After surviving rush hour traffic in downtown Chicago, tricky I-pass lanes, torrential rains and fog through the night over the Smokey Mountains, and drivers who like to go over the speed limit, we arrived safely in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, last Wednesday, an hour before registration started! The trip was a blast; I became much better acquainted with the students driving down from Iowa State after spending two days in a car together, and also the students who joined us on the trip from North Dakota State, University of Iowa, and Kansas. God was certainly watching out for us as we never got lost or had any car problems or incidents, other than driving through the I-pass lane outside of Chicago.
I quickly realized that the weather here wasn't exactly what I expected. It rains, suddenly, furiously, and completely without warning, so it's always incredibly humid. The humidity makes it seem much hotter than it really is. Being as close to the beach as we are, we do get a nice breeze off the ocean, which helps a lot.
Speaking of the ocean, it's spectacular! I've always been fascinated by the ocean, and here it is truly amazing. I haven't had time to swim or even lay out on the beach yet, but hopefully I'll get to that this afternoon.
I have been on the beach, however. We went "sharing" Thursday and yesterday on the beach. Both times we got into good conversations with people, and twice we were able to go completely through the gospel with them. They were very open and interested; one woman had trusted Christ but was having doubts about her salvation, and we were able to encourage her in that, and three other college sophmore girls just didn't have a clear understanding of what the gospel was, and that it was through Christ alone that we come to God, and not our works. I truly believe that they understood what Christ had done for them by the end of our conversation, and it's in God's hands what they choose to do now. We know that we are 100 percent successful if we take the initiative to step out in faith and plant the seed!
Right now everyone is very busy trying to find jobs. With 94 students this year, and a tough economy, it's been more challenging than past years, but we are confident that God will provide. I have several applications out, and I'm still waiting to hear back. I don't need to start being concerned until Tuesday, but I would greatly appreciate your prayers about this. We really want to find jobs that can be mission fields for the gospel and practical places to show Christ's love and the difference he's made in our lives.
I'm living in a small apartment with 6 other girls, all from different schools. Four of us are in one room, and two in another. Luckily, we have two bathrooms! And we have several girls who are very good at organizing. Unfortunately, one of my apartment mates has pink eye, so we're all rather concerned, especially since another girl in my room thinks she may be getting it now too. So I would appreciate your prayer about that too, just that we would stay healthy and not infect the entire project.
I'm very excited about the things I'll be learning, and I know I'm already learning a lot about cooperation and patience! I've also notice my tendency to complain! I know God will keep working on me in these areas over the next ten weeks.
God really blessed me last night by giving me an opportunity to encourage someone who really needed it. Late Friday night I woke up at the sound of someone crying. Through our thin apartment walls, the phone conversation one of my roommate was having in the bathroom carried into my room, and from that I gathered that she had just broken up with her boyfriend of several months. My heart immediately went out to her, having known that pain that broken relationships cause, I can't imagine facing it far from home and surrounded by strangers. I noticed the next day that she wouldn't eat anything, and spent most of the time in her room. I was really struggling with how to approach this, because I'm not particularly skilled with dealing with girls. I planned to find our discipler and tell her what was going on, and ask her to go talk to her, but as the day wore on I never got a chance to pull her aside. I strongly felt the Holy Spirit's prompting to talk to my roommate, so last night when everyone else was at the park playing in or watching a softball game, I went back to our apartment and, scared to death, knocked on her door. I didn't have to say much, just that we were here for her and cared about her, and shared some of my experiences with her. After some tears and hugs, I left her with a good friend of hers. She's doing much better today, but continue to remember her in your prayers, as this will continue to be a difficult time for her. Please pray that God will continue to use me to encourage her and others as well, and that I will respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and not let my fear stop me.
One more cool story of God's awesomeness, and then I'll wrap up this lengthy update. Late last night, several Campus Crusade students and I were out on the beach, throwing around a frisbee or just talking, when we noticed a growing number of people with flashlights. I assumed they were looking for clams or shells, but Dan, a student from Kansas, stopped and asked them what they were looking for. "A four-year old boy," the man replied. He had gone missing about 15 minutes before. Quickly, we spread the word to the other Campus Crusade students, and before searching we gathered in a circle and said a prayer for the boy, and for his family. This area is known for it's deadly rip-tides, and in the dark, it's especially treacherous. We split into two groups and headed in different directions down the beach, calling his name. Not two minutes after we had prayed, word was passed down the beach that the boy was found. Not only that, but another group of Cru students farther down the beach had stopped and prayed at exactly the same time we did, and estimating the time it took for the news to spread, he couldn't have been found more than seconds after we prayed. God's power and sovereignty amaze me.
So with that said, I'll leave you with the scripture passage God gave me during my morning devotions on Thursday: 2 Thess. 3:1-5. 1Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. 3But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance.
Amen to that! I'd love to hear from you all! Thank you for your support and prayers! Enjoy your Sunday afternoon!