As the new year rolls in, it often brings with it a time of reflection—of pausing to look back and remember what God has done in our circumstances and in our hearts. For Rosedale International’s team of interns, 2022 was certainly a year of seeing God’s provision.
When I joined the Short-Term Programs staff last January, I anticipated getting to know and provide care for the participants who would come through our programs. There wasn’t much of a wait, as my arrival was shortly followed by that of our 2022 interns: five brave and willing souls ready to commit to a year of service, community-building, and spiritual development.
An unusual conglomeration of individuals, Destiny, Elsa, Jared, Joe, and Katie brought a unique dynamic to the table. COVID-19 directly affected Destiny, Elsa, and Joe’s experiences in REACH, while Jared and Katie had never been through the program. Not only did they bring mixed experiences to team life, they also faced the challenge of being a smaller group than in previous years, with some interns holding two job titles in order to cover all the needed positions. Despite the extra work on their shoulders—and being an all-introvert team—these young men and women pulled together to support events and tasks at RI, build relationships in the Shepard community and other Columbus outreaches, and engage the City Challenge and REACH participants with enthusiasm and love.
“Refinement is never pleasant, but as weakness and impurity is exposed & removed, we get closer to our intended purpose of reflecting Christ to the world & bringing glory to the Father.”
This summer, our theme for City Challenge was “The Forge”—a concept which in many ways was applicable not just to the youth groups coming through the building, but to the experience of the interns throughout the year. In addition to their external responsibilities, the team faced internal pressure as they realized that living in unity in spite of different personalities and varied experiences is no small task. Each member had their own weaknesses to address and skills to develop as they learned how to care for one another and receive support in return.
Refinement is never pleasant, but as weakness and impurity are exposed and removed, we get closer to our intended purpose of reflecting Christ to the world and bringing glory to the Father. Yes, Elsa, Jared, Katie, Destiny, and Joe faced frustration and conflict—but I commend their determination to return again and again to a place of loving one another, honoring their commitment to RI, and opening their hearts to the work of the Holy Spirit. The individuals who left RI in December were not the same people who arrived at the beginning of the year.
Though they may not look upon last year as a perfect or easy experience, I believe that the growth each intern demonstrated indicates a stepping stone in their lifelong journey of sanctification. I pray they can look back at this year with the words of Psalm 66:12 in mind:
We went through fire and through water, yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
It has been an honor to walk alongside the 2022 RI interns; and although it’s sad to say goodbye, I have great anticipation for the ways God will continue to grow these lovely people and use their unique gifts in his kingdom!