12am wednesday morning Elevate 2014 came to a close. This program was one of the most pivotal and important experiences of my life. I learned that Our Lord is a relational and intimate Father and that my community will never leave me. Throughout the summer I tried to blog some of the most important and most interesting things that happened. However, I would like to apologize for the long and agonizing gaps in between each blog post. I promise that I tried very hard to keep up on it but quickly learned that working a 9to5, volunteering, spending time with my church family and coworkers, AND creating blog posts that were actually readable and interesting was a little bit a struggle. After the program I realized that some of the most amazing stories had not shared yet. Do not feel like you need to read them, but I will be continuing to blog about the funny, amazing and some tear jerking things that occurred during this trip. Thank you for all of your support and for your prayers. Prayer is something that more and more I am learning to turn to and I know that yours truly did make a difference in my life this summer. To the end of a summer and the beginning of a beautiful life long mission that is forever To Be Continued. . .
Last Night So last night was Wednesday ie our village and this week was my turn to lead with Alec Karena and Emily Dwyer. I was excited and yet super cautious to not make anything I said during sound scripted. I wanted it to sound real. We talked about finishing strong with our time here and knowing that there are harder things coming for us when we get home. It was awesome. My favorite part was when one of the girls in my room told everyone in village that just the day before she had fully accepted and stated out loud that she had accepted Jesus into her heart. She said things in the simplest terms explaining that she couldn’t describe the past two years of her life in any other way besides the fact that she felt like “she was dying inside”. Not a dry eye in the room after Emily shared with her family her transformation of true joy. After village the leaders said they had a surprise for us. BriannJones stood up and thanked us all for being a great village then he told us that we needed to go back to our rooms get our swim suits on and meet each other at the hotel lobby. “But” he said “we would love it if you guys could not talk while you’re doing that. Silently reflect back on what God had done for you and taught you this summer” A little weirded out but still willing to put our full trust in our leaders we followed instructions and were met at the lobby by our leaders who handed us a piece of bamboo with our names on it and a letter that we had written to ourselves at the beginning of the summer. It’s funny how I never seem to remember what I wrote in the ‘letter to yourself’ things… As we silently drive down to the each we read our letters and had a view into our past selves. My letter was definitely past me because I spoke about myself the whole time and not until the end did I talk about Christ. “Help me connect with my girls. . .help me connect with my coworkers.” Not until the end did I tell myself to remember how much I wanted to truly fall in love with Jesus. This hurt and was amazing all at the same time. I realized that the reason i even thought that my letter was being selfish was because I had in fact fallen love with Jesus, Lord of my heart who changed the desires of my heart. At the beach we gathered and walked silently up the beach together as a giant family. Up ahead we saw the light from many tiki torches, one for each room. Treasure Island’s tiki shine brightly as my roommates now my sisters circled around it. Our leader Alex left us together to pray for a while. We grabbed hands and prayed. My bed buddy Mari prayed last, emotion cracking her voice as she thanked God for us, for new confidence, and for His amazing love. When we opened our eyes Alex was standing over us tears in her eyes “amen” she whispered. Alex asked us to follow her to where our lead Drew and his wife Jane were standing just off in the distance by a larger fire pit on the beach. We sat in a line facing the darkness of the ocean. Jane then approached Alex who sat at the end of our line of Treasure Island girls. She spoke to Alex and then proceeded to wash her feet with a towel that she had wetted in the ocean. Then Alex got up and as Jane spoke individually with each girl in our room she washed their feet in completely gentleness and humility. I did not hear what Jane said until she reached me. “Megan,” Jane said “you have run the race and defended your faith here in La Jolla. I pray empowerment over you as we go back to Pullman knowing that God has chosen you to be a leader in our church.” When Alex had washed all of our feet we walked as a family back to our tiki torch filled with emotion and love and courage. Alex sat with us in our group this time as we went around the group and individually encouraged each person telling of the growth and maturity that we as women had gained in Christ that summer. Drew interrupted our time and called all of the rooms to the larger fire pit. He told us that we had done and amazing job living missionally in La Jolla, but we weren’t done yet, there was still work to be done. The temptation to slack off and not love our co-workers and others that we meet fully as Christ would have is as great as ever. Now is the time for us to act as Cortez did when he went to capture the unattainable treasure. No on had ever beaten the army that he was going up against. He decided that if he and his men were truly to be successful he was going to take the ultimate step of courage; Cortez chose to burn his own boats so that retreat was not an option. “This is how we will finish this program” Drew said, “Burn your boats and throw everything you have at this last little time we have here.” We knew it was coming…”So now, with reckless abandon, we are going to, all together as one giant family, run into and dive deep in the ocean.” Ahhhhhh! At 11:30pm my family of 70 people ran and jumped in the ocean. Immense joy filled me as I stood in the ocean and just watched my friends laughing, singing, screaming at the top of their lungs. These people are filled with the Holy Spirit and although this program will end soon, I get to go home with them, go to school with them, entire into battle for the next three years of life with them. God has wrecked our lives with His love and grace this summer and I can’t wait to bring it back to Pullman. To Be Continued. . .
This sunday my family (the girls in my room) woke up at 4:30am to watch the sunrise over the beautiful La Jolla. We drove for ten minutes up hill to Mount Soledad, grumbling and complaining at how early it was. We arrived at the top of the mountain where the La Jolla Veterans memorial is, a tall white cross stands unapologetically looking out over both La Jolla and Tijuana. We sat on the edge of the steps looking out over the mountains waiting for the sun to peak over the edge. Fog rolled in and made and erie covering around the memorial. I was filled with awe as I watch the sunlight slowly pouring over the world below us, filling the cities with light and warmth. Reminded at how small I was and how awesome God is we waited for a little bit longer to watch the giant life-giving sun advance higher into the sky. Leaving the mountain, me and my family were filled with peace and warmth that didn’t come solely from watching the sunrise. We then met with the rest of our village group so that we could leave our homes by 6:40 to drive to our church in Oceanside. I had previously (accidentally) volunteered to work in children’s ministries that day. I was not super stoked about it but I knew that they needed help so I agreed to fill in. Screaming, spitting, toddling, crying, any other adjective you can think of that describes kids who really just don’t want to be with you. Backstory: I have been really been missing my siblings lately and being around kids has been a little trying because none of them can live up to my brother and sister. The life that Madison and Matthew give off is amazing and I miss their smiles, their sensitivity, and their sweet spirits. I offered this pain that I was feeling up to the Lord and I felt a little better unbeknownst to me that God has a treat of me. I worked in the children’s area at church which was nothing short of “screaming running in circles, pooping, and crying” Fun. The Lord does have a sense of humor doesn’t he. After every church service we go to an event that Generation Church calls Come Hungry, which is basically just our church family getting together and eating a lot. At this particular come hungry a family that was new to the area and to Generation came to the event. This family, being no ordinary family numbering eight children strong, decided that they were going to permanently latch themselves to me the entire time. I’m talking four year old Jesse and Si, to fourteen year old Sam, I was fully occupied by their questions, funny remarks, and demands to be picked up and set down. I was so extremely overwhelmed both by the kid’s energy and also with the amazing love that God has shown me. I missed my family and therefore he sent one that “literally” embraced me with open arms.
To Be Continued. . .
I think that I’ve heard these songs every day since I got here. . .
Westfield Mall’s Corner Bakery is not like any other Corner Bakery. It is one of the most successful and because of this it has been chosen to be the training center for future managers and owners who will be apart of opening up new stores. The first day I began work I was told that there were tons of people in our store who were not usually there and who would be leaving for a different store in just a short while. Most of the extra people were trainee managers who would be moving up north to be apart of the new place in Temecula. Tensions run really really REALLY high because the new managers are a little unteachable and the current trainers at our site are very set in their ways. I’m not playing both sides but I do like all of the people and so I do a lot of listening to stories about who yelled at who and who was ‘wrong’ and very little speaking. I have tried to remain completely objective in all circumstances. Anyway, I say all of this to set up for probably one of my favorite moments of my entire time being in La Jolla so far. One day after shift, one of the manager trainees came up to me and was like “hey, did you just get off?” I was like HECK yes I did and I am sooooo excited to leave Immediately (I didn’t actually say that). I told her that I just got off and she asked me if I had a second. I had only spoken to this girl a couple of other times during which I had explained only slightly why I was down in La Jolla and what I was about. She looked really nervous and I was wondering why she, a manager, was nervous talking to me, the newly hired cashier who kept dropping cookies on the ground in front of the customers. Finally she looked at me and said “Um, hey, I was just wondering if I could talk to you about religion and stuff for a second.” . . .What. Excuse me? You would like to- . . .YES! (pantomime someone teeing another person up to swing a golf club). God could not have orchestrated a better time for her to ask that question; this was the last day that she would be training at our store I felt the weight of the situation immediately. We sat down and she asked me how I really ‘got into religion’. I asked if I could share my story with her and in doing this was able to share the gospel with her. She asked a lot of questions and seemed really interested. At the end of our conversation I asked her what she thought and she said that she knew that she had made the decision to accept Christ in the past but she was just finding her way back and felt really guilty for never going to church. I explained to her that its never been about going to church just to check it off of a list; Christianity is a relationship that has nothing to do with what we do and has everything to do with what Jesus has already done. “Its weird that I heard all of this as a little kid and it just makes so much more sense now.” I am praying this girl and for her heart; she did not make any decisions during our conversation but she did teach me something really important: she taught me that a huge part of living missionally is just being available. Please pray for my friend and for her heart. Pray for the opportunity to spend time with her again as she now lives almost two hours away from where my friends and I are staying in La Jolla. I am thanking God continually for your prayers and support.
To Be Continued. . .
I recently went to the Del Mar Fair with a couple of my co-workers from Corner Bakery. We walked into the fair with wide eyes and expectation and we walked out/rolled out full of gnarly fair food that I will never attempt to eat again.
The Short List of what we ate: Pineapple Chicken and rice, Krispy Creme Donut Triple Burger, Deep Fried Oreos, Deep Fried Cookie Dough, Turkey Leg, Fry Tower, Scones, Ice Cream, Fish and Chips, Cookie Crumbled Carmel Apple, and finally a giant glass of Lemonade to wash it all down.
…Loved every second of it…To Be Continued. . .