I'm sure that at this point all of you are done hearing about Covid-19 and what everyone is doing this time. However, I still wanted to give you all a little ministry and life update. Ministry has changed a lot in how we do it, yet my responsibilities and activities have not changed by much. I am still as busy as ever, it just looks a little different. I am able to meet with more girls than I was before because of the newfound flexibility in everyone's schedules. Girls that I had not been able to meet with earlier in the year I now have the time, which excites me! I am always disappointed when I can no longer meet with someone because our schedules don't line up. I have been doing all of the recording for our Sunday services so that also fills up a decent amount of time and what free time I have left is filled with homework.
As many of you know I am going to college, this is my first year. I decided I wanted to further my education so I could learn more about God and the Bible and as a result, do ministry better. It's been a good experience and God has taught me a lot through it. I really enjoyed my classes and will be finishing the year with a 4.0! I never thought something like this could happen. School was always something I struggled with and I have always felt I was stupid ,but slowly through this year God has shown me that I am smarter than I think I am and that I can do more then I think I can. He has shown me that even though learning can be a struggle for me that it doesn't mean it's impossible. Unfortunately, due to the financial burden of college I will not be returning in the fall. Fortunately, however, there is a cheaper option that will continue the purpose of why I went to school in the first place. Instead of pursuing a degree in Christian Ministry, I will be getting a certificate in it. I am so excited to continue further my education through this method instead. I feel that no matter what God will still continue to teach and grow me, but I am thankful for this opportunity to do it in this way.
Another life update: I was supposed to be living for my trip to Africa on May 19th but due to the pandemic I will no longer be going. If you have given in anyway to this trip don't worry your money will still be put to great use because I will be going next summer instead! Unfortunately, this does mean I will have to raise more support but I trust and believe that God will provide. Thankfully I was able to keep roughly 90% of what I raised that will count for the trip next year. If you have any question about this or why I have to raise more please feel free to email, call or text me. Thank you all who have already given!
Here's a little update from one of the students, Noelle Pool, I've been meeting with this year: (Noelle is to the left of me and Lydia is to the right which is who introduced me to Noelle.)
"While this time of quarantine is uncertain and challenging for all of us there have been good things that have come out of this. During quarantine I’ve had more free time which I decided to use praying and reading the bible. A big thing I learned and am grateful for during this time is how blessed I am. God has provided me everything from the necessities to live to the fun extra activities to enjoy in life. I’ve had many times where I’ve become impatient with my family as I’m sure many of us have to be in such close quarters with people or a month or more. When I’ve become frustrated or impatient with my family I go reflect and pray with god. Also, self- worth has been related to getting to know God in this time. I’ve found that when I get frustrated or upset sometimes because I feel like I have to fight for my self-worth with others because I feel like what they are saying is that I’m not good at this; I’m too much or whatever the thought is. But in knowing god I learned how he created me and how much he loves me the way that I am as do my other friends in Christ. As weird as this sounds learning about sin in relating to comparing myself to others has helped my confidence. God made us all differently with our varying strengths and weaknesses. We all sin though and so even with someone’s strength in something else I’m not strong in I make up for it in a different strength. This also means I sin and make mistakes too which means no one is perfect so I don’t have to compare myself to others. Even though I do sin God still loves me, knows how special I am, and wants me to believe that about myself. When I felt unworthy compared to others I turned to scripture to find love from God to show me how much he cares about me. He does listen to my prayers and fulfills his promises."
On a sadder note our H2O community lost a dear friend of ours. Jonathan Duffield passed away at the beginning of May. He had been apart of our community for 6 years. This loss was not only hard for our community but also my family. I personally knew him for 5 of those years. He was a personal friend to me, my brother, and because of that my family. My parents loved him like another son, and he was like another brother to Dustin and me. This was H2O's first loss and due to the pandemic and the fact that he is from Alabama we had to celebrate his life differently than normal. We had a memorial for him this past Sunday in one of our church member's back yard, it was invite only, and we had people share stories about him and Grant, our pastor, shared the gospel. It was a unique but a wonderful way to celebrate the life of Jon and the way he touched the lives of many people around him. In the photo above is Jon all the way to the right, with my brother in the middle, and DP, on the left, who was his other good friend he met in his time here at H2O. Where you found one of them the other two were not too far behind. He had a servant heart and was always ready and willing to serve and he will be greatly missed by so many. Please be praying for pour community and especially his family as we continue to grieve the loss of Jon.