Life Change: reflections from Journey Interns

Mary London Carswell

The whole entire summer I have been learning about the different characteristics of God and who He truly is. It’s crazy to think that all 20 years of my life I have only known part of what makes God the incredibly large and immensely intentional God that He really is. Although I have learned literally hundreds of truths about our Creator, I am only going to elaborate on one due to the space limitations. An essential quality that I never knew about my God until this summer was seeing Him as a pursuer. Yeah, I knew God was my Heavenly Father, my provider, my protector, and my friend, but not once did I think of God as a lover or someone who pursued me. With that, it’s not like some middle school boyfriend that likes and “pursues” the girl in his homeroom class, but a God who is so madly in love with me (Jeremiah 31:3), enthralled with my beauty (Psalm 45:11), and knows every tiny thing about me (Psalm 139:1) yet still chooses to relentlessly pursue me. Man, what a life changing realization! The cool thing is that God’s pursuit did not start this summer when I started acknowledging it, but it started way before I was even born (Jeremiah 1:4). That’s crazy. God fixed my eyes on Him in such a new way this summer that it almost feels like I’ve been blind for all 20 years of my life.

With an elevated perspective from the Lord, I started to acknowledging little details and gifts God put in my day specifically for me. One example in particular sticks out to me and it is too sweet of a gift from God not to share it. One day in Nairobi, we made a road trip up to an orphanage in the Kinangop area started by a couple from Texas. We were there to meet them and see how they ran things instead of hanging out with the children because they were busy with school. At the end of our awesome tour of Naomi's Village we went into the dining room to say our goodbye’s to the staff and to say hello to the kids quickly before we left. God, knowing my heart and desiring to give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4), knows that nothing makes me happier than simply hugging and loving on kids, African kids in particular. The second I walked in the room, a boy with the biggest smile and tons of bracelets on his arm ran and jumped into my arms. He told me his name was Kevin and asked me what my name was. That was the extent of our conversation, but he didn’t get out of my arms until I walked out of the door. God just lavished His love on me through Kevin that day in such a tender way that I will never forget how near He felt to me. Simply because it is His desire to do so (1 John 3:1). That is only one example of how our insanely cool God showed me that He wants to by my everything, not just my Father, and that nothing will every separate me from His love. (Romans 8:38)

 

Sheeva Olyaie

So you see, there’s this thing about God: He knows exactly what we need, when we need it, and He loves us enough to give it to us. Paul tells us all about this in Ephesians 3. Verse 6 of that chapter says “And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.” As he continues, Paul tells the Ephesians of the prayer that he lifts up to the Father for them: (v. 18-19) “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

God took me all the way to Africa to solidify this truth in my heart. He didn’t need to: He’s God. He could have taught me all about how much He loves me right there in the comfort of my own home. He could have knocked me over in one intense, desperate situation to make me realize how much He has my best interests at heart. Instead, He made this a gentle process that occurred over SEVEN MONTHS- from the time I was accepted into Journey, all the way up to today, the last day of debrief here in Hotlanta, GA. Imagine: a seven month stroll with God, seeing His faithfulness and provision. And then, at the end of that walk, He just spreads out His arms, points back at the last seven months, and says “I CHOSE you for all of that.” God didn’t NEED to take me all the way to Africa to show me that He loves me and wants to give me everything I need, but He DID. Through this Journey Internship, I got to spend seven months walking down a path with my Savior, learning about His peace, love, and provision. And the great news at the end of that story is this: I’m finished with this Journey Internship, the end of one path; but I get to start another one tomorrow!

 

Kelton Hughes

I had the chance to go to Haiti back in February with Choose To Invest and God blessed me with a chance to come on this Internship over this entire summer. Journey Internship has hands down changed my life. It wasn’t the internship that changed me life, it was God that changed my life. He took me out of my comfort zone, broke me down and showed me more of who He is. Over this internship, I learned a ton about grace and discipline. God continued to push me harder and harder throughout the trip and in the end, it’s all worth it. Because in the end, we don’t deserve what we get. Yet he still blesses us with life! I went into this trip wanting to come out with a stronger relationship with Jesus and that is exactly what happened. I couldn’t be anymore happier then I am now.