s not intimidating. However, this time around, I’m hoping to learn from past mistakes and (hopefully) exemplify wisdom in the areas I have grown. When the initial “know-how” of this kind of work is out of the way, it’s easier to focus effortlessly on the personal, interpersonal, and spiritual aspects that make youth ministry worthwhile. So again, I’m thankful for my time at [EXP].
The Rest of the Weekend
Besides helping out with 678, the weekend mainly provided a lot of relaxation, as well as some opportunities for observation at church. WOLC has a weekly Friday evening service, which I attended. Then on Sunday, I went to church an hour early to observe band rehearsal. Word of Life has identical services at both 9 and 11am, so I went to the “main service” at 9, and then helped with the middle schoolers at 11 (which is the only time they have 678).
This is a pretty quiet town, so outside of church, I haven’t done much at all. Friday before church, Deborah took me to one of her favorite (and, um, one of the only) local restaurants in St. Joseph: Barbosa’s Castillo. It’s a Mexican joint owned and operated by the Barbosa brothers, whom Deborah went to high school with. They have really unique flour tortilla chips, which I had with hamburger-queso dip. I also had a pork burrito. Not too shabby!
On Saturday, I went to the local farmers market. It’s called the Pony Express Farmers Market, because St. Joe is the home of the Pony Express (fun fact). It had rained early that morning, so there weren’t many vendors there. But I did end up buying some local honey for only $4. I got in my car and decided to open the container of honey with my keychain pocketknife. Bad idea. The knife collapsed and sliced my right pinky finger. Ouch! The cut wasn’t bad, but because it was on a fingertip, it bled a ton. I stopped at the nearest business (a frozen yogurt place) and asked the lady working if I could have a bandaid and a glass of water to clean my car seat. She took me back to the kitchen and let me wash my hand. The napkin-wrapped hand in a pool of blood probably freaked her out just a little, so I felt bad for intruding on her. Talk about loitering to the max. Bless her heart. Her hands were shaking so badly as she put a bandaid on my finger. It’s healing up nicely now, but a finger injury was not exactly what I had in mind for a summer that was to include lots of keys-playing.
On the bright side, the honey is great! For lunch on Saturday I made honey-garlic shrimp with spiced red beans. For dinner Sunday, I made honey-garlic seared chicken breast. And then today, I made a honey iced latte. So I guess all of that makes up for a little finger slice.
There are a few things I’d like to ask you guys to pray about. First off, my finger (obviously). I think it’s fine, but I want it to heal quickly so I can get back to playing piano without having to be so cautious. I don’t want it to scar or cause any numbness to my finger pad. Like I said, though, it looks like it’s healing nicely as of right now. The human body is a pretty amazing thing.
Secondly, pray for my work with MYC and 678. As I said before, the relationships I form there could potentially be the most important of the summer. There is something really unique about helping form and encourage young students. Please pray that relationships form with ease, and that both I and the students remain receptive to the Holy Spirit in his leading this summer.
I’m about halfway through with the Peterson book I’m working on (Practice Resurrection), and I love it so far. I’m hoping to finish it within a week and I’ll let you guys know what I think when I do!
I’m excited for my second week of “work” (it doesn’t really feel like work when I am so hungry to participate in it). I’m especially looking forward to my meetings with Pastor Eric Stark. Last week, he filled our two hours of talk with an abundance of wisdom. It’s going to be a treat to talk with him every single week.
I hope you all have a great week! Also, heed the wise words of my mom: “Take care of your fingers. You need them.” Let my inattention serve as a PSA. Ha.