the summer i felt redeemed

I never remember FEELING redeemed before this summer. Redemption was something I kind of knew about, it was something I talked about in Sunday School and heard in church sermons. But I didn’t know that it could actually be FELT. I didn’t know until this summer that redemption and grace go hand in hand. I didn’t know that God’s grace is shown through HIS people. It is shown by second chances. It is shown by people trusting me again. And not just trusting, but giving me more of a chance than I had ever had in my life to live for God.

The summer started before summer. It started when I got a phone call from Wanda Wilt early in April asking me to help her co-direct our Vacation Bible School. I said, “sure, why not.” What else did I have to do at that time, really? So I jumped in full force and began learning the ropes for running VBS. It was a learning process. It involved meeting after meeting and spreadsheet after spreadsheet, but it was so worth it. From June 15th – 19th my life was consumed with morning and evening VBS. I should have just lived at the church that week.

There is something special about VBS that I still can’t place my finger on. There’s something about it that makes me cry every time we reach our missions money goal. There is something about the way the kids faces light up when they sing the songs. There’s something about the way the church transformed into the Amazon all for the kids. There’s something about dressing like a crazy person to go to church. There’s something about the way the little kids hug you on the playground every night. But most important, there’s something there that we give them that week. The Bible becomes a little more real, a little more important, and a little more exciting to them. And that’s the whole point of our long preparation, isn’t it?

Rewind a little bit in time to my first week in the office working on VBS. Gary stops me in the hallway and asks if I want to go on the Jr. High Believe conference that weekend. They really need another adult female sponsor to go, and would I be willing… Um, do you REALLY need me? I mean, Jr. High kids, come on. But once again I say, “sure, why not” and I’m off on another adventure.

My thinking about Jr. Highers changes on this trip. I swore up and down I would never work with them, and look where God has obviously placed me. He seems to do that quite often in my life. I had an incredible time and I’ve been a sucker for working with the Jr. High kids ever since.

Because of the above trip, I ended up being a sponsor at the Round Lake Jr. High week that I attended as a Jr. High student. I worked under the same deans I went to camp under. I served with the staff that served me. And I grew to love my kids even more, especially as I watched them get catapulted into the air on the blob. Camp was a highlight of my summer because of one night we had. They had an altar call for the kids and those who also wanted prayer could come forward and receive that. 5 girls from my dorm came forward for prayer and I got to sit around a table and pray with them collectively and individually. My heart broke that night as I listened to their struggles, cried with them and tried to encourage them through this time. I had no clue what to say when I walked down with them, but God gave me the words and pushed me to minister to them that night.

Another highlight came the week after camp. I got home on a Friday and boarded a plane on Saturday to go to another place I call home. I went back to Arizona, largely because they begged me to come back and bake cookies for them, but also because I had missed everyone terribly the whole year that I had been gone. My week was full of incredible moments. I drove the strip in Vegas, watched the Bellagio fountains, got Arizona iced tea at gas stations, went to church and sang with their teens, cooked in the same place I did before, ate plenty of frybread – even my favorite meal, frybread, spam and onions, sang with Daniel, had a heartbreaking and incredible conversation with Daniel, reminisced about last summer, drove up Navajo mountain, camped, saw the best view, and swam in Lake Powell. It was everything I dreamed and more. This was the place where I experienced both extreme hardships and also extreme joy. I left a part of my heart with those people, and I will always carry a part of them with me.

The end of July provided me another opportunity to work with Jr. High students. I took a three day mission trip with them to the Christian Children’s Home of Ohio, where my main job was to cook for our team. Our kids built and painted picnic tables for the children’s home. We also got to climb a 40-foot tower and zipline down. This was a new a scary experience for many of these kids, and it was fun to be there and encourage them in this adventure.

August has included a stint of grandma-sitting for some of my friends’ grandma while they were on vacation. I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would. It has included a family vacation to Minnesota where I was thoroughly entertained by my cousin’s 4 and 2 year old boys. And it has also included me going back to Tree of Life as a secretary for 3 weeks, a job that was an answer to a prayer I didn’t even know I had.

At the beginning of all of this, I had no clue what the next year held in store for me. Many of you who read this already know that the next year of my life holds an adventure that will be greater than I can even imagine at this point. Another part of my FEELING redeemed this summer was my acceptance into a program called the World Race. It is through an organization in Georgia called Adventures in Missions and it is an 11-month, 11 country missions trip experience. I heard about this trip in February of 2008 and ever since then, it has been on the back of my mind. When I didn’t receive an internship that I had applied for, the World Race once again popped into my mind and I began the application process in May. In mid-June I got accepted and it has been a whirlwind of emotions ever since. I am incredible excited, but I have days where I am scared out of my mind wondering what I am thinking. God calls us out of our comfort zones, and while I know that I can do this with HIM, I still can’t stop the scary feeling I get knowing that I am leaving everything I know for 11 months. It is a long time, but this is something that He has called me to do, and I’m going to do it.
So, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Kenya, Uganda, Pioneer Africa, Romania, Ukraine and Pioneer Eastern Europe, here I come.

I have been broken. And I am redeemed.

(For more information on the World Race, check our their website at www.theworldrace.org or my World Race blog at www.margietermeer.theworldrace.org)


rachel joy baransi said...

what tangible proof that God is so good!
excited about the things he's doing in your life!

Kathy T said...

you're awesome and we are so excited with you about where God is leading... don't ever be afraid to follow Him!