Thursday, June 19, 2014

Happy Summer!

(from left to right) Alexis, Miranda, Olivia, Ashley, Caitlin.  

Winter has faded away as summer rains are sweeping across Philadelphia and flowers are blooming sweetly.  At CSM, groups are arriving and our staff is thriving. 

We have five wonderful young women who have joined us for the summer.  They have learned as much as we could teach them in two weeks of training- Philly roads, leadership styles, conflict resolution, customer service, meeting our 28 ministry partners, and more!  They are ready and excited, and they are currently out with our first groups of the summer, serving Philly and learning to walk in love.

Over the past few weeks, I've noticed that the staff is preoccupied with getting every aspect of hosting right.  They're worried about if they happen to get lost, or where the best spot is to eat lunch.  And Brittany and I tell them over and over again- it's not in never making mistakes that we find their competency.  Rather, we know they are competent not because they get everything right, but because, even when it's hard, they choose first to love.

I've been inspired a lot by this quote from Mother Teresa as I've watched the staff get excited for the summer and felt the responsibility of caring for and teaching them:

"The success of love is in the loving- it is not
in the result of the loving.  Of course it is
natural in love to want the best for
the other person, but whether it turns
out that way or not does not determine
the value of what we have done."

We're not going to get it all right.  We're just not.  So where we lose out is not in making mistakes, but in not trying at all.  It takes so much effort, trust, faith, and caring to try- but when I see one of the staff step out of their comfort zone to heal a conflict when they're tired, or listen to each other's stories, or confess jealousies in order to heal, I know that I have seen something marvelous and perhaps otherworldly.  It takes a strength I cannot describe to go beyond ourselves to care.  And whether it works or not is not the important part.

I have learned so much from this staff, as I always do.  They inspire me with their excitement and selflessness.  I am grateful to work with such amazing women.

Here's how you can pray for us:

  • Pray for the groups as they prep for their time in Philly; pray for safe travel as they arrive
  • Pray for Brittany and I as we schedule the summer and prepare for all the groups coming
  • Pray for us as we develop new relationships with non-profits in Philadelphia, and pray for our 28 current ministry partners and the good work they do day in and day out
  • Pray for our staff: Pray that they would build wonderful community and lean on encouragement and grace as they grow and serve.

- Nicole Engelhardt, CSM Philadelphia Associate City Director

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