My Story

My Fresno Story, Part 1

This blog is about sharing my story as God writes it. This is part one of the story that brought me to my home of Fresno, CA. I want to share this story to remember how I got here in order to help me process changes leading me into my next chapter.

The day I chose youth ministry as my major on my college applications, I knew the summer internship was coming. Yet the arrival of an e-mail announcing a mandatory intern meeting my junior year took me by surprise. For two and a half years I had heard amazing stories of the upperclassmen’s amazing internships. All of a sudden I was an upperclassman intern.

My dream was to find an internship in the Northeast. Chop Point Camp in Woolwich, Maine had been my home the previous summer.  Memories of wonderful people and experiences combined with a lifelong dream of living in New York City pointed me in that direction. So I hit the job search sites, polished my resume, and finally Googled “East Coast Internships”. Two churches in Pennsylvania looked promising. After speaking with the youth pastors and submitting applications I was very optimistic.

Then I received an email from church #1 saying, “You are awesome, thanks for applying, but we are going in another direction”. Okay. So church #2 will work out. God is definitely calling me in this direction. A few days later, I got an email requesting an interview. I was pumped because at that point I had gotten every job I had interviewed for. Yay God!

So, I interviewed. It went well. About a week later I was on a bus somewhere in Florida on choir tour. My phone rang. “God is going to do awesome things with you, but we’re being led in another direction.”

It was early in the morning after a late night, so the bus was quiet as we made our way to the beach. I told my sleeping seat mate the news and when we stopped, I went off alone and cried. Eventually, my friend Emily found me. She hugged me, I cried on her shoulder. Emily eventually coaxed me into the gulf. I was fine. I would find an internship. But my faith wavered every single night for the rest of tour when we had to sing “He Never Failed Me Yet”. Some nights I couldn’t get the words out. What if I didn’t get an internship? Was God’s plan for me to graduate later than planned, or even not at all? While graduating college was an assumed thing in my family, I was aware by then it wasn’t part of God’s plan for everyone. For the first time in my life I didn’t know what God’s plan was and that scared me.

When tour ended, I was back at Judson frantically calling and e-mailing everyone I could think of that might have an internship lead. I became a frequent visitor in the offices of Prof. Budd and of Doris, the Career Guidance Counselor. During one of my lowest weeks I was working up the courage to e-mail a church I had sent my resume to but hadn’t heard back from. God must have known I was paralyzed by the fear of another no, so he had them e-mail me an interview request.

Around the same time, Prof. Budd gave me a postcard from a church in Fresno, California. I checked the Networker program out online, called the youth pastor, and submitted an application. I didn’t want to get my hopes up and I wasn’t thrilled about returning to California. But the end of the semester was only a few weeks away, so I was a little desperate.

My poor roommate was banished from our room two nights in a row so I could interview with both churches on Skype. Before the interviews my heart was turned toward Pennsylvania. Afterwards, that had all changed.

Will I become a Networker? Find out in Part 2.

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