I'm exhausted, and so glad to be. I just spent the week in Madison, Wisconsin, helping put on my first TeenPact class of the season. This class was, of course, very different than those of the past two years, with a lot more responsibility that comes with the intern position. But I was blessed with one of the best staff teams I could have asked for. Mr. Hall, Mrs. Morton, Mrs. Barker, Stephen, Brady, Kendyl, Hope, Rachel, Christa, Micah, and Jon, you all allowed God to use you powerfully this past week, and I'm grateful to have worked alongside you.
Some highlights from TeenPact Wisconsin include the following:
Broomball. This had to come first. Imagine running/sliding around in your shoes on a frozen pond with a stick-ish thing and trying to hit a ball into a goal, like soccer. And if you're like me, you fall flat on your stomach at least every other time you take a whack at the ball. Needless to say, it was a highlight of the week, and everyone I played can tell you that I probably had the most fun of anyone out there, even though my knees are a solid purple now...
The Capitol. The Madison Capitol building is gorgeous, probably the most beautiful of all the states I've been to thus far. Plus, we were "serenaded" by the Solidarity Singers (remnants of the 2011 Teacher's Union protesters) every day from 12:00 to 1:00. Pretty fantastic.
Class Roles. At the four-day and one-day classes, there are a lot of jobs that everyone takes on. This week, I had a blast with each one I was given. Giving my first state class girl talk, administering quizzes, leading the lobbyist Field Experience with Micah, grading homework (with my aaaaaaaawesome staff team....), chairing the one-day legislature, etc. were all growing experiences for sure, but wonderful memories as well.
Tobogganing. This crazy toboggan sled was so steep that when you were sitting at the top, you don't see the part of the slide you're about to slide down, you just see it coming out at the bottom, shooting you out onto the frozen lake. I don't remember being that scared in a loooong time. And then when Kendyl and I volunteered to go first without realizing that it had about 5 inches of fresh snow at the bottom... they said that from the top, you couldn't even see us through the cloud of snow. Good times.
The Students. What an incredible group of people. Fifty-three people who touched my life and shared so much with me. Especially on Wednesday night, so many of them shared huge things from their lives, some even committing themselves to Christ for the first time. To all of you, I'm praying for you. You are setting out on something so much bigger than TeenPact, you're seeking Jesus harder than ever before. Take up the armor of God, because the battle is not for the faint-hearted. But remember, the battle has already been won.
The Staff. To think of how little I knew those eight people just a week ago blows my mind! Now, we all share memories that will bind us together for years to come. Thank you all for your support, your dedication, and your sincerity. Thank you for "striving for five" with me. I love and miss each of you already.
The Lessons. God never passes up an opportunity to teach us. This week, my learning curve was phenomenal. Not only did I learn so many logistical and systematical methods, tips, and pointers, but I continued to see Him pour out grace upon grace. It was undeserved, as grace can only be. I saw God change hearts, not a program or even a staff team. I learned more about letting go of my pride and reputation, while trusting God to glorify Himself in my weaknesses. And as each day passed, I understood His love less and less. Yes, each day I live makes me realize how crazy His love truly is. And yet, it is.
The anthem of this class will, for me, be to the words we sang on Wednesday night, from It Is Well:
"My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord oh my soul!"