Pre-warning: This isn’t a happy-go-lucky post so if you want a blog post to make you feel good or to entertain, look elsewhere. This blog is to show you what is going on in our lives and ministry – the good and the bad – these days, its not bad, just hard.
Bittersweet….that is the word I would use at this point to describe moving to NYC. We began saying the first of our goodbyes here in NC this week. We had a end of the year party at Campbell where we filled our bellies, played some games, and said goodbye to the students who have been in our lives for the last few years. Because I haven’t been going down to Campbell every week to lead Bible study this year, I didn’t expect it to be an emotional night. For Ed, yes, as he invests there every week and is super close to the guys. For me, no. But as I drove away from campus that night, my kids were talking loudly in the background and I had to say “Mommy just needs a minute.” Ed said “I think it would be easier if these guys were seniors and moving on, but knowing they will be there next year, and we aren’t sure what is going to happen with the ministry, is hard.”
At NC State, the last few weeks have been filled with lots of things – a vision dinner to raise campus funds, a dinner to honor the East campus leadership team, a dinner to honor the graduating students, a womens beach retreat for students and staff, and the last weekly meeting. So, in the midst of the busyiness, the end of the year just snuck up on us. So, this week, Ed had some hard days on campus saying goodbye to the students that he has invested in this year. Again, all of them are juniors, which made it harder. Then, we had our last staff meeting with our staff team and headed off to the beach for our staff beach retreat to close out the year. I think equally hard as saying goodbye to the students and campuses, is saying goodbye to our staff team.
You see, they have been such a highlight of our year. Our team is huge – like 30 people counting full-time staff, part-time staff, and interns – and this has been a hard year for our team with things like deaths, illnesses, marriage problems, etc. I think we figured up that out of the five families on our teams, every one of them had been to the ER for something with their kids in the past year. But even in the midst of that, our team was a healthy and safe place for us to recover from the last few years, to be used by the Lord, to grow in our ministry skills, and to process where the Lord wanted us next. We can honestly say that we could stay here forever, and it would be a good place, but that the Lord is calling us to something and it is taking major trust to believe that what He has for us is better than this.
While I could say something positive and rave about every person on our team, I want to brag on one couple in particular. Mike Mehaffie is one of the team leaders at NC State and his wife Sharon, has been meeting with me this year (Mike has been meeting regularly with Ed). We first served with Mike and Sharon on Santa Cruz summer project in 2009 when I was the Operations Director and mike was the Project Director. We got to spend lots of time with them that summer and loved them, so when we got placed on their team at NC State this year, we were so excited. They both have such a servants heart and you see them often doing the dirtiest jobs that no one else wants to do. They are so generous and are constantly giving, giving, giving…they would give you the shirt off their back if they could. They are so wise and knowledgeable about so many things. They truly love the Lord, spend time with him, are prayer warriors, and lead from an overflow of their walk with Him. They are so passionate about winning students to Christ, building them in their faith, and sending them out to impact the world…they never graduate from this and don’t feel a need to make things flashy for students…they just think you need to share the gospel and see the Lord do the work. They love people so, so well and are often in deep conversations because they ask people great questions and really care about the answers. Mike and Sharon, thank you for bringing us in, building into us, believing in us, caring for us, and loving us so very well….we wouldn’t be where we are now if it wasn’t for you. If you ever get the chance to serve with or rub shoulders with them, do it! And soak it all in!
Because I am officially in tears now, reliving our goodbyes, I am just going to share some cute pictures of our kids at the staff beach retreat. Enjoy!