Five weeks ago I moved to Bellingham, Washington, with ten other twenty-something-year-old college and graduate students for the summer. We all live together in a 110-year-old house and spend our time going out to the city and onto Western Washington University Campus joining the people of Bellingham in their regular rhythms of life. We invite the people we meet into our life by hosting barbecues, going on late night dessert runs, exploring the endless hiking trails, and simply doing life-on-life together to build relationships.
We are in Bellingham on a project called Elevatex21. As Resonate Church is extending to Western Washington University in the fall, the aim and purpose of the project is to help mobilize the church as fast as possible in a new city, lay the groundwork for the long-term staff, and connect with and integrate students on the college campus. Because the long-term team is moving to Bellingham mid-summer, Projectx21 is here to break new ground before while the long-term team settles in and handles the logistics of moving: finding new housing, training for new jobs, etc.
Meet the ElevateX21 Bellingham team! This is us in front of our 110-year-old, three bedrooms, and 1.5 bath house named Foothold. Merriam-Webster defines a foothold as ‘a place from which an advance (as for military operations) is made, an area in hostile territory that has been captured and is held awaiting further troops and supplies.’ The name of this house serves as a representation of who we are as the first group to come into the new city, that God has already gone before us, and the prayer that God's glory would be made known in this city.
The heart of why we are here is for the glory of God, for the sake of those who are lost, lonely, harassed, and helpless, who are not reconciled to Christ. We are here in obedience to God; we have been given the mission of reconciliation and are called to go out and make disciples, sharing with them the hope of Jesus. It is the greatest adventure, with deep joy, to leverage our lives for the Kingdom of God.
I headed to Bellingham a day before project started to spend time with my friend from high-school who just graduated from WWU. It was a sweet time being able to catch up and start doing life together, we live 10 minutes apart from one another again and it has been a comfort to know she’s a call and a short drive away. She showed me around to some of her favorite places in Bellingham that we get to share now.
The first day of project we moved into our home, ate a meal together, and set out on an adventure to explore Bellingham. We went to Boulevard Park and walked along the docks, watching the sailboats and the sunset over the Salish Sea. We got to spend getting to know one another, and it’s become evident that the Lord had brought us all individually on project together for a reason.
Monday we started looking for jobs. This is the “first day of job-hunting” photo we took. Once becoming employed, our missional focus extends to our coworkers and serves as an avenue to meet and connect with more people and the Lord has provided everyone on project with a job!
Tuesday we explored Teddy bear cove, one of the more popular vantage points in Bellingham.
Wednesday was our first day on campus! I look back to last summer and the fear and insecurity I carried with me when stepping onto the UCSD campus. Each time I have walked away from campus this summer though, I am thankful and humbled that the Lord has built me up in confidence to step out in boldness at WWU to meet students. I count myself blessed to have a heart posture that breaks and is burdened for the students I meet and walk amongst on campus. Interacting with students on campus has been the main thing I have been looking forward to this summer, rather than the main thing I dread. I now have faith that the Lord goes before me on campus. I know that the Lord is with and in me, and makes up for all I lack. The salvation of those who don’t know Jesus and Gods glory and The Kingdom is worth the discomfort, worth the risk of embarrassment and rejection, and worth the time to seek out and know them. The first day on campus especially was a really sweet reminder of all the Lord has done in my life in the last year and who He is making me be day by day, which is who He created me to be.
Thursdays have become my regular Sabbath. This time spend resting and in worship usually look like hiking, going on prayer walks and listening to worship music, drawing and painting, crafting, or reading. Anything that makes me feel at peace or close to God to fill up my cup and re-center myself on the things of the Spirit, God, and his promises.
Fridays and Saturdays when we don’t work we spend time being out in the community and meeting more students and going on adventures. We often go hiking, chase sunsets, peruse bookstores and eat too much ice-cream and donuts. We also made it to a mariners game, a concert on campus and some other events in the city,
I’m learning so much about being a leader in the church and what it looks like to build up leaders around me. I’m growing to understand better the life I am called to live in Christ, laying my life down for His name, glory, and Kingdom. I’m learning to choose joy and value using the time I have for the sake of others salvation, not my own pleasure. It’s a good life, and I’m just getting started. Thank you to everyone who helped me get here and the continued support through prayer. Here's how you can be praying for us:
- about half the team is sick right now, prayers for healing and that no one else would get sick
- renewed energy and purpose rather than idleness as we enter into our last 3 weeks,
- prepared hearts to hand over the reigns to the long-term team