Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Greetings from a Shenandoah Valley Girl.

Hey y’all!

My name is Katie Cummings and I’m (one of) the newest additions to the Elgin BVS home! I’m working in the Elgin offices as an Assistant Coordinator for the 2013 Workcamp Ministry. I’m so thrilled to begin work on the 2013 workcamps (and feeling super blessed to be here)!

Tricia and I on our second day at the offices!
I’m from Weyers Cave, VA of the Shenandoah District. I’ve grown up nestled between blue mountain ranges and I’m excited to check out some new scenery. I just graduated from Bridgewater College in May with a degree in Sociology. While at Bridgewater, I participated on BC’s track and field team as a thrower, tossing around a shotput, discus and hammer. I served on the Interdistrict Youth Cabinet and helped coordinate Roundtable and youth retreats. Super Fun. 

Shotputting at a college track meet!
Jumping for joy after I graduated from Bridgewater!
I dig worldly travel and in the fall of my senior year I traveled to Chennai, India for a year of study abroad. I’ve also traveled on a learning tour with David Radcliff to Burma. Good times. I love summer camp and have spent summers at Brethren Woods and Camp Bethel as a counselor.

Myself and Indian friends from my host college.

A few Bethel camp counselors enjoying some quality ice cream time
on the weekend after working together to clean a camp building. YUM!
Also, I love camping, hiking, and being outside! My favorite color is green, although most of my clothes are red. Sunflowers are beautiful. Legally Blonde is my favorite movie (musical).  “I’m a Gemini vegetarian.” I enjoy fun runs. Dumpster diving is fun and an act of faith. Not a fan of sprinkles. Ultimate Frisbee is the ultimate. I love snail mail. I’m a Gryffindor from District 12. I love to knit. 

That’s all for now. I’m still working on moving in. My empty suitcases are still just chilling in the middle of my room. What’s that all about?

Until next time!

In Christ,

PS – As an added intro bonus, one of my favorite small group get to know you games is Two Truths and a Lie. Let’s play! Two of the following things are true and one of them is false. GUESS.
  1. In college, I rode a red cruiser “boys” bike named Stella.  
  2. Halloween is my favorite because of the scary movies.
  3. I learned how to surf in Hawaii. Aloha!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hello everyone! It's been too long since I've written here. I just got back from my whirlwind summer of workcamps, which was awesome by the way, and it's good to be back in Elgin for a bit. I headed up chapel today and talked a bit about my summer. I thought, as I did last time, that I would post it here for anyone who might be interested in reading it who wasn't able to go to chapel. Take a gander and let me know what you think! :-D

 Lessons on Fear

The theme of the summer is based on this scripture from Samuel (for those who weren't at chapel, the scripture is 1 Samuel 3:2-10) and it’s taken me all summer to really delve into it and learn that I really do need to make myself ready to listen for God’s call. I still haven’t really processed my whole summer, but as I start to piece the little nuggets of it together, one of the themes that bursts to the surface is what I like to call lessons on fear. Little pieces of information that help me understand why I fear and what to do about it. If I’m stuck on worry or fear, I’ll never hear God’s call.

I used to take swimming lessons when I was little. One time, we were standing at the deep end and they wanted us to jump in and learn to float or something. We all jumped and I remember sinking straight to the bottom, still holding my nose, confused at why I wasn’t floating. But I don’t really remember any kind of fear. One of my instructors reached down, pulled me up, and I grabbed a hold of the side of the pool. But the thing that strikes me about the memory is, like I said, that I don’t remember ever being afraid. It’s actually a memory that makes me smile when I think of it.

It’s hard to recapture that innocence. How was I not afraid that I was sinking to the bottom of the pool? I get afraid over a lot less than that now. As Jeremy drove me to the airport for my first workcamp I told him how scared I was. He told me something that stuck with me the rest of the summer. My first nugget of help.

There was this movie that he had watched the week before at camp called Facing the Giants. It was done independently by a church so it wasn’t of the highest caliber but the message was good. It’s about a football team at a Christian academy that has a losing streak for years. In the clip he told me about, they’re doing this drill where the players have to carry another player on their back, upside down, and crawl across the field. They’re on their hands and feet but their knees can’t touch the ground. They’ve finished the first part of the drill and one of the top players makes a comment that it doesn’t matter what they do because they’ll never beat the team their up against the next night. The couch makes him do the drill again, blind folded this time, and says he has to go to the fifty. He makes the player promise to give his best. The kid starts moving and the couch is giving him encouragement. But as he goes you start to realize that he’s not stopping at the fifty. The couch pushes him and yells encouragement all the way to the endzone. He’s yelling, “give me your best! You promised your best! Don’t you quit on me!” Every time I started to sink into that mode of fear this summer, I thought of that. “Don’t you quit on me!”

As I moved through the summer, I was confident that I was prepared, with God on my side, to face anything that was thrown at me. But a small, niggling part of that confidence, was fear. Am I prepared enough, am I ready? What if this goes wrong, or that goes wrong. I don’t think Jeremy knew at the time that he would be my inspiration for the rest of the summer in one car ride, but he said something else that made me stop and think. I told him was still nervous and I said, “what if I forgot something.” Straight faced, he looks at me and he says, “you did.” Then he added, “but it’ll be okay.” That was kind of a relief, actually to be told straight out that I did, in fact, probably forget to do something but that it was going to be okay.

Throughout the summer, I had several chances to attend several Sunday church services around the country. I looked at these as check-in points to see what and where God was directing me. What piece of advice he had this week that would get me through the next week.

Every sermon I heard this summer seemed to be on the same thing: Fear. The first sermon was good and made me think. The second time I heard a sermon on fear, I thought, that’s strange, what a coincidence. The third time I thought, “Okay, I get it and now I’m listening.”

One of these messages was at NYAC. I think it was Greg D-L------- who quoted it. He said “worry is a misuse of imagination.” I’ve always thought of myself as a creative person so this really struck a chord. What else could I be doing, making, imagining if I wasn’t using up that brain power on worry?

Another nugget came from Pastor Joel’s sermon on the one Sunday I was able to attend Highland Ave this summer. He was talking about the story of Jesus calming the storm and one of the verses, that I’m sure I’ve heard a dozen times really struck me this time. Matthew 4:40, Jesus stands up and says to his disciples, “Why are you such cowards? Have you no faith?” I felt like he was talking to me.

Many of you know Pastor Gilbert R------. He was my on-site coordinator in LA last week and I had the great fortune to hear him speak twice in one week. If any of you have ever heard him speak, you know he has a talent for grabbing your attention and holding onto it through a message. I will just list a few nuggets I got from him.

“Do you know why a windshield is so big and a mirror is so small? The windshield is your future and the mirror is your past.”

“If you’re stuck on ugly, that’s your problem. God didn’t make ugly.”

“Don’t put a question mark where God put a period.”

Also, my last Sunday of workcamp, I got to hear Pastor Jody R------ preach as well, Gilbert’s son. These are the words I ended my summer on and that will stick with me as well. Jody said, “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.”
All this is not to say that I was consumed by fear this summer, but worry comes along with any kind of job that involves event planning, I would say. The fear of the unknown. Always having a plan B, C, and D. So, I wasn’t constantly afraid all summer, this was just one of my big take-aways. I re-learned just how important prayer really is and, even more so, listening for God. How convenient. I spent the summer telling my youth to listen for God, teaching them how to hear his voice, and in the end, I helped myself also to be “Ready to Listen!”

Peace, Rachel