Wow, how can I wrap up two life-changing months of my life into such a small synopsis? I don’t know how to describe how the intense, weekly bible-study on Colossians, the Monday-night evangelism in Gatlinburg, the discipleship, the numerous hours spent in the Word and with the Lord, my job at the Dollywood, the laughter and tears I shared with my team, or the incredible community and fellowship truly and deeply rocked my world.
What did God teach me while I was in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee?
Patience. I learned to purposefully slow down, rest and wait. I worked 40 hours/week and woke up early every morning to attend various Navigator training events. I had to intentionally seek rest in Christ so that I would be renewed daily. Gradually, I gave up different areas in my life to allow room to trust in God’s plan and timing in ways that I have never done before. Also, before STP, I expected to “learn something new” each time I had a quiet time or read the bible. This summer, instead of quantifying my relationship with the Lord, I experienced what it is like to dwell in community with Him. I learned to worship God, not just work for Him.
Purpose. This past year, I have struggled to see why God made me the way that I am or what He has for me at UNF. However, this summer, I experienced God’s grace concerning my faults and found that He loves me dearly and has a specific purpose for me. With this profound identity and purpose in Christ, I now see my friendships, my role as a leader, my time and my thoughts in a new light. I have found that I delight in equipping these areas to enhance God’s kingdom.
God transformed me in ways that I had not realized was possible and in areas that I never knew I needed to grow in. This program stretched me emotionally, physically and spiritually in such a way that God flipped my world upside down and regained my trust and dependency on Him. I am incredibly excited to go back to University of North Florida (UNF) and disciple others, take up leadership roles (including leading a bible study!), and make time for purposeful community and interactions with other students in my classes and in my campus ministry, RUF.
Thank you so much for the ways that you have prayed for, encouraged, and financed me this summer. I was constantly uplifted by the thought of all the people who were supporting me in my desire to know Christ and make Him known in a truer, more full way. I am excited to see all the ways that God wants to bring His kingdom to UNF this fall; please pray that God will do big things through me!