Round Two

Finally, after 5 months, I’m ready to post my second blog post!  A lot has happened since September, including our fall retreat, wINNter wonderland party, INNtern retreat, Christmas break, and tons of small group and staff meetings in between.  I am still in love with the beauty of the Northwest, here’s a snapshot of a Bellingham day:

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At this point in the year, a regular week for me includes meeting one on one with about 5-7 students, reflecting/planning in staff meetings, leading a small group, planning and preparing for our weekly worship night, helping out with various events (snowshoeing, movie night, women’s hikes, etc.), intern training, 7 AM bible study with student leaders, and tons of intern bonding time!  I also often find myself holed up and working in various coffeeshops around town, (there are so many to choose from!), working out at the YMCA, or trying very hard not to spend money at local restaurants and breweries.

My favorite part of the internship at this point is definitely its relational focus.  I love spending so much time with students and hearing more about their lives and the issues on their hearts.  The student community at the INN is such an amazing and loving group of people; I am so thankful for the relationships that I have been able to build with our students.  I’ve also been so grateful for the INN’s staff; I love working on a team with 6 amazing people who consistently challenge and encourage me to grow.  They have taught me so much about God, faith, love, ministry, and relationship.  The other three interns have become my close friends and sisters; I am so incredibly grateful to work with women who are close friends as much as they are coworkers.  Somehow, we still want to hang out with each other even after spending all day working side by side!  They’re the best!

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Our staff at our wINNter wonderland party!

About two weeks ago I was given the opportunity to give the talk at the INN’s Tuesday night worship.  We had just started a new series (First Impressions) through which each intern is given a night to speak.  I was the first intern to go, and it was actually an enjoyable experience! I’m not usually the type to enjoy speaking in front of groups, so I was kind of dreading the night as it crept closer and closer.  I was given the passage Matthew 12:1-14 to speak on, and charged with the task of using this story to take a second look at the character of Jesus.  The passage touches on the issue of scripture, and how we interact and view it, which is something that I’ve always struggled with.  But I loved the process of studying this one passages over a few weeks and having the chance to reach a better understanding of the context and background of the story.  Even now, as I’ve been done with the talk for a couple weeks, I’m still thinking and reflecting on the things I learned and saw in the passage.  And I actually ended up enjoying speaking in front of our community on Tuesday night!  It went better than I thought it would, and I got tons of encouragement and compliments afterwards (compliments make everything worth it!).  I loved talking with our students afterwards about what they thought of my talk and what ideas it brought up in them.  An overall 10/10 experience!

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Me speaking at the INN!

The next big focus for the INN will be our spring break mission trips! We have four trips: Jackson, MS, Mt. Vernon, WA, Agua Prieta, Mexico, and Malibu, B.C.  I will be helping to lead our trip up to Malibu, B.C., where we will be helping prepare and clean-up a Young Life summer camp.  I’m so excited about the trip!  After spending a few years in Malibu, CA, I’m ready to see how the other Malibu competes.  Supposedly Malibu, B.C. is a beautiful, magical place hidden up in Canada that will change my life.  I’ll let you all know if its reputation holds up.  The dates for that trip are March 21-25, please pray for our group of students and the other mission trips that the INN is sending out!

The INN is also working on an art exhibit that will be shown this May!  We have invited about 25 students to create works of art that reflect a part of their faith journey and how they have seen God throughout their life.  We have students using poetry, paintings, sculptures, songs, photography or engineering to express how they’ve seen God work.  I’m so excited to see our students’ final projects.  I’m personally working on building a harmonograph with a math student for the exhibit.  If you don’t know what that is, google it! They’re so cool, I’ll let you all know if it ends up working out…

I’ve learned so much since September; I understand so much more about people, God, my faith, and even coffee and beer.  I’ve fallen in love with the city of Bellingham, with its neighborhood feel and the beautiful (and not even rainy???) weather.  As I’m struggling to somehow capture the entirety of my year so far in this post, I’m enjoying a latte in an incredibly hip and eccentric coffee shop in downtown Bellingham.  Right now, there is a man in his mid-forties to my left, drawing a beautiful, psychedelic, fractal-looking design on a sketch pad, while to my right a couple of college students are furiously studying their anatomy notes.  A man with a dog tucked into his jacket just came inside and ordered a rose latte while Modest Mouse plays through the speakers.  This scene perfectly captures the eccentric diversity found here.  And I love it!

I love it so much that as I’m starting to make plans for life after this internship, I’m pretty determined to stay and live in this city for the next couple of years.  My plans for next year include staying involved with local ministries while finding a big girl job and living with good friends.  I plan on working and saving for a couple of years and then going to graduate school for a masters in counseling.  Please pray for me as I start yet another job search!!! (And let me know if you hear of any openings…).

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The First Month

My transition from sunny Malibu to cloudy Bellingham has been a smooth one thus far.  Although the sun and surf at Pepperdine will always hold a special place in my heart,  I am loving the different kind of beauty that the Northwest offers.

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Right now I’m sitting in Woods Coffee, a coffee shop found along the water in the middle of a park.  Although it’s misting outside, the sun is still shining through the clouds, basking the whole park in a soft glow.  The people around me are classic Bellingham-ers: dressed in multiple layers, friendly, a little eccentric, and obsessed with coffee.  In my short month here, I’ve so far learned that nearly every resident of Bellingham loves both a good coffee shop and a good brewery.  Since I know very little of the complexities of both coffee and beer, I have been quickly trying to catch up to my peers by frantically googling “IPA beer for dummies” and “What actually IS a latte??” when no one is looking.  I still have a lot to learn…

Interning at The INN has been an amazing experience so far!  I have been learning a ton about both myself and the incredible planning and effort that goes into full time ministry.  From 7 AM bible studies to donut Mondays to meeting SO MANY new students, my days have been very full and very fulfilling.  I have discovered so many strengths and weaknesses in myself that I had never been able to see while in school.  For example, while building the famous Marquee letters from scratch, I have learned that I can actually be pretty crafty… and perfectionistic…

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I built those! ^ With my own two hands!

The INN has been off to a great start this year; we have been able to connect with both new and returning students through different activities and our weekly worship on Tuesday nights.  We spent the weekend before classes began at Firwood Camp for a training retreat for our small group leaders.  This time was spent preparing our student leaders for different issues that can arise while leading a small group.  We also read through the entire book of Mark (Which surprisingly only took about 90 minutes!).  The year continued as students began making their way back to campus and we were able to meet tons of new students at Red Square Fair, (which is similar to Waves Expo for my Pepperdine readers).  Now that school is in full swing, we have had a few events to help students connect, including men’s paintball and a women’s sunrise hike.

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(^That’s Spikeball, super fun lawn game!)

In the next month, we will be having our fall retreat (November 7-9), and Collide (an all day women’s worship event on October 25).  Small groups will also continue meeting weekly, (my small group is so great! Seriously, my girls are so amazing and I am so excited to spend this year with them!), and we will be having worship every Tuesday night.  We would appreciate prayers for these events and our ministry as a whole as we get further into the fall quarter.

Until next time, cheers!