Preparation for Internship Program

This internship program is an opportunity to get a feel for missions, dive deeper into God’s Word, create life-long friendships, and learn more about God’s plan for you. TEAMeffort is a missions organization that reaches out to people in the United States by helping rebuild homes for communities who are in need.  They provide opportunities for youth groups all around the nation to help out in places and in situations that are unique and, in some cases, life-changing.  TEAMeffort shows God’s love through works, through faith, through worship, through teaching, through encouragement, and through community.

Missions are what I want to do for the rest of my life, and have been what I felt God was calling me to do since I was 11.  I have had several amazing opportunities to go on mission trips all over the world, and TEAMeffort is an organization that I’ve loved working with in the past.  I feel that God is calling me out of a season of rest, back into the mission field, and I felt like an internship with this organization would be a good step for me as I head back into longer-term missions.  

I am hoping to become more confident in my abilities and gifts that God has given me, that I am pushed out of my comfort zone, that I am able to learn new things about myself, God, and the call He has placed on my life, and that I can learn to continually lean on God through all trials and tribulations.  I also hope that I will learn new skills that will help me in the future, as I pursue becoming a medical missionary. I am nervous that I will try to push myself physically in ways that I am unable to do anymore, and that I will disappoint myself and others when it comes to doing a lot physically.  I want to be the best I can be, and I’m nervous I won’t live up to my expectations.

How have I been preparing? Well, I’ve figured out most of what I’m packing!  I love packing for trips like this, and I am looking forward to finishing up packing everything; it’s the best feeling!  Mentally, I am trying to plan ahead of how my schedule will look for the internship and my schoolwork because if I don’t have an idea of what I need to do when I will fall behind!  I’m making a detailed list of my classes and the assignment deadlines, so I know I will be prepared! Spiritually, I have been spending more time with God, asking the Holy Spirit to guide me in this season, and just spending time worshipping God every chance I get.  It never ceases to amaze me how refreshed and energized and happy I am after spending time with my Father!  

Starting the Internship Program

I’m so happy to have finally started the internship program!  It has been so nice to get to know everyone and begin working on what we will be doing on spring break!  I’m really hoping that I become a better planner this season, as I am not the best at making sure that I have enough time to do everything.  I’m worried that I won’t be able to have enough time to stay on top of my school work and still have the experiences of being an intern with TEAMeffort.  I’ve worked with TEAMeffort for a few summers now, but I haven’t been here for a couple of years, so getting to walk around the camp and seeing all the new things that have been added has been awesome!  Getting to know everyone has been so fun, and we’ve already had some adventures to Wal-Mart, learning how to make chicken-noodle soup, and playing games!  The office staff have been so welcoming and so ready to put us all to work!  It’s been so nice catching up with some of the office staff I know from my previous summers.  I am super excited for what this season has in store, and I can’t wait to see how God moves through everything we’re doing over these next few months!

West Virginia Retreat

Well, I don’t think it was really a mission trip, but it definitely was a lot of fun!  We went to West Virginia for two days, to take a break from all the Spring Break prep we’ve been doing, and to become closer together as a community!  I really loved learning how to ski, but I have to say my favorite moments were when we were all chilling together in the cabin and worshiping in the evenings.  I love being with a group of people who loves God as much as I do and more!  Getting to know new sides of each other was quite fun, like who was the most willing to go up the highest slopes, or who was the best at writing random songs on the spot, or who was the one who would just sit and watch the snow falling outside the windows!  It was a fantastic, eye-opening experience, and I feel like I learned that the other interns are more than willing to work hard and have fun every day!  I personally loved skiing the bunny slopes while it was snowing on us on our second day, and I was just in awe of God’s imagination the entire trip!  I loved singing silly songs and having deep theological discussions at midnight, and I also loved those quiet moments where I could just sit and appreciate the community around me!  God has been teaching me some things that I have sort of pushed into the back corner of my mind, things I haven’t really thought about for the past year or so, like how my identity is in Him, that He has chosen me for a purpose, and that His plan is so much greater than my own!  It was a trip that was a little bit difficult for me as I have had a lot of struggles with my health over the past two years, and having to depend on others was really hard for me.  But God is showing me that my strength is not what defines me and that I am not a burden when I ask for help; instead, I am helping others grow in the gifts He has given to them when I admit I need help, and I am growing closer and closer to Him the more I need His strength to get through the day!  It was a truly fantastic trip, and I can’t wait for all the other experiences we will have as a staff as this internship continues!

Preparing for Spring Break

I have been practicing my guitar playing and singing a lot to prepare for Spring Break!  Relearning how to play with a keyboardist, djembe player, and other singers has been so much fun, and I am super excited for chapel during Spring Break!  I am a little bit nervous about going onto the mission sites, especially on days that I have class in the morning, as I am worried that I will let myself and the group I’m working with down, but at the same time, I am so hyped to be going back onto mission sites!  I love working with youth and teaching them new skills, and having them teach me new things every week!  I am so ready to meet everyone who is coming for our Spring Break weeks and work with them to impact the community!  As far as I know, right now I am the lead guitar player for worship every night, and I will be leading a mission site.  I have seen myself grow more in being vulnerable with my community, and I’ve grown in my dependency on God’s strength rather than my own!  God is also working with me about growing in my faith and trust in Him as I face some challenges with school and my health in this season, and finding joy in the little things!  I am praying that the campers who come grow closer to God during their week with us, that they can return home more confident in their faith, and that they learn they can show God’s love and Truth wherever they are, not just on a mission trip.  

Easter Break

Going home was great! It was a little bit weird at first, but after the first couple of days, it was so nice! I got to hang out with my parents and my youngest sister, and we all got to spend time together at church on Sunday and Wednesday which is always fun! Throughout the week, I did a lot of homework but also got to relax for a couple of hours every day, and I even worked on a crochet project!

I think one of the ways my family noticed I was different was that it was obvious I been out in the sun for three weeks! Seriously though, they noticed that I was more patient in certain situations and that I took initiative on doing some things that I wouldn’t normally have done, like offering to stay late at church on Wednesday to help out with the youth group, even though I was just popping in to say hello to the youth.

I really enjoyed being back on the mission sites again! It’s been three years since I’ve worked with teenagers while building decks and painting houses, so being able to hang out with them while working was fantastic! One thing that was challenging was having to do school on our second days on the sites. I felt like I missed out on some awesome moments with the youth groups, but I also got to spend some time with the office staff and help them out too, so it was still a good experience!

I saw God in the youth groups who came, in the homeowners we got to know, and in my fellow interns. God really moved during the spring break weeks, and it was so awesome to see people coming out of their comfort zones, both on the mission sites, and during chapel and discussions. I had several prayers that God answered throughout the weeks, such as asking God to show me where my strengths are since I'm not really physically strong, and how to use those strengths while on the mission sites.

I will admit that I missed the community here at TEAMeffort while I was back at home. Even though I love hanging out with my family, I also missed having a space to go when I wanted to think or have some quiet time. I also missed just being at camp. I want to just enjoy being here with the other interns and the office staff, and continue to grow in my relationships. Even though I'm super excited about what the summer will hold and how God is going to move, I also want to be happy and excited where I am right now and dive deeper into what God is teaching me in this season.

North Carolina Mission Trip

So, we went to New Bern, North Carolina for a week, doing some disaster relief in the community!  It was awesome!  I loved the people we were working with and the homeowners were all amazing.  We mostly worked on drywall, which is always fun, and now I can wholeheartedly say we are all pros at it, lol!  Helping the homeowners was something that impacted me greatly on this trip.  During a regular summer, I think I’m mostly focused on the youth groups and the project I’m working on instead of building a solid relationship with the homeowners, so having an opportunity to focus more on them instead of the projects was great!  All of us interns grew closer, I think, because we were able to work hard together and have a fun time!  We were singing worship songs as we sanded and painted, and just had wonderful conversations with each other, and I think the realization of how impactful the small works we were doing together impacted us as a group immensely.  Even though we didn’t get to fully finish the majority of our projects, it was so cool how God was still moving through us and our actions and words.  God has been teaching me a lot about what my strengths are in the mission field now, and He used the other interns and the other people on our trip to really confirm what my strengths are, which was amazing for me!  I have honestly been so blessed by the people around me, not just on this trip, but every day in this internship, and I have to praise God for bringing all of these amazing people into my life!  

Summer Prep

Well, I’m super excited about the summer!  I love TEAMeffort summers; that’s why I keep coming back, haha!  I will be co-directing Gatlinburg this summer!  So happy to be going back to that camp; I spent my very first summer on staff there with an awesome team, and I can’t wait to go back with another awesome team!  I got to tell each of my staff where they’ll be going with my co-director, and we’ve been messaging each other in a group chat every couple of days!  I’m asking God to show me new ways that I can be a servant leader and to give me the strength I need every day for the summer!  We have an app on our phones so that we can send each other little video updates throughout each week, and of course, we will be calling and messaging each other through the entire summer! I’m praying that everyone who comes to camp and everyone we interact with will experience God in a new way and that the staff for this summer have a fantastic, fun, challenging, and joyful summer!  So excited for staff training!

Summer in Gatlinburg TN

Being back for a TEAMeffort summer has been fantastic! As a director this summer, my schedule looks a little different than when I was on staff, but not by much! I do a lot of the communication stuff, so I get to answer phone calls, emails, and plan some things out for the rest of the week and for the following week! My staff has a lot of inside jokes that we laugh about often, usually during chapel run-through! One challenging moment that I’ve had to work through, is trying to stay on top of my director duties while having a cold. It may not sound that bad, but it really is challenging! Thankfully, I have a great staff and co-director who really help me out and lift me up when I’m not feeling well! I have tried to share Jesus with every youth that has come to Gatlinburg so far by being kind and joyful regardless of the situation that comes up. My staff has been amazing, showing God to everyone we meet, including our homeowners, and we’ve seen three homeowners come to know Christ already this summer! So exciting! I’ve grown deeper in my relationship with God and in my trust in Him as the weeks have gone by, and I hope to learn more of His heart for me as the summer goes on. I’ve been trying to focus on my staff and the work we are doing when I feel overwhelmingly tired and start missing home. I want to challenge myself to make it through the rest of the summer without getting another cold!

Nearing the End of the Summer

The summer has truly flown by! I can’t believe the summer is almost over, but I feel so blessed to have been able to see God move in incredible ways over the past 7 weeks! I have seen my staff grow closer to God and to each other, as well as grow in the gifts God has given them, and it has been incredible to see them take up those gifts every day in new ways! My staff and I have built some really good relationships, and we enjoy just sitting and talking with each other, watching movies with some pizza and ice cream, playing card games together, worshiping on the weekends, and just celebrating each other in the big and small things. This summer has really helped me grow in my gifts as well, and God has shown me how much I've changed and grown since my first summer with TEAMeffort in 2015. Crazy how God’s plan is always so much greater than what we can see! I hope to continue to build relationships my staff that will carry on past this summer, and I hope to make it through our last weeks with the same joy and endurance that I started this summer with!