Saturday, May 22, 2010

Answered Prayer: Matt

I don't think I have ever believed in answered prayer more than I have after I met Matt Weaver. It's cool that God has used him to make a huge impact on my life. It's crazy to think back to when the week in Tifton started because in the beginning, me and Matt honestly just didn't connect. But by the end of the week, that definitley changed and I am so grateful that God allowed that to happen.

The week in Tifton began and me and my teammates all got along great. I felt like we really worked well together and together we were a good group. While I loved everyone, I just felt like some people I just didn't click with. Matt just happened to be one of those people. We didn't fight or not like each other, we just didn't click immediatley. As the week went on, that never really changed and I began to think a lot about that. Near the end, I thought more and more about it and I got myself upset. My thought was here's this great godly guy who I could learn so much from, but yet I'm not allowing myself to build that friendship with him. This was the turning point. From then on, I figured out what I could do to ensure that I could build a relationship with him. I began to put myself in positions that would allow for good conversations between the two of us. More and more, that connection was made and we began to become good friends.

I really feel like the true connection was made on Saturday night. The girls had a girls day event at a local church all day and the guys spent the evening hanging out at our leader's house. Matt loves to fish and he really wanted to do that, as our leader has four ponds in her front yard. So, Matt goes to fish. So God opens up this great door for me to really have some bonding time with Matt. Did I want to go outside and sit in the grass with bugs? Not really. But I knew that God had opened this door and blessed me with this opportunity and that I had to take it. A lof of my past with guy friendships has left me with rejection, and this was my fear once again. I didn't think Matt would reject me, but it was all I had ever know. I forgot about my past, stepped out of my comfort zone, and headed for the pond. I will say that I feel like I had one of the best conversations that I have ever had in my whole life. We both got to share our stories, talk about things were dealing with, encourage each other, and just get to know one another. We had finally made that connection and built a friendship.

It was truly an honor to serve alongside Matt all week. It didn't matter where we were or what we were doing, Matt was giving 100% and doing so with a positive attitude. I feel like I've never saw Matt stop or give up and I that is something that I admire about him. It was also very evident to me how big his heart for the Lord is. We labeled him the "people person" and Matt will rock out in whatever ministry he does in life. I also learned a lot about relationships from Matt. It is very clear that he knows what a godly relationship is supposed to look like and he is not going to settle for anything less. I look up to Matt is so many ways and he is someone I strive to be like.

For those of you who don't know my story: growing up I dealt with a lot of rejection, especially from guy friends. I have never really had good guy friends and its been something that I have prayed for every day of my life. If you don't think God answers prayer, here's your proof. He has answered that prayer in my life. God has blessed me with some amazing guy friendships and I could not pick more godly, down to earth guys. So like Jonathan, Matt was a huge answer to prayer in my life.

To Matt-I simply would like to say thank you. Thank you for the lasting impact that you have and will make on my life. You will never know how big that impact is, but I am so thankful that God has placed you in my life. Know that the Lord has gifted you in some incredible ways and you are going to go so far and do so many great things for His kingdom. Thank you for simply being an answer to prayer in my life and I look forward to growing our friendship even more. I love you man!

Epically Legit: Beth

"So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective." --Colossians 3:1-2 (The Message)

I chose to start this blog post off with those verses, because they are some of Beth's favorite in all of the Bible. It was when she was helping me plan my closer for our youth service that she introduced me to this scripture. And I have to say that it has become some of my favorite as well. It was very clear to me how grounded in her faith Beth really is. She has a love for scripture and a passion to reach the lost that you just dont find in most people. Beth struck me as such a real person and she wasn't afraid to be who God has made her to be. I love that about her.

It's funny to think about our friendship because it didn't really seem to happen until midweek. I remember working with Beth at Ruth's Cottage. We packed boxes together and I will never forget making fun of the outfits we packed and labeling the boxes. I will especially never forget packing one box labeled as: The Cosby's Wardrobe. Great times. It was after that day that we really got to know each other and really developed a true friendship.

Like Kelli, something I will never forget about Beth was our "heart to heart" conversation. We were supposed to simply split into pairs and pray for one another, but me and Beth started talking and we just couldn't stop. It was for sure a conversation that I will never forget. We just talked about life, what we had been through, and where we currently were. It was crazy that we had been through some of the same exact things in our lives and that we were able to relate to each other about that. We're also both kind of at the same point in life so it was great to be able to encourage each other about those things. We could not stop talking and everyone wasn't happy with us because we took so long to come back to the group. We got to pray for each other and promised each other that if we ever needed to come to each other school's with a 2X4, then we would.

Getting to know and learn about Beth was a priviledge to me. I believe that there are some people in life that you are just supposed to meet, and for me, Beth is one of those people. She taught me things I needed to learn and told me things that I needed to hear. I really believe that I am a different person after meeting Beth and I look forward to the places that our friendship will take us. It's crazy to think that I really didn't have any huge expectations for making friends on the trip, but I walked away with a best friend after encountering Beth. It was all in God's plan and I thank Him for placing Beth in my life.

Thank you Beth for coming into my life. You have been such a huge encouragement to me and I thank you so much for that. It was such an honor to serve with you and to see your heart for Jesus spill out in everything that you did during the week! You are going to do great things for the Lord in such big ways and I look forward to being able to say...I am her best friend. Thanks for what you mean to me in my life. I can't wait to see you again soon! Love you best friend.

PS: You are so epically legit.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

That's What She Said: Jonathan

Oh, Jonathan Herndon, so many things I can say about him. Our relationship is cool because we actually met embarked on this journey together. We both go to the same school and were really great friends before we went to Tifton. I guess I thought this was just something else we would be doing together and whatever. But God had other plans. He decided he would bring us closer together as brothers in Christ.

Jonathan definitley rocked out during the week. Every time I saw him, he was working hard. He never gave up on anything he had been assigned and he did anything asked of him with a positive attitude. I really admired this about him because he truly showed what it meant to have a servant's heart. Jonathan's personality was also a huge part of the reason I loved working with him. If you don't know Jonathan, he has a very loud personality. His personality was always alive wherever we were serving. There wasn't a moment were Jonathan wasn't saying something funny or doing something absolutley ridiculous. On days when we were tired and lacking in energy, this was crucial and definitley needed. Jonathan gave with everything that he had that week and it was a true blessing to get a glimpse of how he operates at camp. I will say that CK SWAT is one lucky team to have him aboard.
I guess the memory I remember the most with Jonathan was the night everything blew up at the guy's house and we kind of had to take control. One of our team members seemed to be struggling with some stuff and Jonathan, at 1AM in the morning, took him into the office and sat him down and talked this kid through his hard times. I was able to join that conversation and it was incredible to watch Jonathan do this and just to watch his heart for this person and to see that he really wanted to help him. Jonathan has a huge heart for missions and ministry and I feel like its evident in everything that he does.

I met Jonathan this past January after finding out we both worked camp and lived near each other. We instantly hit it off as friends and our relationship has continued to grow. I feel like God put Jonathan in my life as an answer to prayer and I believe He put us together on the Tifton Team for an exact reason as well. Its been cool to see God open doors in both of our lives and how were able to encourage each other through those times. I will definitley say that Jonathan has become a best friend to me. Something he told me that I will never forget is this: "JB, you are a rockstar for the kingdom."
To Jonathan I say-thanks man for what you have meant to me in my life. Thank you for being my brother in Christ, and for being my best friend. You have so many things to offer this life and I know that you are going to make an increidble pastor one day. I look forward to continuing and growing our friendship. I cant wait to see where God leads us next! I love you man!

Find the Water: Sunday in Tifton

My mission trip to Tifton was beyond amazing. It is really hard to put it into words, but I am going to do my best. We all arrived in Tifton on Sunday night and began preparing for the week. The highlight of Sunday night would definitley have to be "finding the water". We read the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well and learned that Jesus had a powerful conversation with the woman because He found what he had in common with her: the water. I have read this story over and over but never realized the importance of it and the meaning behind it.

Me and Darby were paired up for food groups, so we got to do our shopping together. We were then given the task of finding the water. Our assignment was to find two people and simply have a conversation with them. Sounds easy right? It was actually a bit scary and intimidating. Before we went in, I had my night planned out. I knew the areas of Wal-Mart we could go to that would be easy to have conversations at. Little did I know, God had other plans. We tried to have conversations with different people, and it just never worked. I began to pray that God would put the people that we were supposed to talk to in our path and of course, He did just that. For some strange reason, we found ourselves on the baby aisle and began a conversation with a young couple. Me and Darby were mistaken for expecting parents and they gave both us quite the laugh. It was very clear that there was tension between the couple and we learned they have just had a baby which was not planned. We just spent time getting to know them and showing them the love of Christ. We ended the conversation by asking how we could pray for them and they requested we pray for their family's health. As we were walking off the girl said these words that I will never forget: " Thanks for talking to us. You just don't find nice people in the world anymore." It was great to find the water with them and to feel like we made a small impact in their life. We then got to speak to a family with children, which I loved. They were also dealing with a lot and we spent the time encouraging them. We left them, ensuring them we would be praying for them.

So, finding the water. Sounds pretty scary, but is pretty incredible. I've learned that finding the water is what we are called to do every day. I was given that assignment on Sunday night, but that is how I should approach every day of my life. When I go to school, I should seek to find the water. When I go to work, I should seek to find the water. When I am in public, I should seek to find the water. Point blank: we are all to find the water. It's my new assignment every day.

Sunday night definitley made an impact on me. The mission work hadn't even officially started, but really it had. It was the way to start out the week, and was a perfect teaching moment of what we were supposed to do all week long. If you think Sunday night was good, just wait til you hear what else the Lord did through the week. Check back tomorrow as I reflect on Monday and tell you about another incredible person I got to work with!

Enjoy these pictures from Sunday! We all had a blast "finding the water" and shopping for the massive amounts of food we would consume in the following week!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Take That Step: Kelli

Where do I even begin when talking about the friendship I made with Kelli during the week?When I first met Kelli, I thought she's cool, I'd love to get to know her. We were friends throughout the week, but near the end of our time together, we really began to connect. When I think about the many memories together, my mind immediatley jumps to the "heart to heart" we had one night. During the day, we were asked to spend an hour of God and to ask Him to reveal to us what He would have us take back home. That night, we are asked to pick an accountability partner and to go and spend some time with them in prayer. Me and Kelli were sitting right beside each other and we both looked at each other and knew we were meant to be partners. We took some time to share some things we had learned through the week and discussed where we were in life. Little did we know, we were both at the same point in life. We were both waiting to take that next big step in life. It was awesome to be able to encourage each other through our talk. I will never forget our conversation because Kelli spoke so many encouraging words to me and truly impacted my life. We both ended in prayer and it was awesome to be able to pray for her future and to thank God for the students that she will impact throughout her lifetime. There was no other way to end the night than with a hug and we came back to meet the rest of the group.
I was blown away by the things Kelli was able to teach me throughout the week! She is someone that I truly admire and strive to be more like each day. I loved watching Kelli teach the students at one of our youth services because she was in her element and it was so evident that this was her heart and her passion. I loved being able to witness that.
I really feel like Kelli was a blessing that happened in my life that I really needed. It was an honor to serve with her throughout the week and she rocked out with any task that she was given. I didn't expect to meet a best friend during the week, but that quickly changed when I met Kelli.
Thank you Kelli for changing my life. Thank you for making me feel like I matter. I appreciate the friendship you built with me and love the fact that its not over, its just beginning! Know that you have made a huge impact on my life and continue to inspire me daily. Pursue your passion for students-it's your ministry and the Lord is going to use you in magnificent ways in your life. You are talented, incredible, encouraing, and one of the nicest people that I have ever meet! I love you BFF!

A Legit Group of People

As I said, the Lord has done some HUGE things in my life lately. A lot of that has been through the people He has blessed me with in my life. This past week, I had the opportunity to serve with ten other people in Tifton, Ga doing home missions. I know everyone's thinking you did missions in Tifton? Yes, I did! There will definitley be more posts to come about the experiences I had and the ways that I got to see the Lord work. A big part of the way I got to see work was through the people that I got to work with. Never have I ever been with college students who were more on fire for Christ, loving, encouraging, and just plain awesome than these guys. Each person made a huge impact on my life, and they all did it in different ways. I feel like they deserve a shout out, so thats what I am going to do. Each day, I will talk about a different person, what there relationship meant to me, and how I got to see the Lord work through them. I'm just warning you...some good stuff is coming. Get excited friends!

Starting Again

I've done this whole blogging thing before, and stopped. So I am now determined to start again and to keep it going. The Lord is doing some incredible things in my life and I look forward to sharing them with you!