By now you probably already know I've been thriving my first week down in La Jolla, so here's a little snapshot of what my second week was like.
Hallie and I started the week with Monday off, so we both headed to Pacific Beach to explore for the day, which is about an hour bus ride from our hotel. I had never been, but Hallie had seen a sporting goods store in the area while job hunting, so we both decided to check out some longboards. We’ve both been wanting to learn how to ride, and after borrowing some friend’s boards at the beach party, we wanted to look about getting our own.
I’m not exactly sure what the guy at the store thought when we told him we had moved to California the week before and decided to buy a longboard 24 hours before but yes, it took exactly one week of living in California to hop on the longboard bandwagon. The good news is I now have eight more weeks to learn how to ride, and when else am I going to be living 10 min from La Jolla Shores with prime areas to longboard?
Here’s a picture of me with my new longboard in front of some angel wings because #socal and whatnot.
Tuesday a team of us went to the University of California San Diego (UCSD) campus during the day. The purpose of these teams is to reach out, join, and get to know the students in their own environment. This sometimes looks like playing Frisbee on the mall to invite people to play. Or even walking around striking up conversations with students that are fundraising for their philanthropies, taking graduation pics, or even just hanging out at the Starbucks.
Our goal is to make connections with the students. The hope is to eventually form relationships with people to have faith-based conversations with them. This might not happen in one day, but meeting people is the first step to building a relationship, and forming opportunities to share the gospel with them.
So far spending time on campus has been one of the most challenging things about Elevate, mainly because it is the farthest outside of my comfort zone.
It amazes me how others manage to simply walk up to people and start a conversation with someone, eventually invite them to our beach parties, or get their numbers to meet up later. During the time we spent on campus I managed to come up with so many excuses as to why I couldn’t go up to people and talk to them. Whether it was “They’re busy studying I can’t interrupt them” or “I wouldn’t know where to start,” I struggled to find the confidence to believe I have what it takes to be missional in this way.
And to be honest, alone, I don’t. In the sermon on Sunday, our pastor mentioned that there is a vast difference from what we are capable of doing and what we are called to do. That gap has to be filled with God through the power of prayer. The thing is, we were MADE to share the gospel and seek out a community. Where we come up short, the Lord is meant to take over and work in us, but I have to allow myself to lean into the lord despite my insecurities telling me I’m not cut out for this.
And besides, if you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone you’re usually on the right direction to growth, I’m still learning to look at it that way.
Wednesday I had my first day at Abercrombie! I came away from my first-day hopeful in what’s to come out of this job. I work with mainly people my age, so I’m excited to get to know my coworkers and find ways to be missional to those I meet there.
After work on Wednesdays, we have “Fam Night” which is a smaller group of people within project, that commits to spending time with one another at least once a week to talk about and praise God. It’s a space in our community to pour into one another and grow stronger together as fellow Christians.
This week we decided to get tacos from a taco stand the some of the locals rave about (obviously they had never had tacos from RKA Taqueria in Ephrata, WA but hey, tacos are tacos).
Afterward, we headed to La Jolla Shores. A couple of people brought their guitars, so we built a bonfire on the beach and sang in worship together as the sun set behind us.
This was probably one of my favorite nights so far, I felt so full of love and joy, and was in awe of how blessed I am to be here in California, praising God with people who also love the Lord, while listening to the sound of his creation. I felt as if I could have stayed in that moment forever. It felt honest, stripped down of all the fluff in our lives. I could feel His joy pouring into me. All I wanted to do was soak up the feeling that can only come from being huddled together next to the warm fire in His presence. Real joy is out there ya’ll, and I am awestruck by just how good He is to me.
After we had ran out of songs to sing Bridget decided she wanted to run into the ocean. I stared at her for a half-second wondering if she was serious before saying “I’ll go with you.” We were fully clothed, it was pitch black, and we went running straight into the waves anyways. I don’t remember the last time I've laughed so freely and so full of joy, the kind of laughter that swells in your chest when you don’t even realize you’re laughing till you stop. Here’s a picture MaryAnne took of us after we ran back to the fire.
After I got off work on Friday around 1:30 I decided to head to the beach to meet up with some other people on project.
The group decided to leave after a bit, but I wasn’t quite ready to go so I stayed behind. These last two weeks have felt so non-stop I wanted a moment to not be rushing off to the next thing. It’s been amazing having so many opportunities to go on adventures and have new experiences, but I’ve felt as if I’m wasting my summer if I’m not doing something fun with others every moment of the day. In other words, I feel pretty drained from worrying I’m missing out and running around all the time.
Each morning and night we spend time with either partners or those in our rooms discussing our daily devotionals. I’ve enjoyed getting in the habit of spending time with the lord, but it also means waking up at 6 am every day, so we have time before others leave for work, and having a nonstop day until we usually make it to bed around 11 pm. A common theme we have been discussing in our devotionals, through making our way through John and James, is the power and importance of prayer. I could feel the Lord telling me to spend time with Him one on one and simply rest. So instead of running off to get donuts for national donut day (if you know me you know I love my donuts), I chose to take a nap on the beach instead. When I woke up, it was golden hour, and I spent the next hour or so reflecting on the last couple days and praying for the summer to come.
This alone time with God made me feel more centered as I entered the weekend. I’m still working on leaning into His word fully. There are so many aspects of my life I wish to control for myself, but by listening to his word, sharing my anxieties and blessings with Him, I feel closer to Him and want to reach out to his will because it will never fail me .
I’m excited about what week three will bring. This summer already feels as if it’s going too fast, but I’m thankful for every minute of it. Thanks for stoppin’ by.