Simplifying Service

As a member of World Vision ACT:S Leadership Council, I recently posted a blog describing my journey about volunteering for the Lord.

You can see it here

Simplifying Service

The day after I graduated from high school, I packed my bags and went to Russia.

It was a big leap, but the truth is that service has defined my life. Spending a month working with orphans in Russia through Global Expeditions was just the logical next step—and it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I witnessed the power of prayer; I persevered in overcoming obstacles to show the love of Christ.

Even as far back as sixth grade, I had always been into service. When I eventually started college at Elon University, I automatically joined the Service Learning Community, doing projects several times a month. I joined the service team of my intervarsity chapter. As a sophomore I lead the SLC for the new freshmen. I found a great group of friends, but there was a dilemma: I was not actually enjoying the service aspect.

Volunteering had always been something I’d done, so I figured it was something I was supposed to continue in college. But in continuing service almost as a default activity, I had grown bored. I realized I was missing the point of volunteering.

Thinking back to why I had originally started volunteering, all those years ago, I was able to reduce it back to its simplicity: it was out of love that I wanted to serve. It was because I could show the love of Jesus to people that did not know Him. As Mother Teresa once said, “Love cannot remain by itself—it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.”

With my head back around what I was doing, I decided to tackle a new project. This time, I chose to work with my youth group as a counselor for the middle school students. Preparing and chaperoning their mission trip to Wilmington, NC reignited my love for service. I saw Jesus is every face that we served.

Later, I found myself working with an organization called Stop Child Trafficking Now in New York City. I became passionate about this global human rights issue, but I didn’t know what I could do about it once I came home.

Then came the time for Urbana ’09, Intervarsity’s international missions conference, in December of my junior year. There, I finally realized how my passions and my major can be used for the love of God. As a communications major, I love to write and read and spread the word on social issues. At Urbana, I took part in the advocacy track—this is my calling. I want to inspire others and get the word out across my campus and the U.S. about issues that matter.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 says, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”

I am still learning how to use my gifts, but I’m excited to be a part of something so much bigger than myself with World Vision ACT:S. My goal is to get my Intervarsity chapter passionate about serving and acting as the hands and feet of Christ not only in our local community, but also on a global scale.


Gymnastics is life, the rest is just details

So I know not everyone cares about the women’s gymnastics national championship and you may be wondering why I care.  Well, I  participated in gymnastics for about 16 years. I was involved in club gymnastics, even competing at nationals, then I competed for my high school’s varsity team.
After posting about the national championships, I thought it was only fair to let you know who won!
Rebecca, the powerhouse, won all-around as well as beam and uneven bars titles and a silver on floor exercise.
Alicia Sacramone (the 2008 Olympian who is making a comeback) took her 5th national title on vault.
Mattie Larson came in second in the all-around and won the national floor title.

 watch Mattie’s winning floor routine Be sure to notice how she sticks her tumbling passes, her elegant toe point and leg lines.

Intern. Missionary. Gymnastics enthusiast.

These past couple of weeks have flown by – actually, the whole summer has. I finished my internship in the Governor’s Office then immediately had two interviews for fall internships and left for Nashville, TN for a mission trip.

My internship was absolutely wonderful. The Governor definitely stays busy, so she keeps her office working hard. My co-workers taught me about event-planning for a public figure, how to articulate messages for specific media outlets and audiences, cooperation and overall office dynamics.

My trip to Nashville, TN was with my church youth group as a chaperone to the middle schooler students. We worked with a group called SLAM (Students Living A Mission). Service projects we worked with included a Sudanese church, a struggling Somalian restaurant, hoarders homes and a government assisted facility for the elderly. Other than serving we had worship, and sermons about the Image of God and lots of fun games. The message that really struck me was about servant-leadership. I was so focused on serving others, but I forgot how I needed to lift up those girls and boys that I was working with.

And now on to another passion of mine: Gymnastics

The gymnastics national championships are going on this week – a competition I live for. Only a couple of the 2008 Olympic Women’s Team are competing – Alicia Sacramone and Bridget Sloan. Unfortunately, both are not competing all-around.

I admire Alicia, she retired after the Olympics at 20 years old and decided to come back. She looks great, after spending a lot of time working out before getting back into the gym. She always looks like she’s having a blast competing.

My new favorite (junior) gymnast is Jordyn Wieber. She has beautiful lines, very difficult skills and even after being out of competition for over a year – she is rocking in competition.

(senior) Rebecca Bross is another powerhouse. She trains at the same gym  that produced Olympic all-around gold medalists Carly Patterson (2004) and Nastia Liukin (2008),  and her skills are the hardest in the world. My only complaint is her lack of grace and dance ability (that’s the dancer in me that thinks every gymnast should be able to dance as well as do difficult skills).

Others that I love to watch are Mattie Larson (beautiful dancing and toe point) and Mackenzie Caquatto (great personality and lines).

I miss the sport every time I watch a meet, but I absolutely love keeping up with it- even if my friends are sick of me talking about the gymnasts.  Gymnastics combines beauty, grace, and crazy skills.