God has been providing me with new adventures and ways to serve Him daily. I never fully know what to expect, and it is always amazing. There is the usual run-of-the-mill work that has to get done and there is always something new that needs done, but the best parts of each day are unexpected—a surprise run-in with someone, a chance to pray for someone in the Spirit, a new connection or opportunity. It’s always interesting.
The past couple of weeks have been excellent. We have had several unique opportunities to make connections with new groups. We now have about seven or eight congregation members waiting for training to join small groups or attend the international themed game nights. We also made new connections with some people interested in spreading the word about fair trade and, especially, better-than-fair-trade coffees and products; we will also be helping with some alternatives to Oktoberfest and have about eight new students signed up as interested in small groups. (Oh, and our second international themed game night had about ten international students in attendance).
I have made several awesome personal connections with students and individuals, as well. I am very excited to see what God has in future. One more note—I see a strong potential in the later future to open up a full-service coffeehouse with semi-regular hours to act as an interaction hub. It would possibly go by the name ‘Common Grounds’. It’s on the location we use for international themed game nights and game-nights (the non-international themed game night is themed as alternative to drinking). While this has been part of the vision for awhile, I am really starting to see some of the full potentials it could have and am excited to see what God has planned with it. I also see opportunities for the third year our small groups are in effect to reach out and touch the community powerfully. It is all distant and uncertain as of yet, but very exciting.
In other news I have invited three individuals to prayerfully consider eventually joining a board of directors (that would pray to make sure we are moving in the direction of the Spirit) and have about seven students who are considering leadership (several have already committed). Whew! What an update, huh? I’ll try to update things more regularly so I don’t have to include so much information… Now, I have had several people ask about what is in a ‘typical day’ for me. I don’t have many typical days, but I figure I’d include an excerpt about August 25th to give some people and idea of a day before the ministry was really in full swing. (I’ll include a sample of a more recent day later).
Aug 25. My alarm was beeping and I REALLY didn’t want to get up. I hit the button and lay there awhile but knew I had a ton to do. So, I sat up and got around. While I showered I prayed some and was able to listen enough to get a better perspective on my day. At 7:45 a.m. I got to work on some files to advertise the ‘Get Plugged In’ event on campus… One PowerPoint and 48 miniature table tent inserts cut to a specific size.
I biked those over to campus and worked with the Center for Student Involvement to get the last of our advertising permissions taken care of. Afterwards, I headed to my 9:00 a.m. meeting at First Church of the Nazarene. No one was there so I had an opportunity to sit down and pray more heavily and read some scripture, which really got me set up to do my day right. I also had a chat with Chartlwells food service via phone about what they would allow churches to give out food-wise at our event. The pastor arrived shortly and I was able to share about Unite and learn some about his church and its dynamics. I then made it home in time to do some financial work related to my non-profit status. I figured out I needed to bike down to Commerce bank and took care of some business. (While there I ran into an old acquaintance and we decided we’d have to catch up). By the time I was done I just had time to swing by the house and bike out to Wal-Mart for the chalk we needed for sidewalk chalking on campus to advertise the ‘Get Plugged In’ event at 2:30. I purchased that and some other materials, headed back home, and after making a few more calls to several area churches headed to campus.
Chalking the sidewalks about our event was actually a lot of fun—part way through some of the others got creative and so did I. I believe the chalking was some of the most unique of any advertising Ft. Hays events, and I hope it got people’s attention. Afterwards I had to immediately bike to High Plains Baptist Church all the way up by the Sternberg Museum. I had a really good chat with the youth pastor there and felt like the Spirit made some important connections. I was also blessed to be able to pray for Him in the Spirit…. It was the second point in my day during which I was powerfully reminded how much God answers our little prayers and how amazing He is….
Since I was right next to the hospital I decided to stop by and say hi to a few people and set up a meeting with the hospital chaplain (I have been told by several people that he and I need to chat about the international themed coffeehouse night). I also met two old friends/acquaintances and loosely set up some times to catch up. On the return bike trip I dropped by the farmers market for some fresh produce and made it home just in time to eat a tomato and an apple, drink a TON of water, and bike out to meet a college student friend of mine for supper at Taco Bell. (I also saw a friend driving by and reminded her that we need to catch up soon).
We had a really great chat about a bunch of good things, and I was excited to learn that he’s accepted my offer to be on the Unite leadership team. Not only that, but he and I will start to meet weekly to go through a Bible study together. I had a really good time with him all-around and was excited to be able to encourage him in a few things. God has greatly blessed me with that friendship.
I left and biked straight to the church for youth group. After fun with a hand-made trebuchet, we went inside and I noticed I was being distracted from listening to the Spirit by many of my relationships/friendships there (I love all the kids, so how do I know who to talk to when?). I prayed that the Spirit help me listen and hear His voice and follow Him. Interestingly enough, though I hung out with several (and I never know how impactful that may be), it was a prayer that only became very apparently answered near the end of youth group. I had the opportunity to pray with a young man who I am VERY proud of and who is on the cusp of a big decision over Christ. He either wishes to follow all out or not at all, and has been hanging in the tight place in the middle. I prayed for Him earnestly in love and in the Spirit, and I sincerely hope that we will meet this weekend. I want to listen.
I then started chatting with a couple who helps out when I sensed a VERY heavy weight on them in the Spirit. It was almost palpable. They agreed to let me pray for them, and I just knew I was supposed to. I prayed over several things I knew I needed to, and then we had a truly important conversation about some very difficult things going on in their lives. I now will continue to pray for them and the young man I met with. I am also praying for discernment for a college friend and over a potential college Sunday school class at church. Afterwards I briefly had fun speaking with several of my friends and biked home… This brings me to 10:49 p.m. as I type here and now. Yet ahead almost for certain is some event card descriptions and designs tonight (possibly some printing tomorrow if I get too tired to finish it tonight) and above all anything unknown that the Spirit brings up.
I knew in my day that I would need to get advertising done for campus, attend two meetings, chalk, and attend youth group. If I had just prayed briefly in the mornings but then disengaged from God and gone about my day in my own power as I used to, I believe that I may well have missed the most valuable parts of my day. It is only through continually asking the Spirit to lead me and for Him to help me hear His voice and see the spiritual battle around me and where I should walk that I am able to live true life… and that life is SO much more exciting than my old life used to be. I NEVER know what God has planned for the day. It truly is an unforeseen adventure. I have some ideas ahead of time, and usually most of those do happen (though not always the way I expect), but ultimately what really matters are the things He shows me as He helps me listen. Praying with all three people (the youth pastor, the student, and the couple) and spending time with my college student friend over supper/setting up our Bible Study (and running into four friends/acquaintances to catch up with in near future) were not in my plans AT ALL…. but each of them feels like it had the Spirit involved. Not knowing what will come and trusting God to guide actually creates a fuller and more adventurous life than ANY we could hope for… End of August 25th…