So, as most of you know, I am now a Carthage graduate. Yay!!!!! It was not the journey I was expecting it to be AT ALL, but it was an experience I would not change for the world! As my senior year continued on, everyone’s favorite question for me was “what are you going to do next????” Seriously, if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me this, one of my loans would be paid in full! I’ve told a lot of people some general plans, but I figured I’d blog about it anyway. But beyond that, I want to talk a bit about the things that I’ve learned on my journey thus far. So, here it goes.
Part 1: What I’ve Learned
1) I know nothing. In all that I’ve learned, I know absolutely nothing. (I think I’ll let this one stand for itself.)
2) My heart was made for ministry.
In my time at Carthage, I have been involved in two ministries: Gospel Messengers (GM), and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (aka IV). GM is a traveling choir. We’ve been to various churches in the WI/IL area, as well as Florida, Puerto Rico, and many, many places around the globe! My favorite and most impactful engagement was my junior year when we visited a Women’s Correctional Facility in Milwaukee. We sang a number of songs, and had a few people share testimonies throughout. Our last song was I Need You to Survive by Hezekiah Walker. As we sang, there was not a dry eye in the room among the inmates. You could visibly see how touched they were that a group of students was taking the time to come down and sing to them, and share with them the love of God. People like these women are so often forgotten about in the grand scheme of things, and that night…it was like the seeing the Holy Spirit go around and touch peoples’ hearts and remind them: I have not forgotten you. That night really reminded me what ministry is all about-what being a Christian is about. It’s not about going to places you feel safe and comfortable. It’s about going to the lost and the broken. It’s about being God’s hands and feet and reminding people that there is still hope, and that there is a Love that is for them to grab hold of and carry them.
In IV I had the privilege to plan an organize events, sometimes on a weekly basis, that were geared toward sharing Christ with people. Though there were times when I got a little stressed out, and there were a couple occasions where I actually seriously considered stepping down from my leadership role, at the end of the day, I loved what I did. Whenever I considered leaving, I always came to the conclusion that I couldn’t. It wasn’t because “oh no, what will they do without you?!” It was because I absolutely loved being involved in IV. I loved trying to help others connect with God, no matter how difficult. One of the biggest things I will miss about Carthage is being involved in these ministries. One of the things I look forward to most is getting more involved with a ministry again as life continues. I’m not sure what that looks like quite yet. But only time will tell, right? (And God of course)
3) I was not born a leader. I was made into a leader.
Admittedly, even at a young age, I never wanted to be a follower. I always wanted to be a leader. I’ve been involved with different organizations and done different programs that helped shape my leadership skills, but in college, they really got refined. I learned (and am still learning) what it means to be a servant leader. This July, I will be going to InterVarsity’s Leadership Institute in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There I will be spending a month in an intense discipleship program geared toward helping me move forward in servant leadership in the church and in the rest of my life. 🙂 (more details to come later)
4) I found my passions in life during my Carthage journey.
Okay, so, one thing that I’ve learned about myself is that I am a passionate young woman. And when I have a passion for something, it’s like I’m kicked into overdrive. When I’m passionate about something, no matter what challenges may arise, giving up is not an option. Forgetting about it is futile. And at times when I get burned out, the passion that’s set like a fiery blaze in my heart keeps me going. (There are some things that are just too important to give up on.)
Some of the things that I’m passionate about include the obvious: God, music, dance, and prayer. A passion that I’ve grown starting the middle of my freshman year (more so my sophomore year) is one for social justice, particularly human trafficking. Human trafficking (if you don’t know) is modern day slavery. It is the coercion of a human being by means of false promises (e.g. new job, love, shelter/protection, etc.) and exploiting them for profit. Most people who are trafficked are exploited for sex and forced to work in prostitution or a brothel. Others are forced to be laborers in a home, mine, field, etc.
I knew about human trafficking in high school, but for some reason I started to become really passionate about it in college. I believe that the reason for this is God. I believe He’s given me a passion and compassion for the 27 million people who are enslaved across the globe. At first, I wasn’t sure what to do about this passion. I prayed for months to try to figure out if being involved with standing against human trafficking was something God wanted me to do with my life. (You know, career wise. Or was it to be more of a hobby?) The more I learned about human trafficking, the more I wanted to do something about it. I wasn’t sure at the time what it would look like when God finally answered my prayers, but I’ve been going knowing that this is the field that I’m meant to be in. Now, usually the first thing out of peoples’ mouths is to tell me that it’s really dangerous. Yes. Yes it is. I know that. But I also know that I can’t ignore this injustice. I can’t walk away from it and cop out by saying, “oh, I’ll donate to ACTS World Vision.” This is something that I am called to actively fight and I will. No matter what the risk. God doesn’t call us to minister to people so long as we’re safe and feel comfortable doing so. He calls us to stand out, even in the midst of trouble. Now, please don’t read this and think I’m going to do something reckless and stupid. I’m writing this to say that I know there are risks involved. But I also know that the potential good out ways the bad, and I know that I don’t have to do this alone.
A final passion that I will talk about in more detail later because this post is getting long enough is missions. I have been given a heart for missions, and it is my dream to be a missionary in Japan one day.
5) The best days of our lives are still ahead of us.
I’ve heard it said, “enjoy college, because those are your glory days. After them, you’re in the real world. And it sucks.” Guys, life only sucks if you let it be that way. Dance to your own beat. And find what you’re passionate about in life and pursue it. Don’t let your life be dreary. Add some color. Make time for the people in your life and live free. (Not crazy, but free.)
6) In the nothing that I know, I can say this: I have been changed for the better.
Part 2: Where I’m going next:
As I mentioned earlier, I am going to IVLI this July. It is a month long intense discipleship program that I believe will prepare me further to be a leader in church and life, and in my mission field. I get back on August 2nd, after which I will be attending two weddings. (So I’ll officially be back on August 5th.) I am going to be doing some volunteer work with a new organization called, Exploit No More. It’s station in Milwaukee, WI. We’re looking to build a safe house next January for children rescued from sex trafficking in the Milwaukee area. (Yes, human trafficking exists in our back yard. Literally.) We will work to rehabilitate them, offer education and counseling for the. We also seek to raise awareness about human trafficking in the Milwaukee area. There are many different churches that are partnered with Exploit No More, and if you would like to know more, visit exploitnomore.org. One day I will go to Japan, but that’s a little ways out yet. For now, that’s it. If you actually read this whole long thing, thank you. 🙂 Feel free to leave a comment. Or not. Up to you. Have a great day everyone, and I promise to post again before I go to Cedar. 😀
You are loved!!!!