...Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith...

Hebrews 12:1-2

Friday, June 29, 2012

Time to Pass the Baton

I can't believe this is my last day of Relay. It seems like just yesterday I arrived in Cork with too many suitcases and felt entirely overwhelmed with the prospect of living and doing ministry in a foreign city. But here I am, 10 months later, an entirely different person.

There are so many things to say. I know I'll forget to say a lot of it and you'll just have to ask me about it more later, but I'm going to try to tie things up.

This year has been absolutely incredible - probably the best year of my life.
  • I grew in my personal relationship with God.
  • I grew in my knowledge of who He is. Studying theology has helped me actually understand and articulate what I believe and why I believe it.
  • I saw God provide in amazing ways! Support raising isn't exactly what I'd call "great craic" but God continued to prove how He cares for His children over and over. 
  • I saw students grow in faith, develop as leaders, overcome strongholds, "get it", and come to know Jesus! 
  • I worked. As much as college ministry might seem like a cush job, it is really difficult! Constantly preparing 121 Bible studies, talks, reports, essays, etc. while maintaining sincere relationships is very challenging! But God totally grew me in these areas! 
  • I rested. I learned how to balance work and rest and how to do both well. 
  • I saw God answer prayer! I can't count the prayers He has answered this year: finances, family, health, housing, boldness, wisdom, friends, students, etc. 
  • I ran with perseverance (spiritually and physically)! God has carried me through this Relay year to help me finish this leg of the race in my life. (And I ran in a marathon! 7.2 miles, baby!).
  • I danced: singing and dancing to "All the Relay Ladies" at RelayVision, doing the twist at the Grease Party, connecting with my housemates through nights out dancing, and ceroc dancing with great friends at Relay 3.
  • I laughed. I made some amazing friends this year in Cork, on the IFES Ireland team, and with fellow Relays and I cherish every moment together!
  • I worshiped. Studying the theology of worship opened my eyes to what truly worshiping God with my whole life should look like, and it transformed the way I approach singing and playing guitar. 
  • I soaked in God's beauty. His character is reflected everywhere in creation, and living in a place as beautiful as Ireland, you cannot help but stop and breathe Him in. 
  • I experienced God's grace. 
I could go on but it would take ages.

Thanks to everyone who has prayed for me and supported me, either financially, emotionally, or spiritually. Brothers and sisters (especially missionaries) need their siblings to encourage them, hold them accountable, and cheer them on in the race. I thank you all for "holding the rope" for me as I "went into the pit".
Thanks to the CUs at CIT, UCC, UL, LIT, and WIT for being amazing. You all inspire me so much. I've learned much from you. Thank you for welcoming me in as one of your own.
Thanks to the other "Reladies" of IFES Ireland for being some of the best friends I could ever ask for: for making me laugh when I was sad, for making me cry from so much laughter, and for being super awkward. I love you girls. 
Thanks to my Staff Workers Peter Kenny and Esther Drihem for helping me learn and grow in every possible way. You both know how much you mean to me.

Well, I guess this is it. I'll be sticking around Cork for a few weeks and I'll probably post another blog before I head home. This month has been a crazy emotional time of ups and downs, of saying hello to new friends and goodbye to old ones.

As a wise man at Relay 3 once said, "It doesn't end here. Once a Relay, always a Relay." But for now, it's time to pass the baton! 

"You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 
 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, 
commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."
2 Timothy 2:1-2