This month I celebrate my 10-year anniversary with World Impact (working full time). If I could rewind 13 years to my first summer as an intern, I never would have never thought that I would be where I am seated – in Wichita. I kinda thought I would live and die in Chester, PA. But God had other plans; He had a journey that I never could have expected nor imagined.
Over the years I have had some unique experiences, times that have brought joy, pain, struggle and obedience. God has been faithful; He has protected me from bullets, words, heartache, and my own stupidity. He has also allowed me to find great joy in big things, small events and people growing in His truth. I have done some math that I think you might enjoy:
I have lived in 4 homes (soon to be 5), in 2 cities, in 2 states with 4 roommates (soon to be 5) and 2 interns.
I have spent 62 weeks at camp (sleeping in bunk beds) for weekend retreats, kid’s camps, winter retreats, teen camp, family camps, and actually working at a camp. That means I have chaperoned over 300 campers!
I have hosted dozens of sleepovers with more than 75 teenage girls crashing on pull out couches, in sleeping bags, on the floor or in chairs. This equals a LOT of pancakes, hundreds of rounds of SkipBo, and too many viewings of Parent Trap and the Princess Diaries. And I wouldn’t change a thing.
My roommates and I have had 1 wheelbarrow, 1 headlight, 2 windshield wipers, 1 camera, and $500 in gift cards stolen, and only the wheelbarrow was returned. Our neighbors Alex and Mike put word out, “Nobody messes with the girls,” and within 24 hours it was back. I love good neighbors.
I have had the honor of baptizing 4 followers of Christ, discipling 15 teen girls and leading weekly Bible Studies for over 6 years.
I have driven 15-passenger vans more miles than I count, but there was one week that I logged over 1,000 miles. To and from the Poconos to drop summer staff at camp; to and from the Jersey Shore – it was some of the teens’ first time to the ocean; and to and from Maryland, where we learned about the underground railroad and walked on the roads of Harriet Tubman. That trip was life changing.
During those years in Chester I became an adult. The teens and young people I became family with grew me, taught me, allowed me to mess up, apologize, and try again. I can’t imagine who I would have become without them. Miss Kim taught me about motherhood, pushing through when it is hard, loving your kids for who they are and growing amazing people. Miss Faye and Miss Debbie – these two ladies are the picture of sisterhood and grace – spoke up for education, always lent a hand, and showed me kindness always wins. There are dozens more parents who entrusted me with their children while I was still a child myself.
For 10 years God has always provided!
So, thank you, those who have prayed, visited, sent financial support, written notes of encouragement – God has used it all to build His Kingdom in urban America. You are more than partners in ministry, you are family – my spiritual family, and my Church family – that I have the privilege of celebrating 10 years of God’s goodness with.