a couple weeks ago i went out to lunch with the church staff. it was my very last church staff lunch. *tear* i put in my two-weeks notice as student ministries assistant. so...there you have it. as of tuesday, january 1st, i am no longer an employee of downey first christian church. this was a hard decision, and it took months for me to actually make it. student ministry is something very close to my heart. it's been a big part of my life for a long time now, beginning even when i was a student myself.
all through my childhood i was cared for deeply by people in the church who were passionate about the hearts of children. i remember the day jennifer hoferer gave me a bible. it was the first bible i ever owned, and i can't say i cared much about reading it as a third-grader, but it was always something special to me because it was given to me by someone who i knew loved me. and i still have it tucked away in a box of books in Reed Adamson's warehouse.
denise lafromboise stands out as being someone who led me into ministry by example too. when i think about growing up, my jr. high years are not the years i think about and smile. i did not like who i was or what i looked like, and i took that out on other people. in 8th grade i was a classic bully. i made fun of everyone around me so that i'd feel better about myself (that's a habit that formed so deeply that even in recent years i've struggled to keep it in check). i'm positive i was not easy to love. and denise always had a smile and a kind word for me. that has stuck with me all these years and i'm sure will be something i remember forever.
when i was in high school, i was ministered to by maybe the world's best leaders...doug aldridge, scott martin, and my mom and dad. i am so grateful for doug...for the investment he made in my life. i will never forget the parting gift marty gave me when he left to plant a church. he told doug not to bother with me; that i had an attitude problem and wasn't worth the effort. i am so grateful doug decided to find out for himself. yes, i did have a huge attitude problem. but i am worth the effort. i can't say i know where i'd be or where i wouldn't if i hadn't had doug's influence in my life...but i don't think i would be where i am. i think i would maybe have gone down a much darker road in life.
equally as impactful as being ministered to is ministering alongside other people. i was blessed to work with mike ferrulli and nathan charlton when my title officially became "student ministries assistant" and those were good years (or were they bad? i can't remember). the point is, i learned a lot from all these people, especially those i worked closest with. i learned how to use the things i'm good at, whatever they are, to speak God's love to people. and i learned to be me and make no apologies for who i am. i learned a lot about accountability and unity and the blessing that can come out of having a "common enemy". and now, because of this job i've had for almost five years, there are friendships that exist in my life that are lasting, edifying friendships. and i am so grateful.
i have been so blessed along the road of student ministry. it was a difficult decision to move on...but the time has come. my passion is being drawn to other parts of the world and i'd like to follow it where it goes.
thank you to the countless youth workers, student leaders, staff, band members, and students who have enriched my life.