Every Ending is the Beginning of Something New
Reflections of a JYG Intern
Well. Here we are at the end of the summer, and the end of my stint as the JYG intern. Summer 2018 has flown by, and I can't believe how close I've grown to people in such a short time. Below is my personal story of how God moved to make me an intern at The Journey, some of my experiences, and what I have learned as a result.
A Little Backstory
The day after I graduated from Oklahoma Christian (#OCisHome), my parents and I went out to lunch with David and Lisa Combs, who used to attend church with us in San Antonio. David and Lisa, sweet people that they are, asked me all about my career plans, what I wanted to do, and where I wanted to live. My answer was a stress-filled, "I don't know". I didn't have any job offers, and I wanted to stay in Oklahoma City so badly, but it didn't make sense to stay if I had no job. Lisa suggested that I look in Tulsa, and if I did end up there, she would "find me a man". I laughed, we hugged goodbye, and I thought that was the end of it.
Fast forward to three weeks later. I'm living at home with my parents, I'm going to second and third round interviews for jobs, and I. Am. Miserable. Every job interview fills me with an inexplicable sense of doom and I leave each office thinking that this can't be all there is to life after college. Then, something awful happens. I get offered a job. And then another one. And then another! Instead of panicking, I just stop answering my phone when it rings. I don't email hiring managers back. If you don't acknowledge it, it doesn't exist... right?
That night, I have a serious talk with God. I pour out my heart to Him. Why are you doing this to me? Why do I feel like all of these jobs would be a huge mistake? Did I just waste four years of my life, and thousands of dollars, earning a degree in a field I don't even like? Everything feels wrong, and I fall asleep in the early hours of the morning, desperately trying to put my trust in Him.
The next day, Lisa Combs calls me. She asks if she can pass my information along to the youth minister at the church where she works. She says that after our conversation at lunch, she thinks I would be perfect for the summer internship. I say yes, because what do I have to lose?
My dad asks me after my first Skype interview how it went, and I said, "They're going to offer it to me", to which he says, "Oh, it went that well?". But that wasn't it. I prayed about it, and in my heart I already knew that this is where God wanted me to be. A week later, I've just finished my second Skype interview with The Journey staff. 15 minutes after the call ends, Nate Donley texts me and offers me the job. One week after that, I'm in Tulsa, starting my summer as The Journey Youth Group (JYG) intern.
I wish I could write about every interaction I've had this summer that had a positive impact on me, but I don't think I have the time, so I'll just hit some of the highlights.
- My Host Family
This summer I lived with TJ and Barty Kuruvilla; OC alums and all around incredible people. When I walked into their house, Barty wrapped me in a hug and TJ told me to grab a plate because we were about to sit down to dinner. From the very first moment I stepped into their lives, they have made me feel like I belong.
- My Co-workers
Every person on staff at The Journey is wonderful. Not only are they great coworkers, they're my friends. Nate Donley is my boss, and our first week working together was an adjustment for both of us. I love details, and believe they are essential to get any job done well. Nate, however, is a fan of the ambiguous. We both had to learn how to work with a drastically different personality, and I think we did a pretty great job, if I may say so myself. Nate showed me the ropes of youth ministry, pushed me outside my comfort zone, and challenged me to try new things. I always say that my ideal job would challenge me to grow not only professionally, but personally, and that's exactly what Nate did this summer.
- The Kids
Wow. Where do I even begin? Not only did I get the honor of The Journey kids letting me into their lives, but I also got close to the kids I counseled at our different summer camps. We've had late night talks, Hurts Donut trips, bowling nights, we've been to the Center of the Universe (a highly overrated Tulsa tourist attraction), but most importantly we've worshipped together. There is not a single thing in this world I love more than worshipping with people I love, and I got to do that multiple times this summer.
Like I said, I wish I had time to go into detail about every meaningful moment I've had this summer, but I think this blog is running a little long. All that's really left to say is that I am so thankful for this experience. I've grown closer to God, I've made new and wonderful friends, and I've made so many wonderful memories that I'll never forget. To close out this blog, I'll leave you with the verse that I have returned to over and over again this summer:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.