Hola Hola, Amigos!
Oh my goodness! Where has February gone?! It has been a whirlwind month for me! The month of love was filled with just that – support and encouragement from the people who love me the most. It has been truly sweet!
This month wasn’t a monumental month, although there were a few memorable moments, it was more a month of maintaining. By the beginning of February, my Development Plan was in full swing. I have been more involved in Rock City Youth, I am being challenged weekly in my discipleship lessons with Pam and by mid-February, my counselor affirmed that we were accomplishing what we had set out to do! My favorite part of each week has been spending a few hours at home with my two favorite guys – Dad & Dewey! Last, but definitely not least, are my Spanish lessons! I have a long way to go before I am even close to fluent, but speaking, writing and listening in Spanish is becoming more natural.
Being able to maintain my Development Plan means being able to trust that God has me in the palm of His hand and that He has already mapped out this part of my life. Somewhere right around the middle of the month, being in Columbus no longer felt like being stuck. It began to feel comfortable and I became settled in the situation. I was no longer panicked or anxious about not knowing when I will move to San Salvador. Any obstacle that has been tossed into my path, God has removed in His perfect way. I know that I will move there soon and that whatever happens between then and now, it is all part of God’s plan and His hands are all over my life.
On January 18th, Rock City Church began their annual 21 Day Fast. Rather than giving something up this year, I chose to add something into my life. I didn’t remove anything from my life because I feel like I have been in a season of God taking things from me. He took my plans for leaving in December and He took my control over knowing and deciding when I would leave. So instead of giving up even more when I am already in a season of deprivation, I added in daily, focused prayer time. Every morning at 6am, I crawled out of bed and fell (sometimes literally!) to my knees in an hour of prayer to God. I wanted to be in conversation with God before anyone had a chance to text me, like my Instagram post, tag me on Facebook, or otherwise distract me from my Creator. Some mornings were awesome and the hour would fly by. Other mornings, I tried and failed at praying while sitting up in bed (“I’m awake! I’m listening, God. I’m herrrreee….zzz…”). The fast ended February 7th and to be honest, I was thrilled to have my extra sleep back in the morning. Although I was slightly better rested, my days were less purpose-driven. Not having my morning time with God (even the failed prayer mornings) took away the conviction of knowing that whatever happened, God’s got it under control. So I am now adding that dedicated morning prayer time back into my schedule a few times a week.
One of my favorite nights from February was an evening at Youth Pastor Amanda’s home. The Rock City Youth Core Leadership Team gathered for our monthly Family Dinner Night. We got close & comfy on the couch, shared praises of what has been going well in Youth and what needs modified. But before we got down to business, Amanda’s husband, Josh, joined us to lead us in an acoustic worship session on his guitar. It was such a precious time, sitting with some of my closest friends, giving God all our praise. After a few songs, we each shared where we were feeling weak and could use some extra prayer and we prayed over each other while Josh continued playing in the background. With our hearts out in the open, we were ready for God to make moves through us in the Youth of Columbus. We spoke truth to one another, sang each other’s praises and laughed – a lot. At one point, I stopped talking, stopped laughing, and just took it all in. I have been so very blessed to be surrounded by people who share my heart for Youth Ministry. The leaders of Rock City Youth have been my family for a year and a half. When I stopped to appreciate the moment, I realized once again just how much I am going to miss these people when I move. I completely empathize with Paul when he wrote,
For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
February held an especially sweet memory – Ali Howard returned back home to Columbus! She spent looooong 3 weeks away visiting San Salvador and attending Reliant’s New Staff Training so that she can begin building her ministry team! Ali will be moving to San Salvador full-time to serve at the Children’s Centers in Guayabo and Soyapango. It’s kinda cool to think that she will minister to the children while they are in elementary school and then she will hand them off to me when they’re old enough for youth group! My friendship with Ali was definitely unexpected but quickly turned into one of my most treasured relationships. There hasn’t been one day since we both confessed wanting to move to San Salvador full-time that I haven’t thanked God that we are going through this process together.
For over a year now, I have had the pleasure of being discipled by my mentor Pam. Two weeks ago, I began taking what she has taught me and pouring it into someone else. Many of you know of Olivia, one of the sophomore Rock City Youth girls that has permanently taken up space in my heart. Olivia loves Jesus with all of her heart and I actually got to baptize her last spring! She is now in a place of her faith journey where she wants to know all she can about God and His Word. This provided a beautiful opportunity for me to practice discipleship from the other point of view! Olivia and I are working our way through the book of Philippians, discussing how Paul’s words speak to us and what confuses us. We are also spending time simply being in awe of a God who can take a man who one was murdering Christians and the next, that same man preached the Gospel and wrote a huge chunk of the New Testament. I am really excited to see where God leads Olivia and me on this journey. I am even more excited to hear how Olivia will take what she learns from our time together and passes it on to someone else. The process of discipleship is truly neverending!
It has taken almost three months, but I am finally resting in God’s plan and actually enjoying it! Until I move to San Salvador, I am continuing to lean into God’s sovereignty and trusting in His word when He tells me,
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Thank you all for your continued support! Each and every one of you is allowing God to work through you to encourage me to persevere on. The following verse from Hebrews speaks so clearly to me in this season of my life. Because I am surrounded by a cloud of people who love and support me, I am all the more able to banish from my life the evil one’s attempts to slow me down or stop me altogether. It is with your help and your love that I am able to focus on God’s purpose for me, no matter where in the world I am.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
- For Rock City Youth as we travel to Canton, Ohio, March 3-5 for Love is Red, a Youth and Young Adult conference with the vision of “developing leaders and inspiring students to know God and to make Him known.” I got to go last year, and it is a beautiful thing to watch students from all over the country raise their arms in surrender to Jesus.
- Friendships will be built and faiths will be strengthened. As my girl, Olivia Shank said when my departure got delayed, “Hey! This means you get to go to Love is Red, RIGHT?!” Right on, amiga!
- Next week’s Rock City Youth Night! We will be hosting an anonymous Q&A with a panel of youth leaders!
- For Ali as she begins building her Ministry Support Team! This season of ministry is one that requires much perseverance, but inevitably draws us closer to God. Sign-up to follow her journey here!
- Rock City Church’s first mission trip of the year to San Salvador! Our Beyond Our Walls Director, Nate, leaves with a team of missionaries on March 5th to serve the people of San Salvador. Lives are going to be changed! Gracias Dios!
For continued endurance and the ability to “relax and enjoy the journey in God’s presence.” (Jesus Calling)
be cheerful no matter what // pray all the time // thank God no matter what happens.
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