Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the fact that Pooh has just shoved the equivalent of his own internal organs back into his body like it was no big deal.
No bothers were given that day.
No bothers given.
Oh, when a crime breaks out,
all the cute girls shout,
get the good-looking guy.
When there’s a crime out there,
he’s gonna comb his hair,
'cause he's the good-looking guy.
Book em’ good lookin’.
Tia and I made it back to NEBRASKA!!! Unfortunately, my laptop broke while I was in Jacksonville so I did not keep this updated but I figured I’d do some post-Jax blogging!
First of all, I’d just like to say that this summer was truly the BEST experience of my life thus far! I can’t even begin to describe how blessed I feel to have gotten to spend two months with 200 incredibly loving, kind, carefree, intelligent, passionate, simply all-around wonderful people who have such a strong heart for the Lord. Thank you to all the team members, team leaders, staff, supporters, employers, and everyone else who helped make STP possible! And most of all thank you to God who ultimately orchestrated the whole thing :)
That being said, STP was also HARD! I envisioned myself working from 8 or 9 til 5 every day, going to the beach, spending time in worship and fellowship, and having fun! Don’t get me wrong, I had a BLAST!!! But the challenge came with waking up at 4 or 5 AM, spending 9 or 10 hours each day in the warehouse of Coach, being accountable for weekly scripture memory and bible study, trying to find time to keep in touch with friends and family back home, attempting to process through everything I witnessed/read/heard, and most of all being convicted on a regular basis and learning how to live for God and not for myself.
Rather than post a novel about every little thing I learned and experienced at STP, I’m just going to mention a few ways I’ve noticed my post-STP life has already been different:
1) I think of God ALL THE TIME. It’s almost creepy. He’s the first thing I think of when I wake up, random little things remind me of him, I try to find ways to bring him up in conversation… It’s like we’re dating! Haha. Now I understand what it means to be in a personal relationship with Christ.
2) I’m not as stressed! My schedule for senior year is going to be ridiculously INTENSE and in addition I have NO IDEA what I’m going to do after I graduate, but I know that God has a plan and it is infinitely better than anything I could ever think of so I’m just not going to worry about it. Worrying does nothing but waste time anyways. I do my best and that’s all I can do. Hakuna matata :)
3) I have a new definition of failure. In my opinion, to fail is to not take advantage of the opportunities God gives you. He is always opening and closing doors. I’m getting better at recognizing when he does so and actively responding, even when it may be difficult or I may not want to.
4) I pray a LOT more. To be honest, I hardly ever used to pray. Before family meals, maybe before bed, and if something bad happened. Now I pray randomly throughout each and every day. I thank God constantly because my life is AWESOME and I’ve done nothing to deserve it. I also have a prayer request journal. If you ever have any prayer requests, lemme know. No matter how big or small, the Lord is faithful!
5) I feel like I can make disciples! I’ve always avoided ministry and discipleship because my Bible knowledge is limited and I have my own personal struggles, but I’ve realized that EVERYONE struggles and NO ONE knows everything. It’s ok to not have all the answers! I’m confident and excited to let people know how much I love Jesus and tell them what he’s done for me. And I’m excited to see who specifically God leads me to invest in this year :)
This list could potentially go on and on but I’ll stop there. I’ll continue to post now that I have a computer again. Thank you for reading!
One last thing: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY MOM!!! I LOVE YOU!!!
This week is another overtime week for the returns department at Coach Factory! I am officially the tiredest I’ve ever been in my life. FOR REALS. But I truly am thankful to have a job and therefore I’m trying real hard to be optimistic. God knows what he’s doing. I have to remind myself of that when I wake up at 4 AM and several times during the 10 hours I spend in the world of overpriced handbags and wearables (the Coach word for “clothing”)
STP itself is still simply AMAZING! As usual, too much has happened to remember or to post so I shall summarize some highlights:
Wonderfully Made won cleanest room for the week! Our reward was front row seats on the couches during workshop night, as well as being served bottled sodas, jelly beans, and pizza rolls.
We went to St. Augustine to celebrate the 4th of July in the oldest town in America! We had a nice American dinner of hamburgers and watched fireworks :) The only unfortunate part was that we parked on the top level of a parking garage and it took 2 hours to get out due to the traffic… FAIL.
For our group date Friday night the boys took us on a picnic (complete with fresh fruit!) and we went on a nature walk. I got roughly 50 million bug bites but it was fun! Then we went cosmic bowling!
Saturday we woke up super early because 8 students at the program got baptized in the ocean!!! Afterwards we took pictures during the sunrise! Then we went to breakfast, played ultimate frisbee on the beach, had evangelism training, and did evangelism, had dinner, and went out for ice cream with one of the guys teams :)
Sunday we went to church and then spent the day in St. Augustine to walk around and explore where we didn’t have time to on the 4th. And this time we did not park in the parking garage! Haha
I can’t believe STP is halfway over already!! :( It’s going by waaay too fast…
Last Monday was my 21st birthday!!! However, due to Coach Factory and rally night and the STP no alcohol rule, I will be getting my first drink when I get back to Nebraska. My team did decorate my desk as well as our door and surprised me with a mini ice cream cake though! :)
Friday night was my high point of the summer so far: MORP!!! (Prom spelled backwards) Everyone wore thrift store dresses/outfits and had a 4 hour dance party in the dorms! I LOVE TO DANCE!!! :D
Saturday night I went out to eat with a couple friends from Lincoln to a place called Chowder Ted’s. We thought it was going to be some fancy sea food restaurant… It was basically five tables and a bar. Haha it looked super sketchy but I’m glad we stayed. It was an experience I’ll never forget! After dinner, we went downtown to Jacksonville Landing. There was live music, fountains, food, and more. And the bridge is lit up blue over the river at night!
Yesterday was another wonderful service at Neptune Baptist. In honor of 4th of July, the sermon was entitled "Freedom Isn’t Free" and was all about how are to surrender EVERYTHING to God. The pastor presented an interesting paradox: The more we surrender to God, the more free we become. I struggle a lot with giving my life 100% to God as I tend to think that I know what’s best for myself when in fact, He knows me better than I can ever know myself. I’m praying that I learn to let go…
After church, we went out for some co-ed evangelism on the beach. Several people rejected us as usual, but we got to share with a nice couple from Valdosta and with another old man. The old man was a bit intimidating but surprisingly he liked our illustration and claimed to have a relationship with Christ. The couple also claimed to be Christians, although they kept talking about being good and I kept telling them it’s not about that, it’s simply about accepting Christ. I try not to get frustrated though. I just keep reminding myself that God is always working, we’re just here to help!
Last night all the Navigators got to go to Nocatee Water Park for free!! (Because they are nice and because a couple of our students work there) No wave jumping like at the beach, but they did have a lazy river and water slides! It was fun and it was nice to swim without swallowing gallons of salt water.
By the way, last week’s theme was “Our Position and Identity in Christ”. This week’s is “Others-Centered Living”. Identity Week was my favorite so far and may quite possibly be my favorite topic of the summer! I have learned more than I’m sure y’all want to read, as well as more than I have time to type. Feel free to ask me about anything! Thanks for reading! Cheers :)
I survived my first overtime week at Coach Factory!! Tomorrow I get to sleep in until 5:15!! …something about that statement just seems wrong haha
So much happens here it’s hard to remember everything. For our group date on Friday we made homemade pepperoni pizza and colored rocks. (If you put rocks in the oven and color on them while they’re still hot the crayon melts!) We also went to the pier. While we were there someone caught a baby shark and I got to hold it! Yesterday was beach evangelism day. Peyton and I went together and we got 7 “no thank you’s” (although some weren’t quite that polite). But we did get to talk to a girl who recently finished grad school and is new to Christianity and wants to have a personal relationship with God! She did not grow up in a Christian home and has never really had anyone in her life to guide her spiritual walk but she will be moving in with her step mom who is a believer. I hope that we sparked her interest and that her step mom will encourage her walk with Christ. We also talked to a group of four teenagers, two guys and two girls. We appreciated them for listening and for their honesty. One of the girls was a Christian, the other wanted to accept Christ but hasn’t yet, and the two guys were not interested. But who knows, maybe they’ll think about what we said and their hearts will change. God still works in people, even in those who turned us down. Not gunna lie, it’s scary to approach strangers on the beach and it’s discouraging that so many people refuse to listen but I just have to remind myself that I’m simply God’s messenger doing what He has told me to do and that nothing bad can come of sharing the good news. I don’t have to have all the answers and it’s not my job to make anyone accept Christ, it’s their choice. We’re just out there planting seeds :)
Week 3’s theme was Relationships. We got to hear two couples speak that are on staff with the Navigators. They were extremely honest/vulnerable and also very convicting. I could write a book about everything I learned from their messages and from bible study but one thing that really stuck out to me is that “The goal of relationships is to please God”. God is interested in our holiness, not our happiness. Our biggest problem comes when we question the value of God’s commands and intentions because we seek immediate gratification in something else. As much as I love people, I’ve realized that people (including myself) will continue to disappoint me in life whereas God never will. If marriage is in God’s plan for me, I will love and honor my husband but I know that God comes before him in the relationship (and before ANYTHING else). For right now I am content in singleness, realizing that I have been given way more than I need. I love my life! Although I’ve learned that my life is not really mine… Still working on accepting that…
That’s all folks! (for now) Thanks again for reading! I’ll try to keep my posts shorter in the future.
Check out this hilarious music video the guys team made in order to ask my team on a group date!!! :D
This blog is dedicated to FOOD! I’ve eaten so many random things.
First of all, instead of bananas with peanut butter in the mornings I’ve been forced to switch to bananas with wow butter (made with soy) because a couple of the Navigators staff member’s children have nut allergies and we are not allowed to have any form of nuts on campus. Wow butter tastes a lot like peanut butter but I will be excited to have some real, crunchy peanut butter when I get back! And Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream!!
We went to a sea food restaurant called Parson’s and I ate calamari, frog leg, gator tail, shrimp, and blue crab. It was delicious!!
The Boat House is the dining hall at UNF and the food is incredible! It has some pretty unique options sometimes, such as stuffed tomatoes and quinoa pancakes.
On Tuesday, my team had dinner at a family’s house that my team leader babysat for when she came to STP two years ago. They made us pizzas on the grill with homemade dough and sauce and even fresh rosemary and basil from their garden! And strawberry basil shortcake for dessert!
Today after church we went and got sushi for lunch! YUMMM!!! :D
Well, I asked God for a job and boy did I get a job! Last Friday was my first day working at Coach Factory. I’m one of the four Navigators assigned to the returns department. The process is taking me a while to get used to but basically I check purses, wallets, shoes, etc for defects and either scrap them or clean minor spots and repackage them. I work 7 to 4 every day and therefore I wake up at 5:15 AM. Next week I have overtime EVERY DAY and will be waking up at 4:15 AM and working 6-4!!! I am exhausted just thinking about it. BUT! I am thankful to even have a job so I shall stop complaining. On the bright side, I get to see the sun rise! (pardon the pun)
Apart from the lack of sleep, STP has been AMAZING! Each week there is a different theme. Week 1 was “Intimacy with Christ” and week 2 was “The Word of God”. Here’s my typical weekly schedule:
Sunday-Church at Neptune Baptist located right along the beach. We greet people and hand out bulletins before the early service, then we split up into life groups (I go to the college bible study), then we attend service. I love the pastor, I love the worship band, I love the people, I love the church!
Monday-Coach Factory, dinner, Rally Night! For Rally Night we sing worship songs, do skits, and have a guest speaker. Mike Jordahl spoke about intimacy with Christ and Chris Gatlyn spoke about the Word of God. Both are Navigators staff members and both are extremely powerful & passionate speakers! (and funny!)
Tuesday-Coach Factory, dinner, free night!
Wednesday-Coach Factory, dinner, Workshop Night! Workshop Night is similar to Rally Night except there’s no skits and the speaker focuses on the weekly theme a bit more.
Thursday-Coach Factory, dinner, Bible Study! Each week we individually complete a bible study packet on our own time and then we meet as a team Thursday night to discuss it. I absolutely love my team and I’ve learned a lot from them already! One of my goals is to become more knowledgeable about the Bible. I am confident in my beliefs but I would like to know more about God. After all, He knows EVERYTHING about me. Another goal I have is scripture memory. The only reason I’ve memorized scripture in the past was to earn jewels in AWANA… Quite honestly I never really saw the point in doing so. But now I’ve started memorizing random verses and it’s becoming a wonderful addiction. It’s a healthy thing to think about throughout the day and God’s word helps keep my spirits up!
Friday-Coach Factory, dinner, then either social event or group date! It alternates each week. The guys teams are assigned different girls teams to ask out throughout the summer. Team Wonderfully Made got asked out by team Megathirst via a code written on a series of notecards. For the date we played sand pictionary on the beach, got milkshakes at Sonic, and played French charades. We thanked them by baking brownies and singing a short thank you song. Last night was an all-STP social event, and we had Survivor: Jacksonville! It was epic. We split into tribes and competed in four challenges: a human minefield puzzle, eating spam/anchovies, hanging contest, and pushing rivals off of mattresses with pillows. My tribe was Kusema and was had sweet pink tie dyed shirts, tube socks, and bandanas. We tied for last place but it was tons of tun!!!
Saturday-Beach evangelism training in the morning, lunch, then actual beach evangelism! I’ll post more about my experiences later. I was so nervous/scared before going out the first time, but I’m much more comfortable with it now and I can’t wait to continue to share the gospel with people this summer and throughout the rest of my life!
I apologize, I intended to blog more frequently… but then I started working at Coach. This has been the hardest summer of my life so far and I’m not just being dramatic. I am extremely tired and overwhelmed but at the same time I feel incredibly blessed to be here and I have learned so much about myself and about God and I’ve met so many great people and done so many fun things and ate so much delicious food!
Thanks for reading! More posts yet to come :)