Today, I've been working on getting my fundraising letters sent out regarding my summer at SMS STP 2011!! You've probably heard me talk about this, probably too much, probably loudly and obnoxiously and excitedly, but last summer I went to a summer training program with the Navs and it was SO WONDERFUL. We lived in Pigeon Forge, worked at Dollywood (which I feel is now my home away from home), and studied the Bible, to say the least. Before I went, I had this pretty big disdain for Pigeon Forge, which most Knoxville natives could easily understand. Obnoxious. I couldn't believe I was going to be living there for 8 whole weeks or that I was going to be working at Dollywood, and I was embarrassed to tell people that I was doing it. I felt God pushing me to go, however, so I went, and I can honestly say that it was the best decision I've ever made in my entire life.
It would be impossible for me to explain what exactly was so great about STP, but I can say that because the program was set up to be a "spiritual greenhouse," as they like to call it, the opportunities to spend in the Word were just abounding. So much of our lives were focused on imitating Christ and encouraging one another to do so. There were aspects of life during those 8 weeks that were hard- weekly evangelism, living with 12 people in close quarters, not having any good friends there going in, and various other things that many of you have heard about that I will not disclose here.
Ultimately, it was a summer of GROWTH. God spoke to me through so many blessings and hardships and Scriptures and experiences, and I can truly say that I experienced transformation over the summer (that and Dollywood are a reason I am now obsessed with butterflies). I loved it. I loved the people there, I loved my job, I loved learned to love spending time in the Word, and in the end, I loved Pigeon Forge.
AND I GET TO GO BACK!!!!!
I'm going back as a team leader, a pretty sweet, exciting, and scary position to be filling. Team leaders lead a team (obviously) of 3 or 4 guys or gals and lead them in Bible study, one-to-one weekly meetings, and encourage and challenge them spiritually throughout the summer. I have been praying about it this past year, and I have seen that God has not closed the door to this opportunity, but has left it wide open. That is super exciting and nerve wracking for me! The devil has been hard at work, shooting arrows of doubt and diminished self-worth my way, but I know that the Lord prevails EVERY TIME and that He can do a mighty work through even the weakest little sheep.
God is great. He will do work. He's already doing work. It is awesome.
I. am. so. excited. for. this. summer.