Well, I’ve been in Nashville for a little over 2 weeks and here’s what’s happening…
In case you’re asking “Amber, what are you doing in Nashville?” here’s a little summary. I am working for the Center for Student Missions. Basically my job is to introduce youth groups to urban ministry. We partner with a number of non-profit organizations and different ministries year round. While the groups are in Nashville, we serve at several sites during the week, take them on a prayer tour of the city, and eat at ethnic restaurants each night (Turkish, Vietnamese, Thai, Soul food, etc.). So that’s the gist of it.
My team is AMAZING!! We are all pretty different from each other but we make a nice blend. Nolan is from Kansas, has a suh-weet mustache, and likes to disagree with everything the rest of us like. Gavin and Megan are from California, but totally different people. Megan is definitely a hippie at heart who has vowed not to wash her hair all summer long. Gavin swims for Berkeley, loves Aretha Franklin, and is practically bff’s with Mariah Carey. Mallory is a veteran missionary who has served in the Philippines, Africa, and CSM Chicago. Lara (my roommate) is from Kentucky, loves her UK Basketball and has an amazing voice. And I’m the type A personality who loves numbers and keeps us from losing touch with reality. I absolutely love my city director, Jes, and her adorable son Elijah. Equally as amazing are our associate city director, Kristin, and her deaf dog, Annie.
Ministry Site Spotlight
I’m going to try to spotlight a different ministry every time I blog. The ministry site that has really stuck out to me during the last two weeks is Project Cure. This organization collects medical supply donations and distributes them to third world countries. Project Cure is located in Nashville, Houston, Phoenix, and Denver. Since Nashville’s number one industry is health care, not music, many local hospitals partner with Project Cure by donating anything from bandages and gauze to operation tables and x-ray machines. AWESOME! What really hit me was that this organization has an operating budget of $0 and runs on donations that come through word of mouth. For instance Wal Mart ships all donations for free, and when one driver noticed a need for organizational units in the warehouse, he went up the chain of power to get some stackable units donated. There is also a local business that donates brand new boxes and packing tape to package supplies for shipping. Collaboration is key for Project Cure and I’m so excited to see how God continues to provide for them.
Who I’ve met
I have met so many great people since I’ve been here. Our ministry contacts are fantastic and the restaurant owners are super nice people (especially the ones who give us baklava!) but the people I’ve met on the street have so much personality. Jaime, sometimes called Willie Nelson is a man I met this week who reminds me of my father. With his long hair fastened in a ponytail holder and a patriotic bandana tied Rambo-style around his head, he sat down to enjoy a hot meal in the shade. I decided to sit next to him and find out some of his story. He has lived in several states including Florida and Illinois, but ended up in Nashville when his 16 year old daughter Elizabeth and her mother moved here. He went on and on about how much he loved Lizzie and spending time with her. One of his favorite pass times with her is canoeing and camping. I could tell that he loved her immensely and that it was hard for him to accept her busy teenage life schedule since it left little time to spend with her dad. Hopefully I’ll be able to meet up with him again to check how Lizzie is doing and hear more about his life.
We are not working specifically with flood relief this summer, but we will be assisting some of the ministries we partner with repairs and any other flood related damages. Please be in prayer for Feed the Children. It is an amazing ministry that provides clothes, food, and much more to the surrounding area. The Feed the Children warehouse, located in East Nashville, was flooded and has been completely gutted for repairs and renovations. Hopefully they will be back in action by mid-July or sooner.
I have been learning so many important lessons about ministry, leading, and living in community since I’ve been here. One of the things that God is really showing me is a little more personal. For the first time in my life, my community doesn’t look exactly like me. As I mentioned before, our team is a crazy mixture of unique people, and I love it. I have been challenged because my normal tendency is to blend in with the people I’m around. Well, how do I blend in with five other people who are in no way the same? The answer sounds simple, “don’t blend in, just be yourself” but that is hard to do when I’m not really sure who I am. I’ve been blending for so long that I’ve forgotten who I really am. My prayer is that I can become more confident in my personality and show my true colors to the people around me without fear of judgment or ridicule. God and I definitely have some work to do, but I am definitely ready for it.
-Amber, CSM Nashville Summer 2010 City Host
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