(the beautiful Rockbridge Alum Springs in Goshen, VA)
I am forever indebted to my own sweet young life leader, Susan,
for the way her life still shines such light into mine.
(Taylor, Susan, and I at last year's Committee/Leader weekend-
what a sweet legacy Susan passed down through my life into Taylor's!)
"Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.
Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith."
For the past 3 1/2 years I have had the privilege of playing that role in my own high school girls' lives. I have made some big mistakes, I have battled pride and arrogance and bitterness, I have experienced triumphs and disappointments, I have cried hard and laughed harder, I have watched girls go from death to life, I have made some of the closest friends I could have ever dreamed of- but more than anything else, since that weekend I have gotten to be a part of one of the sweetest ministries I have ever seen- a ministry I plan to be involved in for the rest of my life if God will allow it.
I remember laying on the grass one night at camp all by myself looking up at the brilliant night sky thinking that if what the speaker was saying was true, I wanted it- and I wanted it bad! I remember my body shaking and tears pouring down the sides of my face as the reality of God's love hit me for the first time. I'd heard of "God's love" for my whole life, but that night was the first time that I felt it.
"I once was lost, but now I am found"
"Since what may be known about God is plain to them,
because God has made it plain to them.
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-
his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen,
being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."
He made himself plain to me and I realized that I was without excuse. My life was changed that weekend in ways that I understood then and in ways that I have only recently begun to see.
"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
This weekend we are taking 45 beautiful girls with us to Rockbridge. For some of them it will be the first time that they have ever heard the gospel. For others it will be the first time they've ever heard truth in a way that is understandable and it will rock their worlds (this was me six years ago!). Still others are coming as our teammates- speaking out boldly for the Lord who is transforming their lives to this day. Fall Weekend is so different from summer camp- by the time summer comes around we've had the chance to earn the right to be heard with most of our girls and that just isn't the case for this weekend. There are girls coming on this trip that we have never met and then there are girls coming who are like our sisters. This trip is going to be a whirlwind on so many fronts- so I ask that you would be lifting us up before, during, and after the weekend (we leave Friday at 7pm and the journey will continue long after we return Sunday afternoon around 1pm). Pray that the speaker's words would fall on open ears and receptive hearts (how cool is it that the speaker this weekend will be the same that spoke for my first trip to Rockbridge all those years ago?!). Pray for open doors for us to have real conversations. We always say that Fall Weekend is a sprint- it is honestly over before we know it. But I believe with my whole heart that this weekend is a perfectly planned gift and every single girl has been entrusted to us for a specific purpose- if only we are bold enough to embrace it. So pray that we would.
(Last year's group of girls at Fall Weekend)
"And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message,
so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ,
for which I am in chains.
Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should."
We are fully known, and so, so loved!