We competed in a cooking contest. I'm cutting onions.
It's now week two of project! God has done amazing things over the last two weeks, one of which is providing me with a job! Tuesdays are outreach nights, when as a project we go out to different areas around town and initiate conversations that hopefully lead to the gospel. Well the Tuesday night last week, my Bible study was sent to Main Street, so my roommate Laura and I walked up and down and around, trying to find people to talk to. We chased down one lady, but as we were going through the quest survey questions and said the word "Christian," she said, "You lost me there," and walked away. We tried to talk to two more girls, but they told us they weren't interested either. As we continued up the street, we came across a couple standing outside of a restaurant. We said hello, and struck up a conversation. They said that their friends had just opened the restaurant, and were giving free samples inside. After talking with them a little more, we explained that we were with Campus Crusade for Christ. Come to find out, they were very familiar with the organization and actually hired a few students every year at one of the Dunkin Donuts they opperated. They asked if we had jobs, and Laura already did, but I told them that I hadn't been hired yet. They took us inside and introduced us to the couple that owned the shop. They told me that they didn't think they would actually need any help, especially full time, but they took my name and number anyway. After talking with them for a while, I discovered that they were actually a Christian couple, and they had many amazing stories of God's provision as they opened their first coffee and donut shop. Well, only a few hours later, I got a call from them saying that they'd talked it over and wanted to hire me, and they wanted me to come in the next morning for work! I actually cried, it was such an amazing example of a divine appointment! I get to work with two Christian bosses who treat me like a part of their family....not to mention I get to sell donuts! It's a very fun job; we sell coffee, sweet tea (of course!), smoothies, milkshakes, donuts, bagels, and soon we're going to add sandwiches. It's been great to see the business grow. The first few days were kind of iffy, but we're doing pretty well now. Please continue to pray for my employers as they seek to use their finances wisely.
That same outreach night, we finally gave up on Main Street and went to the beach, where we began talking to two ladies digging for shells in the sand. We didn't even go through the survey questions with them, we told them why we were here, and then we pretty much just listened for the rest of the time while they told us their stories. They were both believers, but had rejected organized religion because of the hypocrisy they saw in the church. One lady, Janelle, was an evangelist who works with charities for homeless people, and she was struggling with a lot of doubts about not only the church, but even God and Christianity, as a result of the unkindness she'd experienced at the hands of other Christians. We honestly didn't say much the entire conversation, except to try to encourage her in her walk with Christ, but mostly we just listened with compassion. Janelle begged us to pray for her, and we did so, and at our sharing time afterwards asked the rest of the students to be in prayer for her also. So I would like to ask you readers to take a moment now and ask for God's truth to cut through the entangling lies of Satan that are dragging Janelle down into doubt and disbelief.
The rest of the week was full of activities with our impact group (a guy's Bible study that's teamed with us), work, discipleship, and outreach. Our discipleship times include outreach, or sharing, as we call it, on the beach, but for most of the week it I really didn't get into any good conversations. For some reason, I just felt like my heart wasn't in it. My daily quiet times were distracted and unfocused, and I was struggling with impatience. Also, the high school seniors have arrived in full force to drink and party for a week. They're all around us, and literally everywhere, which was very overwhelming at first.
We got honorable mention for our table decor (my idea! yes!)
Slaying the Giants
The staff men take turns preaching for our meetings, and on Sunday night Mike spoke on the story of David and Goliath. I've heard that story preached on countless times before, but once again it convicted me of my own fear of the giants in my life. His challenge to us was to make an evangelism goal for the next week which included a number of initiated conversations, gospel presentations, and then one extra area that was a big "giant" of fear for us that we would slay through the power of the Holy spirit. He asked us, "If you had one week to share the gospel, what would that week look like? Act as if this were that week."
As challenging as that was, on Monday I still didn't take the initiative to find people to go sharing with. Tuesday night, outreach night, I went sharing with a staff member. We talked to two ladies on the beach, one who was obviously a believer and a Lutheran, and her niece who was Baptist, but was going through a lot of struggles. We gave them tracts, and Marge, the Lutheran lady, was very excited because a few of her grandchildren were coming to visit soon and she planned to share the gospel with them using the tracts. It's amazing how the gospel can mushroom!
After that conversation, we really couldn't engage anyone in conversation for a very long time, and I started feeling really discouraged. I started wondering, "Why am I here? God, I thought you brought me here to share the gospel, so why aren't you leading us to anyone?" Just as I was thinking that, the staff lady I was with, Sherri, began asking me questions about what lead me to decided to come to North Myrtle summer project. Having to think through the events that lead up to it and all the reasons I was excited to come really rejuvenated me and pumped me back up. Then we turned the corner and met up with a woman and her daughter and daughter's best friend. We went through our survey questions with them and briefly covered part of the gospel, and from their answers I really believe that they were believers, but they just didn't use the common terms that we were used to. They were also really excited to receive the booklets from us!
Yesterday as part of my discipleship time I went sharing with my discipler, Kim, and one of my roommates, Becky, and as we arrived at the beach we took turns praying. Kim prayed that God would guide us to some girls with open hearts that we could connect well with, and not ten seconds after she said "amen," we spotted two girls sitting by themselves. Kim told us that Becky and I were going to have to initiate and do everything, and she'd just be there to help if we needed it. She also told me that I should go throught the booklet with them, not knowing that that was actually my giant for the week. So when we got close I started the conversation, and it just took off. They talked to us for a few minutes before we could even explain why we were there! They were more than happy to take the survey, so we sat down with them and began going through the questions.
We connected with them right away. They were both so friendly and sweet, and really, really talkative! It took us a while to get through the survey, and in answer to the last question, "From 1 to10, rate your desire to know God," they both answered with an emphatic 10. One of the girls, Rita, said she'd actually been thinking about it for the last month. So from there I began going through the booklet with them, with plenty of insights from Becky and Kim. They had so many questions, and so much to say about every point, it took us an hour and a half to get to the prayer! I was wondering a few times, "God, how are we going to bring this conversation back around to the booklet?" But He always made a way!
By the time we got to the prayer, they both had a very clear understanding of the gospel, and both realized that they needed to take that step, but they were not quite ready to yet. It was a little sad, because I really thought they were going to, but they are really, really close. We invited them to our meeting on Thursday night, which is tonight, and they both wanted to come and bring their friends. They really want to hang out with us more, so I'm hoping that we'll be able to get together with them again. Their names are Rita and Julie. They're both from a Catholic background, and are here to party with their senior class for the week. Pray that God will have his hand on them for safety, and also that he will keep convicting them through the Holy Spirit, so that they would take that step of faith and give their lives to Christ. They are both so close!
Every student must choose a ministry team to be a part of, either the community team, weekly meeting team, worship team, prayer and world vision team, outreach team, or operations team. The students in the praise bands are automatically on the worship team, and every Impact group has to have at least one person on every team, and not more than two per team. Prayer and World Vision was my first and only choice, and I'm very excited to serve on it. Our first meeting is tonight, and we're going to plan some activities to motivate students to be in prayer, and give them a heart for the world!
Please be in prayer for me, that I won't get discouraged, and also that I'll meet my goals for initiating conversations and presenting the gospel this week.
I've lately been struggling a little also because I feel like many of the messages are things I've heard before, and they're over things I already know and understand. Our Bible study is great, I've enjoyed SO much digging into the book of Mark with my roommates and discipler each week, and I'm learning so much from that, and we have binders full of materials on tons of different topics which is very helpful, but I feel like sometimes the messages with the whole group aren't applicable for me, which isn't the right attitude to have. I should be able to take something away from every service, no matter who's preaching or how well they preach, so I know I just need an attitude adjustment, and maybe I just need to listen harder and dig a little further into the passage or topic until I find something more.
Psalm 67 is our theme passage for the Prayer and World Vision team, and I would like to include it here as a prayer that really expresses our desire for the high school students and other people we meet here. We want the whole earth to have a chance to hear the gospel! Pray that we will have compassion for these shepherdless masses, just like Jesus does.
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine upon us,
Selah 2 that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.
3 May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.
4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples justly
and guide the nations of the earth.
5 May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.
6 Then the land will yield its harvest,
and God, our God, will bless us.
7 God will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth will fear him.
Amen! Praise God that through him, we already have the victory! Have a great week, and please keep in touch with me! I'd love to hear what God is doing in your lives too!