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Monday, June 22

A Leadership Experience, and Opportunity

Alright, so here's another story from Slaying the Giants week.


Experience
Saturday nights are project social nights, which includes a catered meal and an activity for our impact groups. The Slaying the Giant Saturday activity was a city wide scavenger hunt. Each impact group received a packet containing gospel booklets, surveys, some money, and a long list of items that we could do to earn various amounts of points. Also, to reach our goals for the week, they included initiating conversations and gospel presentations for bonus points. Our first hurdle was finding transportation, because we only had one car for 14 people. After much disorganization and confusion, one of the project directors, who was actually my discipler last school year, agreed to go with us and let us use her car. Our Bible study leaders were there also, but they weren't allowed to give us any help. As we stood in a huddle, figuring out the car situation, I was handed the packet and list of things to do for points, simply because no one else would take it. I tried to pass it off to two older guys in our group who had led us before, but for some reason, they refused to shoulder the responsibility. As the youngest person in our impact group, and admittedly one of the most reserved, a knot tightened in my stomach.
One of our stops


After maybe the first two places on the list, I saw that this wasn't going to be easy. Some people were resentful that I was taking charge, which made everything so hard. It was tiring to repeat myself over and over, explaining where we were going and why. I felt a huge strain from just knowing that people weren't happy about it, and knowing that what I was doing was for the best of the group and there was nothing that I could do differently. When I tried to delegate tasks, I got no response. Finally, people started splitting off of the group to go initiate conversations, and that was fine with me. But we still had one more location that I'd made clear that we were going to, and as we were on the way one of the guys asked,
 "So can we just go sharing now?"
And the staff person who was along for the ride said, "Yeah, go ahead, lead the group!"
I spoke up right away, "Didn't we agree to go to the Pavilion (a restaurant) first?"

Silence. Fine, I decided. I'm done with this. We got to the beach, and I handed surveys and gospel booklets to everyone, made sure they were set to go, and then after the last student was out of sight, I snapped. I dropped the packet on the sand and doubled over sobbing. "I HATE leading people!" I gasped out between sobs to my discipler and the staff lady. They handled it well: hugged me, told me they were proud of me, and that I'd really done a great job, and I eventually got under control. It was a huge relief to be done with it, it'd been so stressful and so out of my comfort zone.
Best hotdogs ever, btw

But the night wasn't over, because we still had sharing to do! I went with both of my disciplers, and the first group of girls we talked to, I just mostly listened, since I was still feeling shook up. The next group we approached however, I initiated the conversation and went through the survey, and then my disciplers had me go through the gospel with both of the girls too. I was so nervous, just because they were my leaders, and I didn't want to say something wrong, which was a very silly thing to be thinking really. It went very well, despite my nervousness, and both girls were very glad we'd talked to them, even though they said they'd prayed a prayer before at some point in their lives.

The night still wasn't over quite yet, because I still had to gather up all the statistics from all the groups who shared, and add up all the points. The strain returned, however briefly. I felt like some people still weren't happy with me, but it very well could have been more imagined than actual. So finally, after two hours, the ordeal was finally over. I called my boyfriend Brian, and tried to tell him about it, but I broke down sobbing unconsolably for a while. It took a long time for me to get the whole story out.

 Basically, I think it was just difficult for me because I'm used to being a follower, and I really like to please people and keep everyone happy, but in this situation, someone had to do something, and not everyone was going to agree. So, as my discipler Kim told me, I did what I had to do, I finished the task, and I did it well. And while it was incredibly difficult for me, I realized that I could lead people, a large group of people, in the face of resentment, and do it well. So even though leading in that situation isn't a strong point for me, I feel like I have more confidence in that area.

Opportunity
In discipleship, we discussed to some length spiritual gifts. My top result after taking the spiritual gift test was discernment. Tying for second were mercy, faith, and sheparding. All of them work together really well I think. Mercy is pretty self explanatory, it means that I can empathize with others and desire to allieve suffering, while faith is the ability to believe in results when they're not evident, and shepherding is investing in people for long periods of time to help them grow. So, the mercy helps me to shepherd well, the faith helps me to believe that there will be results even though they may not be evident for long periods of time. I scored pretty low on leadership, but, like I said, even though I know that isn't a spiritual gift for me or something that comes naturally, I know that I can do it, when I need to.

I mention this, because every year on this summer project, the staff all leave after the 5th week, and we students lead the rest of the project for the remaining 5 weeks. That means that students lead the teams, like the prayer and vision team, community team, and weekly meeting team, and students lead each of the Bible studies and do discipleship with the girls in their appartment, and students actually become the project directors. It's the staff's responsibility to pick the new student leaders, and since this is week 4, they've already begun the selection process.

When Kim told me she wanted to talk to me about something after the weekly meeting Sunday night, I honestly wondered if I'd done something wrong. We'd just had our international dinner, which I will tell more of in another blog, and I wondered if maybe I'd dropped the ball somehow in the planning for it and was in trouble. I was utterly thrilled when instead she asked me to be the Bible study leader after the staff leave! I was hoping so much that I could be, I felt such a desire to lead a Bible study after discussing leadership in discipleship with Kim the week before and after our women's time last Thursday night. I feel like I've been so blessed with numerous experiences and had so many people pour into my life, that I really want to do the same for others. I'm so excited to begin my Bible study leader responsibilities, starting next week!

Please pray for me! That most of all, I'll be humble and teachable as I teach others, and also that I can truly love each of the girls in my Bible study and be an encouragement and catalyst for them.

That's all for this blog!
In Christ,
Emily



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