As my summer working for Student.Go in Perry County was coming to an end, I realized that I had one more thing to do before school started. That was debriefing.
At first I thought, oh great, I am tired beyond belief and I want to sleep. I want to see my family. I want to do anything, but postpone my few solitary hours of alone time before my junior year of school starts. Please, God, let this mandatory assignment be as painless as possible.
Selah Vie was the theme for Student.Go's debriefing this year. At first I thought it would be one of those corny get together times where everyone does get-to-know-you games, team building exercises, and midnight pranks. Ya, well, some of it was, but the majority of our debriefing was spent on the translation of Selah Vie, which is, Pause Life.
I get a chance to press the PAUSE button on LIFE?
Is this allowed in God's ministry?
Are we allowed to have a time of reflection and rejuvenation?
When we first arrived, Bethany and I had to run to the Chapel for our first session. We listened to a man preach about what the next few days would be like-relaxing and reflecting. Was I pumped or what?
Then it happened. Small group time. Yep, I was about to be placed in a group of strangers and we were going to tell about one of the most memorable experiences that we had all summer. Being the extrovert that I am, I usually would jump at this situation. Unfortunately I didn't know what the summer felt like to me. I hadn't had time to sort through the emotions, the lessons learned, or what the end of something amazing would feel like.
It happened; every memorable experience came to me at once! Sitting in that circle with all the other Believers, knowing that our compassion matched, I wanted to tell every story of anger, relief, love, and compassion I had. I wanted to make every person in that circle feel the same way I do about Perry County and how much it needs our attention. I was a ball of mixed emotions-not knowing whether to cry or laugh, shout or be silent. All I knew was, I had too much to say and I didn't know how to say it.
That's all that happened. The first experience that came to mind is what came out of my mouth. I couldn't weigh out which experience was worthy of telling. They are all worth their own time. So, I went for the first one that came to mind.
I told them about a girl that I tutored all through June. To the people she has known all of her life-her family, her friends, her counselor; her teachers-she was hopeless. She wasn't worth the extra time and effort in school. She was going to be like the rest of her family. Pop out kids, collect a check, drop out and be another statistic for scholars to mark on their reports on rural poverty.
That wasn't happening on my watch. God gave me a desire to give her hope. To tell her that God's plan is different.
Her turn-around was amazing. God calls us to be encouragers. This student taught me why. All she needed was someone to tell her she could finish school, she could defy her odds, and she was better than what she was giving herself.
By the middle of June, she was almost completely finished with both of her summer school courses. Think about it. She had two courses that were supposed to take a semester, each, to finish. She was passing them in a fourth of the time. Amongst all of her adversity, she finished. She received her passing grades and now she is one more year closer to achieving her goal of graduating. All because of the compassion God gave me.
At the end of the small group, I realized that sometimes jumping out of the boat might be scary, might be time consuming, and it might backfire, but the jump is completely divine. It's God who will keep me afloat and give me strength to do His will so that people like this student may see the way, the truth, and the life shine through me.
In all, the debriefing experience proved to be worth it. I rested, rejuvenated, and truly paused life to listen to God. By reading this blog you can obviously see why. :) I have had more time since debriefing to reflect. With regret, not all of those reflections can be posted. I know you would be bored. Haha.
It's now the second week of school and I gotta tell ya, Judson sure looks different. Living in Perry County really opened my eyes this summer. Well, that's another story for another blog.
See you soon,