It’s taken me quite awhile to write this update, partially from exhaustion and partially from the sadness I feel knowing that the internship really is over. This summer radically changed the way I see God, his grace, his timing, and the mystery that is his love. Part of the emotions coming home consisted of sadness from hard goodbyes, but part of it really is from the way God has changed me from the inside out. There were so many joys and trials from this summer, I don’t know how anyone could leave this summer without experiencing God changing you. And because of that, this was the best summer of my life.
Ever since I get back, people ask how it was, and it’s so hard to answer that in one passing comment. Because most times, people ask as they see me going to class, or at church, or another setting where I can’t tell them all the beautiful things God did this summer. I feel like a safe response is, “it was so good,” because of all the good things that God did. Truthfully, when people ask me, I either feel like crying or rambling for an hour about how amazing it was. When we debriefed the summer, we learned that it’s so hard to explain to people who have never done the internship how deeply impactful it was, and really, it’s such a deep community that I can only ever share that with those who shared it with me. In a way, though, that’s such a sweet thing.
But, to sum it up, I can say that God pushed me in ways I was not comfortable being pushed. Isn’t it so sweet that we serve a God who loves us too much to leave us where we’re at? I feel like the summer has been a lesson in spiritual growth, amongst many things, and no one can leave unchanged. God really pushed me into being bold and courageous, something I’ve never been very good at, and how to have grace when you’re tired, hungry, sick, and drained. So, really, my two biggest weaknesses spiritually. Because Jesus didn’t stop having grace for us when he died on the cross, who am I to stop having grace for a student, an American team member, a fellow intern? Being tired is not an excuse to have an ugly heart.
A big thing for me that God really stretched me in was to stop comparing myself to other people. The only human that we can ever strive to be like is Jesus, and we have a beautiful creator who gave each of us gifts. Different gifts are not better than one another because God uses all of them for his kingdom. Comparison has always been something I struggle with and God gave me the chance to lean on him in that. Like I said, he loves us far too much to leave us where we’re at.
I’ve learned that if you can talk to teenagers, you truly can talk to anyone. You CAN eat too many potatoes. You can NOT drink too much Kofola. God is always good even when you can’t see what he’s doing. Spiritual warfare is real, but we’re on the winning side. Not carving time out for God is the surest way to have a bad day. Everyone is tired, there is no reason to say it out loud. However, rest is important; rest weekends are an intern’s ultimate blessing. It is not more or less important to minister to a total atheist student over a Christian student; meaning, if you spend your week encouraging the Christian girl who is looked down upon by her family and friends for being a Christian, that is just as important to the kingdom as finding the student who doesn’t know Jesus. Train rides are the best for naps, reading, listening to music, and having a quiet time. Tea is a staple and is consumed more than water, so make sure you drink water. Or you will get sick. Not you might. You will.
Dynamic community is hard to find, and Josiah Venture has pretty much nailed it. Team Scoot has nailed it. The last thing I’ll say is that I learned more about discipleship, being a good sister in Christ, and serving others than ever. There’s such a sweetness in having a community that supports one another, and you can lean on when you feel discouraged. I’m so serious, this internship was hard. This summer was hard. But Jesus is always worth it. If you’d like to pray throughout the year for the cities we worked with, pray for Trutnov, Prague, and Opava as they continue to grow their youth groups and disciple new believers. I hope you were able to see God at work throughout the summer, and we know that he will continue. For all of you that prayed this summer, truly, thank you. Your prayers were absolutely necessary and I encourage you to continue in praying for the youth of Central and Eastern Europe.
“What, then, shall we say? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31