Week One. Only two days of officially interning, but the adventures are already full force. Today I had the closest encounters with cockroaches that I've ever known as I helped the Blankenship family clean Miriam and Nate's North Tulsa apartment in preparation for their return. Rachel and I found frozen cockroaches lining the freezer door--I scraped them off into a rag that she held. When one fell on my arm and we both jumped a little, I said out loud, "It's okay, it's just dead. It's dead." By the end of the afternoon, I was nonchalantly letting the little guys (live ones, mind you) scurry all around me while Samuel and I held the bed together and Malachi tried to figure out how to assemble it. Missions training. I have now successfully conquered the fear of cockroaches. And if our preventative measures worked, Miriam won't have to.
We had "intern retreat" which really meant that we were all at the church learning "Intern Basics" and hearing both the pastors, Joe and Andrew, share their hearts for ministry. I took five full legal sized pages of notes on the things that we're planning to do this summer. My favorite part is a quote I wrote in the margin:
"Archer and Yale? That's not a good area." -- a new intern
"It's a good area for ministry." --Brother Joe*
As part of intern retreat we went out to Comanche, one of the main housing projects that we minister at. Lottie and I went directly to Chene's house, following her niece Ebony on her princess bike. Chene is a 15 year old girl who has really been responsive to our ministry, but also to other ministries involved in the projects. The main one is Victory, which preaches a health and wealth gospel. We're really burdened for Chene that she would see the true gospel and be captured by a view of God that says salvation is all about Him, not about what we can get from Him. Pray for her, and for our ministry to her.
Chene's sister, Ebony's mom, had a baby 5 months ago. Chene and Camille both take care of their nieces. I've never met Ebony's mom. But I finally got to meet her little sister and, of course, quickly fell in love with this precious baby. I sat on their front steps, feeding little Reniah her bottle and talking to Chene about her efforts to get a summer job at McDonald's or QuikTrip. I watched Lottie do bike races with Ebony and a neighbor boy while Rachel and Caitlin talked to Camille. I didn't want to leave when the van pulled up to get us. (I'm rather jealous of Miriam and Nate's apartment in the middle of it all.)
While hands-on ministry is a huge part of interning, it wouldn't be complete without the training that accompanies it. This summer we're studying the attributes of God, learning some hermeneutics, having three weekly prayer times, being involved with all the various Bible studies of the church, studying five books together, and reading other assigned books on our own. I get excited every summer for the books the pastors provide for us to study together. This year they are:
Holiness by JC Ryle
The Attributes of God by Arthur W. Pink
The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
The Grace of Repentance by Sinclair Ferguson
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
So as not to waste any time, I started right in on Crazy Love. I was struck when he quoted the verse from Philippians which says, "For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ." It hit me that I too often don't realize the gravity of people's positions with God. If they have not been saved, they are enemies of the cross of Christ! And that is something that should bring tears. And action. Because we've been given these nets and told to catch men. He'll supernaturally provide the catch. But we have to be casting the net. (And that is a very incomplete summary of Brother Joe's intern challenge '08.)
* We call the pastors Brother _____ . Everyone thinks it sounds weird at first. Everyone eventually succumbs.