Preparation for Internship Program

The countdown to leave for TEAMeffort’s 2021 Internship Is getting closer and closer! TEAMeffort is an amazing mission organization that works with several locations to help with disaster relief and those in need while having nightly chapel and fun memories made with each youth group’s staff leader! I always will remember and look forward to tie-dye Tuesday, nerf gun wars, and competitive games of Uno after chapel! TEAMeffort makes it possible to make many personal connections with others that are unforgettable. The internship program will include growth through discipleship training, mission trips, and more all while completing a semester in college. I have been praying for an opportunity to grow, learn, and help impact others, and God placed this amazing internship right in front of me! I was a camper for years and planned to be on staff with TEAMeffort so this is perfect. From this Internship, I hope to gain new friends who are believers, but also to reach out to people in this new area and make new connections! Usually, before I leave for a new journey or am leaving home for a while, I do get extremely nervous and scared, but God has calmed my nerves tremendously! I think the only thing that will be the hardest is saying goodbye to my family here in Maryland, but I know that this is what God has in store for me. I am so excited for this next step and to make some amazing memories! I have only packed and repacked about a billion times, although my momma keeps telling me to try and not bring everything but the kitchen sink! I have been trying to be more intentional about my quiet times and to get into the word when I may be bored or listen to some new worship jams... The days, hours, minutes, and seconds are almost up and I will be in Jacksonville, Florida soaking up the “Son”!

Starting the Internship Program

As I turned onto Lake Asbury Drive, with my “remarkable” driving skills…. I got this rush of emotions. Nervous about what is next, emotional to leave my parents, excited for new relationships, scared thoughts of “am I prepared for this?” ….. But as I got out of the car and met these amazing people who I know will turn into lifelong friendships & family, the feelings started to slowly go away. When we walked down to this glorious lake view, I got this sense of calmness and peace. I knew right then that God has me exactly where I needed to be in this season of my walk with Him! I think the most area of growth I am stoked to go through is firstly to increase my knowledge of scripture and His word, but also applying it into my everyday walk and sharing His amazing and beautiful word with campers, friends, but also strangers. In all honestly, my only fear is if something were to happen to those I cherish back home and not being there for them, but that is where trust comes into place and knowing that God has each one of us wrapped around in His arms. I am beyond joyful to meet and form relationships with new people and get to know the other interns and staff. 
I would have to say the highlights of traveling about 14 hours from MD to FL were the 4-hour nap I took : ), the yummy cookout & Starbucks stop we made, and screaming to the top of our lungs worship music and the throwbacks, of course! I would also say that capturing and posting the embarrassing napping pictures became a war on the way down between momma and me (lol check Facebook to see who won)! Spending the weekend getting to know everyone has been very fun! Seeing who packed the most stuff? Who is the best/worst driver? Who is going to do the best cannonball into the lake? I will let you all figure out the answers to these, haha!

A few of the women went to a Ladies Night which had an amazing message about being a conquer in Romans 8, followed by a Target trip that resulted in everyone trying the new Lady Gaga Oreos! We spent our first Sunday going to a pretty awesome church that talked in 1 John about the Word of Life, grocery shopping on a budget (we did better than we guessed lol), dinner with the new Florida family, <3 and sort of successfully canoeing with a few minor alligator attacks…. kidding, well kinda! Sunday night, after so many competitive rounds of Spicy Uno, a few of us decided to go watch the sunrise the next morning, but once we woke up and got our coffee made, we realized that it was extremely cloudy : ( We checked the weather app which forecasted cloudy skies all day, so we debated whether it was worth going out to the lake…. We ended up walking out anyways with our coffee & blankets to sit and talk… I looked down for about a minute at the cute little fishies in the lake and looked up and OHHH MYY GOODNESS! God created this beautiful, peaceful sunrise for us to be in awe of : ) Walking back, I knew this was God reminding me to never doubt what amazing things He can perform in my life! I am so so sooo excited for what God has in store for our silly Jesus loving group! (PS: If you ever stop by Florida, Maple Street Biscuit Company is a Must, So Delicious!!)

West Virginia Retreat

Heyyoo! We just got back from our TE Intern Retreat in West Virginia, and it was awesome. There's nothing better than falling on my face constantly and zooming down the slopes faster than ever ha-ha…. Yes, we did go skiing! Not knowing how to stop was such a great learning experience after going faster and faster until I fell. Skiing onto the picnic table area was such a hilarious moment that I am still recovering from. But something that I learned from my first-time skiing is that every time we fall, God helps us get back up again! Not just psychically falling, but also our emotional and spiritual falls. So many times, we go through seasons of struggles and pain, but what we forget is how powerful our Lord is! We got to do our bible study at the Ski resort while drinking hot cocoa and my favorite part was realizing how graceful our God is and how he freely gives us His amazing grace! Morning and afternoon devotions were one of my favorite parts because of hearing God speak through the others and soaking in His word. I talked about how we shouldn’t worry about anything because God is in control. Fun fact: what we worry the most about is what we trust God the least in! intense worship sessions were filled with the holy spirit and I definitely felt growth between the interns and staff. We also had some songwriting sessions and spontaneous performances by yours truly… no there are no available videos ha-ha! The ten-hour car rides did not feel like the whole ten hours which could be because of the awesome jam sessions, naps, and the categories games we played along with snacks, snacks, and of course more snacks : ) The lord has been teaching me the importance of community and how vital it is to have a God-led community to encourage and fellowship with which is 100% what I have with my TE family. Oh, and we also got to make snow angels and have a friendly but vicious snowball fight. Definitely, a retreat filled with memories, laughs, and growth!

Preparation for Spring Break

Hiiiiaa! We are about a week away from our first spring break camp for this year, and I am so pumped! From Walmart trips to running through the chapel and other things we have been pretty busy, but it’s the best type of busy we could be. I have loved being able to watch our worship team prepare and jamming from the sound booth! It's like a live concert every time : ) I would say that I am a bit nervous about finding a balance with college and spring break camps, but the office has been extremely flexible in making sure I am prioritizing both which is a huge help! Something that I am more anxious than nervous about is sharing my message for my night and my testimony, but I am mostly more excited because I related to the message so much as a camper at TEAMeffort whenever the staff would speak. Having the opportunity to share His beautiful word, but also praying that something is taken away and the campers are impacted is definitely in God's hands and learning to fully trust Him is vital.  
Everyone has multiple roles during spring break camps which really makes it a TEAMeffort, haha! I am speaking Wednesday night and have been helping in the sound booth which is a fun experience. This goes along with co-leading on the worksite, interacting with the campers, and other odds and ends that really make a huge impact on making this a God-filled and encountered experience for everyone! I cannot tell you how much I have grown spiritually within my first month in this internship! Continuing to live out my faith, make spiritual goals, and prioritizing alone time with God has been sooo impactful. I encourage you to make several spiritual goals you have for yourself!

One of mine is being bold in my prayer life, which man has God really allowed me to grow tremendously in my prayer life! I have overcome and conquered some trials that I thought I had already but didn’t and dividing deeply into His word and realizing how applicable it is to my everyday life is amazing. But there is always more room to grow with the Lord which is very exciting. Speaking of being bold in prayer, I would say one of the things I am praying for campers is that the spiritual high we all get after being at camp for a week doesn’t disappear. A lot of times, coming from a past TE camper, we get so pumped for Jesus, and after the first week or so that we get back home and the problems and trials we escaped for a week are waiting for us and I didn’t know how to handle them. So, praying for the campers to continue to live for the Lord and be strong in their faith, even when times get tough, and knowing that He will never leave you stranded!  And if you’ve read this far, I would like to encourage you to also be in prayer for the TEAMeffort staff, campers, homeowners, and everyone that will be encountered this spring and summer! Thanks a bunch, yall : )

Easter Break

After three fun-filled weeks of spring break camps, it was nice to be able to visit my family for Easter break. The food never disappoints, like you know when the food just hits the spot that halfway through you wish you wore sweatpants, well I did after years of Easter food mastery ha-ha! There was never a dull moment being home, from throwing my sister a pajama prom to helping cut meat up on the farm it felt like nothing had changed, and it's always a circus. In seeing myself change with my prayer life, I really believe that my family saw that too and my outlook of stressing and worrying was not the norm because I have been learning to give everything over to God. I enjoyed the time I had with my nana and grandaddy and catching up with them and family dinners with friends was really yummy and fun. The most challenging thing I think I had while the home was continuing my alone time with God fully as I have in Florida because it was so busy and I wanted to soak the time I had with my family, it was harder than I thought, but that is okay! God was working like always in my life through answered prayers. I had been thinking about school and how my scholarships will be running out sooner than later and God reminded me He has it in His hands because I received the Chick-fil-a scholarship of $2,500 which was an amazing blessing. I also got to get ice cream with some of my friends where I worked which was the best, I missed them a lot! When I was home, I did miss TE and the other Interns and staff because we are also family and of course the warm weather lol. Coming back to TE and seeing how quickly the summer is coming is exciting but sad because there's only a short time to soak in the internship, but we have a plan….bucket list whoop whoop! It is in the works and is the ultimate way to live the internship time to the fullest, stay tuned for a possible bucket list blog haha!

Mission Trip to North Carolina

We just got back from our mission trip to North Carolina which was an amazing experience. Our team worked on a bunch of different work sites in helping the damages from Hurricane Florence that drastically affected the communities in NC. Going to a new place for missions always gives me insight and a reminder of the need and how it's where you least expect it and how anything is done to help gives the greatest impact! We mainly did drywall work, helped build a wheelchair-accessible ramp, part of a bathroom demo, and some framing which was all newer work for me, so it was a fun learning experience. I think waking up early was the most challenging thing I encountered, but I had a very nice and gentle alarm clock thanks to one of the office staff. Eating cake every night was a definite highlight and the cookout on the way down! My favorite bonding experience would hands down be jamming to worship music while mudding and sanding with everyone! On the day we did the bathroom demo, God was moving in ways we didn’t notice immediately. The removal of the tub was a difficult process that went on four hours, but the tub was only moving a couple of inches. But the project wasn’t the real reason we were sent to this house in God’s eyes, it was the homeowner! Ms. Ginger was the sweetest woman, and her heart was so full of love. We noticed that while throwing this beautiful broken-up tile that she had mentioned it was put in by her mom and dad so long ago and we could tell her heart was hurting as it was gone. We three decided to save a piece of the tile and chip it away and put it on a stand for her, and she was beyond grateful, and it brought tears to her eyes. It made me realize that yes, we are on a mission trip to help rebuild homes, but God had a mission of His own all along to reach Ms. Ginger and her heart! This mission trip was fun and always moving and on the go. The internship has prepared me individually to fuel myself so that I can go out and fuel others on the mission field. Someone explained it to me like a bucket and a hose…. there is only so much you pour into others before your bucket runs dry so it's always important to spend alone time with the Lord and fuel your body! Also, be on the lookout for my album to drop, album cover in the picture!

Summer Prep

If you’re reading this on May 10th, there are about 22 days left until we are leaving for our 15-hour road trip to where we’ll be for the summer…. Can you guess where I’ll be? Okay, I'll just tell you… I will be on staff with an awesome group at Eureka Springs, Arkansas! We have already claimed our group chat name being the freakin’ eurekans and are collaborating a playlist on Spotify for the fun drive that will be like Mario cart haha! I of course have already asked the most important question you could ask anyone you have just met: do you like pineapple on pizza? Praise Jesus that they all agreed to pizza topping equality and that is just how I know this summer is going to be one not to forget. The way that God has moved in my life and changed my heart since I have been interning, I am beyond ready to see how He will teach me new things in the summer. I am praying that learning my strengths and weaknesses spiritually now will help me be able to interact and touch other hearts in a whole new way. 
God has taught me to be more vulnerable with Him and others, to be so comfortable and available in sharing my testimony, and to expand my prayer life on a whole new level. This is just a glimpse of a few months of being devoted to His use and being His hands and feet to the best that I can, knowing that I still fail at times. I never experienced the importance of praying for future missions and certain people involved ahead of time, until coming to TEAMeffort and doing nine a.m. prayer with the staff. Praying each morning for a staff member and groups coming allowed me to realize that prayer is so powerful, and the Lord is working in their lives while we pray. I am praying for open hearts and closed doors to be opened even the slightest bit through not just me touching the homeowners' lives, but the campers working in their lives by showing His light through their words and service. Entering a new chapter in the Summer with new staff and relationships does sadly mean leaving the ones I made with the other Interns and office staff, but we are going to stay in touch. It is a sad thing to think about, but to know that we will all be doing morning Devo around the safe time and worshipping during chapel around the same time at different areas will be so awesome to think about. Although I did recently realize there is a one-hour time difference which is always weird to think about, that just means we’ll get to Eureka Springs fasters, well maybe… Anyways, as finals just wrapped up, I am going to soak in the worship nights, late-night waffle house trips, and time in the office, before I am off to Arkansas. See you there if you’re group is coming this Summer!

Summer in Eureka Springs AR

Heyy-oo! Writing this as I finished up lights out at 10:30 on tie-dye Tuesday : ) It has been such a busy, but incredible past couple of weeks! My days usually consist of early Home Depot runs to see our lovely morning workers there, making sure everyone made a sandwich and will not go hangry on the worksite (I would know), and playing this box thing during chapel that God has taken full control over, and of course the late night Spicy Uno games. The jam-out sessions with campers while sanding drywall or hammering nails into spindles are something I would not trade for the world. I have honestly gotten the most amazing groups that match my goofy and energetic personality so well and Jesus knew what he was doing all along.  

The spontaneous late-night sonic runs and getting stuck on the side of a mountain with the staff have made it unforgettable. Taking the more frustrating moments and laughing them off with each other and knowing that God is in control is something we do a lot which allows us to bond more.  
Something more challenging for me personally is being able to have alone time with God and soak up the quiet moments, but God has allowed me to cherish the smaller seconds or minutes of quiet like driving home from the worksite or the four minutes before chapel. Even though it gets pretty busy throughout the week, I am confident that God is present and is giving me the strength to encourage campers and others.

When I share my message and after is when I feel like I can share with them about Jesus. Talking about my testimony and where I was and how God has changed me and provided me with His endless grace and love is where I am the most comfortable. I always did not like sharing my testimony, let alone knew what my testimony was, but God has opened my eyes and allowed me to be gifted in sharing His works. I also enjoy talking with campers about their life and Jesus when I am doing projects with them like painting alongside them or brainstorming how to accurately make the deck square lol.  

I have honestly grown so much this summer already and it's only week five! How much I lean on God and give situations to Him is so much more than before. When I would get nervous about being at a standstill or hitting the right beat on the Cajon or even breaking the awkward silence of the first couple of hours, I have given all my stresses and worries to God because I know He is all in control and now I like to say that I am just a wave in the ocean and it is so true. He has answered so many prayers from healthy newborns of my homeowner's homes to safety on the mission site, it is amazing!
The business of the weeks helps with missing all of my other interns because we truly are family and I love all of them so much. I get to facetime check in with them and my family back home in Maryland when I get a quick second but knowing that we are all praying for each other and are in each other's thoughts. Exhaustion is a so real thing that happens during camp and usually halfway through is when people hit their wall, so I am of course tired, but I am so blessed because God has energized more than five red bulls could ever do : )

Powering through the rest of the summer is something I am so excited about because it is always a challenge. I hope to be a staff member where campers can really see God’s light through me and can be approachable and loving/. Like honestly who else would have a chicken nugget eating competition with their campers? Of course, meeee! Anyway, I would write so much more about this summer but gotta hit the hay before I serve breakfast tomorrow. Bye!

Summer Coming to a Close

There's this saying, soak every moment up because it's gonna fly by….well that is so true! It's crazy to think that this week will be the last tie-dye Tuesday, Friday night fellowship, and dance dance of the summer! I have very mixed emotions because I am going to miss my contractor Papa Charlie and my amazing homeowners and their beautiful family, but I know as this season ends another will begin and I get to see everyone at staff retreat. Every day is different in its unique dynamic and busy schedule but I honestly have grown to love Tuesdays.
First of all, I get to show off my tie-dye fit and I have really vibed with my groups and tried my best to learn their names. I also have the opportunity to share my testimony on Tuesday during chapel which I loved doing because God has used my story in so many ways this summer and I have connected with so many campers and chaperones/youth leaders. I have mastered the art of meat folding and have learned that playing hype music for the day during breakfast is a fun way to start the morning because I am honestly not a morning person but Jesus has allowed me to be an all the time person during this summer. Cleaning the cabins has really been where I get energy for the week because I m able to jam out to worship music and it's just me and God and I am going to miss that.
 I cannot tell ya'll enough how amazing Jesus’ timing is! Going into week seven I really was just hitting my wall of exhaustion and feeling drained, but Jesus blessed me with two more amazing groups. Groups that have prayed over all the staff every night, love to serve the Lord and reminded me so much of my sisters which were awesome after just saying goodbye to them when they came to camp week six with my church. All of my groups have really been so flexible and connected so well with everyone! Jesus has perfectly timed the way the three homes I have been working at are getting completed. Last week one of my families were able to move back into their home with their two kids and this week we are finishing up other families home and it is so cool to see where we started with the foundation of walls to the last coat of paint being bushed on : ) Seeing Jesus move in my families lives that we have served this summer has allowed me to truly see God move, from unemployed to employed, to new family members, to homeowners getting off work early to see and talk to groups, and going from being strangers to amazing relationships is the best.
Serving a bunch of families that are all related was an awesome experience. I can say we have finally figured out the best and worst places to eat in Arkansas, of course after six weeks of camp, but now we have places to recommend to next year's staff! I also possibly accidentally ordered staff meal from a pizza place from Michigan and then realized no wonder they don’t deliver haha oops. In other news have been trying to convince my parents of letting me get a labradoodle but decided to wait to get back in the flow of things which by the way my new hobby besides napping, thrifting, eating competitions with campers, and hanging with groups, has been looking at puppies on websites that are for sale. It's kinda dangerous because they’re all so adorable. I am really going to miss tearing off caution tape from the camp truck at 5:50 a.m. before home depot runs, chapel worship moments, adventurous free days, and making lifelong relationships all because of the most amazing dude named Jesus! I always need prayers for the last week and post-summer so thanks to my prayer warriors and now it's time to go to Chili’s cause I am kinda hangry, okie byeeee!