This has been an inherently exhausting season. May, for us, marks the end of a university calendar and the beginning of planning for a new one. This usually includes, but is not limited to: the year in review, event planning for the fall, think tanks, brain dumps, fundraising, traveling and sharing our story, rearranging lives and bedrooms (I'm an addict, I confess… my friends know this about me and it is not uncommon for them to come over and say, 'Oh you changed things again!'), the list goes on. My point is that it's a season of shifting gears for us and it usually comes at the perfect time. The time at which you find yourself repeatedly saying, "OK if I triple book myself one more time, I am physically going to combust." Ministry is bliss... in a very serious sense. I love my job and I can't imagine doing anything else with my life right now, but, at times, it is HARD in the fullest sense of that four letter word.
Something is very different about this season we are shifting gears into though. It is filled with a lot of 2nd guessing. That may sound startling to those of you that know the direction we are headed. But, hear me… I mean 2nd guess in the sense of, "We shouldn't get that because it won't pack well." or "Yes! That's the one absolutely, wait, no, never mind… we should save that space for something else instead." I'll find myself dreaming about packing a Uhaul… the perfect way, to get everything that is "necessary" into the truck and into our new home, thousands of miles away. All my fellow A-type organizational freaks have my back on that one. The WORST or, rather, the HARDEST… has been all the "lasts".
Not to be dramatic, but goodbyes are hard. We can never prepare enough for them… no matter the form they come in. I have spent a decade in this small college town. Working full time for the past three years for this ministry has been the best decision of my life. It is FULL and RICH of lives changed and reborn in the name of Jesus.
This shot was taken at our last Chi Alpha service of the year. 44 students were baptized!
My last resource group here at Sam. That's Annie on the guitar. Couldn't be more proud and excited to hand things off to her and see where she takes the group next year.
In this ministry, we count it a privilege to see the fruits of labor and the Spirit in an individual. Sometimes our blood, sweat and tears over a student can seem relentless and even null. Then there is the strange and even rarer occurrence that we see whole families changed over one student's obedience and courage to follow after the Lord. The young man getting baptized below is a result of this sort of courage, that his sisters first took about seven years ago. These stories are my absolute favorite.
My wild resource group that I led. I am going to miss this bunch of crazies! I wish I could stick every one of them in a suitcase with a one way ticket to AK. I wish you could know each of them personally, their hearts are massive and lovely.
My last super source meeting of the year. Follow me here… small group leaders have a resource leader and resource leaders have a super source leader. It's healthy, and it's more people we get the opportunity to share life with! It was a beautiful night.
I have shared an office with these hard working folks for a couple of years now and they will be greatly missed. They are seriously some of the greatest humans I know. In the fall, David and his wife will be headed to Chile to help plant a student ministry, Lisa and Scroggins will be joining a team in the Czech with the same heart for student ministry, and for now the rest will stay here at SHSU.
We took this at our last staff meeting. Lisa Lou is what I call her. She has been a dear friend to me for several years. This woman wears patience like a glove. I will miss our mid day desk chats and bike riding dates. The Czech is about to get a gem.
My man snapped some shots of my resource gals and I last week. Brytnie on the left just went through our leadership training class and will be taking over for Johonna and Gwen's small group in the fall. They graduated and are heading full steam into their nursing careers. These girls have the best work ethic I have ever seen in a student. Long hours of clinicals, studying anatomy and care plans only to be followed by hours of pouring into girls and hard conversations. They are my heroes.
These winners below are handsome with bright and bushy imaginations. They aren't a "last" in my book, in fact the two on the left will be with us in Alaska. They are just a sweet reminder to take every day for what it is. I know my time here in Texas is coming to an end but I am hopeful and excited for what the Lord has for us in Alaska. We get to start all of THIS all over again. From the ground up. We will be the first Chi Alpha group in the state of Alaska.
This season has spurred me to hold fast to the passage in Isaiah 61. The life we lead is truly an everlasting joy. Using the words of the William Borden, missionary to China, "May there be no reserves, no retreats, no regrets." This has been my list of "lasts" but they are not lost. They will be carried in my heart into this next season of life. They will push me to new lengths and new opportunities in the last frontier, and for them I am eternally grateful.
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.