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Today’s post comes from Rachel Trammell. Rachel has worked with FUGE as an SLA, staffer, camp director, intern, and a full-time office staff. Currently, Rachel lives in Nashville, TN where she works for Justice & Mercy International, a faith-based organization that aims to make justice personal for the poor, orphaned, and forgotten of the world. Rachel loves being outside, the Georgia Bulldawgs, traveling new places, and, maybe most of all, CAMP.
The town I grew up in had a vast, magical place called Dixieland Fun Park. Once in a while, I would get to visit Dixieland for a friend’s birthday party, an end-of-the-softball-season celebration, and the like. The fun at Dixieland seemed unending: a putt-putt course, water raft races, a zip line, a huge arcade. I couldn’t imagine more fun in one place.
Sometime in high school, I went with a few friends to the Fun Park with the intentions of playing putt-putt. It had been years since I’d been to Dixieland, but I definitely had a pretty clear picture of what I remembered the Park to be. When we arrived, I was stunned. “What HAPPENED? This place is a dump,” I thought. I soon found out, though, nothing had happened. Dixieland had always been like this. A tiny mini-golf course, a few arcade machines, and a murky pool. Here I was, totally disillusioned by what I had once thought to be so true.
The very best news of our lives is this: Jesus is NOT disillusioned by who we really are. He did not go to the cross thinking He was sacrificing His life for some pretty good people. He knew then, and knows now, the depths of our sinful hearts. He was fully aware of the ways we would fail, dishonor, and ignore Him. Yet “for the joy set before Him, He endured the Cross” (Hebrews 12:2). This, friends, is news worth banking everything on; that the all-knowing Savior would know us deeply, and still choose to call us His beloved. Tim Keller, a pastor in New York City, puts it this way, “But to be fully known and truly loved, is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.” It’s true. We have a Creator who knows us better than anyone ever will, while loving us more then anyone ever could.
How different would our lives be if we daily remembered we are truly loved by Love Himself? What freedom is found for those who live in this truth!
Is the church just a building where you go on Sundays? Is it a social club where you fellowship with others and have fun? Is it too predictable? Is the church of today what was intended when the church was first formed 2,000 years ago? What does living as the Body of Christ in an unbelieving world look like? This summer at FUGE, we will learn more about God’s call on our lives to BE the church to the world around us.
Haley Lavergne participated in the Student Leader Apprentice (SLA) program for two years: 2012 in Nashville, TN and 2013 in Glorieta, NM. She is currently studying at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In her spare time, you will find her outside in a hammock immersed in a good book or creating art with various mediums.
“Welcome to SLA, where questions about the future aren’t allowed and getting thrown outside of your comfort zone is guaranteed.”
Although I wasn’t greeted with these exact words when arriving at Glorieta, they certainly sum up my experience. I arrived asking the Lord to move in mighty ways and left in awe of how He exceeded my expectations. Being quiet and being a friend to listen and encourage was the trend for the entire two weeks. It sounds small because I am a small part of what God did. He doesn’t need me but He chooses to use me. What a beautiful God we serve. I was given the opportunity to watch God use something as simple as truly listening, in such a huge way as He began to heal hurting people. All the while, I had a front row seat listening to fellow SLAers, staffers, campers, site friends, and most importantly: the Lord. I was continually taken back by our innate desire to be heard and known. It was simultaneously: overwhelming, wonderful, powerful and humbling. SLA’s focus on service leadership taught me how truly listening and serving the people in front of me are crucial.
James 5:16a says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” I think much of the healing James talks about also comes from listening. I learned that that’s where ministry happens: in intentional moments packed with sincere love and genuine care for God’s people. Jesus took the time to not only heal people’s physical needs, but He took care of them as human beings with the desire to be loved. He saw desires to be seen, accepted, and deeply known. It went beyond physical healing. He went deeper to care for emotions. He loved past the surface. He loves deep and He loves well. I learned about that at SLA and it is something I am grateful to say I’m still learning.