Sunday, July 3, 2011

A gift in this year: Steven Doelman.

This was this morning at church. "Steven! I need to take your picture for my blog!" Can't you see how incredibly excited he was about this?

So last summer, I was assigned to lead the class for the kids at Iglesia with this tall, Dutch, Wheaton College senior. He was great with the kids and nice and I enjoyed hanging out with him on Saturday nights, but I'd already decided I was Not Making Any New Close Guy Friends This Year.

Annnnd... I'm grateful for Proverbs 16:9.

Some of our kids have some pretty hard lives. And teaching them was... tricky, in a lot of ways. We started meeting to plan how to teach, and to set aside time to pray for them.

Steven, being Steven, asked as we prepared to pray for the first time,
"Well, and how can I be praying for you?"
 So I told him some things and asked him the same question.
And in addition to praying for the kids, we prayed for each other.

We kept meeting every week, and sharing prayer requests turned into sharing honestly about our spiritual lives. Steven became one of the main people who asked me on a regular basis what I was hearing from God. So I would tell him. And ask him back.
So virtually every week most of this year, we had time set aside to talk for real. And to pray over our kids and pray for each other.

That was such a joy and a gift from God in my year.

I am so thankful for who Steven is and for the friendship we developed.
I'm grateful for his willingness to go deep.
I'm grateful for his heart which is one of the most seeking-God I know.
I'm so grateful for and challenged by his remarkably humble spirit.
I'm grateful for his thoughtful words of encouragement, and how he speaks affirmation of God's work in my life; and I'm grateful that he is willing to push back and challenge me when I need it.
I'm grateful for how seriously he takes church community, at Rez and at Iglesia, and how that's deepened my view of church and challenged me to commit deeper and further to both communities.

I have done it alone on nights when he's away and now that he's doing the Wheaton Summer Bridge program and... let's just say... we are better as a team. (As in, mayyybe I saw him at church this morning and without so much as a hello, immediately screamed in the middle of the lobby, "OMIGOSH COME BACK COME BACK COME BACK!!!!!""...).

Seriously, our team dynamic has been such a joy and help and I cannot imagine having done this year alone.
So grateful for how we can tag-team teaching and classroom management.
So grateful to have someone to share the burden of some of the hardest stories with.
So grateful for our times of prayer;
and for the power of praying in a team for them.
So grateful for someone to just process them with. Often when we meet it's, "How can we reach him? What should we do to engage her more? Did you notice this dynamic...? I think he's really starting to grasp it!". It's SO special and helpful to love them with someone, to be able to bounce ideas off of someone, to brainstorm and plan with another person.
So grateful to have shared these memories with someone.

So, so grateful for his love for these kids. Grateful for his consistency. Grateful for his willingness to sacrifice his time, energy, schedule for them- and the example and challenge that is to me.
Grateful for his faithfulness in prayer.
Grateful for his desire to teach them the Word and to set an example of knowing Christ for them.

So grateful for his high standards for them, for how they respond to him, for his gifts with teaching.

I am so, so grateful they have a positive male role model. It is such a need in the church for men to step up to do that (sorry, soapbox... but, really). Steven is so doing it and I know the fruit from that is bigger than we can see.

Some of our boys... the sign says, "Happy Holidays Steven We Miss You!!!". It was their idea. They all made him signs and I took pictures to send him when he was at home over Christmas break. They love him.
And mostly, I am just grateful for his friendship. Grateful to have gotten to learn from and with him. Grateful for the ways he's shown his joy in my joys and I know he's carried my burdens in prayer. And I am grateful to be praying for him and entering into the awesome work God is doing in his heart and life in his post-graduate year.

 "Wow, look, it's the service starting! Hm, think maybe I'll pay attention to that now..."
Thanking God for giving me Steven this year.


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Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.