29 May 2008

Jobs, Life, and Sugary Goodness

What a day. I don't think I've been this busy in a long time! Today and tomorrow have been set aside as time for everyone to find a secure a summer job. I secured a place at the Hyatt so today, myself and about 30 other students went to the Hyatt for orientation from 9am - 5pm. The group working there last year did such an amazing job, that everyone was excited to see that the Navigators were back to work for a summer. We had a morning full of paperwork before going to lunch. The Hyatt will be providing us with a free lunch in their staff cafeteria every day, which was so amazing after all of us had packed sack lunches of PB&J and chips. Instead I had wild rice soup and a grilled turkey and ham sandwich. After lunch we took a tour of the Hyatt and saw the Presidential Suite -- amazing! It can go from $1500 - $5000/night -- and the rooftop pool and several other places we needed to know. Our last order of business was interviews so they could place us. 30 interviews takes awhile, and I was toward the end. People from our group were placed everywhere from accounting to HR to security to housekeeping. Several of the girls will be working as banquet servers and I was assigned to housekeeping. They took our sizes for uniforms and tomorrow we'll go back to be fitted and to get lockers and meet with our department heads. Several of the students here had to go out in Jacksonville today and fill out lots of applications to find a job. So if you want, please be praying for those students and that the Lord will place them in a place this summer where they can work joyfully and effectively.

My fundraising has been amazing! I'm $60 from my goal, and mail comes in daily. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me. It's been so encouraging to see that so many of my friends and family believe in what I'll be learning this summer and want to support my time in Jacksonville with the Navigators. I made a mistake in sending out support letters which has caused some problems... when I bought envelopes, I just bought 300 all of the same size, so my return envelopes didn't fit in the ones I was sending out. So I decided to use the return envelopes the Navigators supplied me and I put my address label on it. The reason I had mail sent to me and didn't fundraise through the Navigators is because the Navigators would have taken out 10.6% of everything I brought in for receipt and legal fees, and this way 100% of the gifts I received would go toward my STP expenses. Apparently the return envelopes had a barcode on them, so support money has been ending up at Navigators Headquarters anyway. Thankfully they've been forwarding them my way, but I am just getting some mail postmarked May 5. So my apologies if my thank you notes arrive extremely late -- I wrote them as soon as I received my support. :-)

So here at STP we have been put onto teams. My team is made up of four girls plus my team leader. We all live together in the UNF dorms and getting to know them just over the last couple of days has been amazing. My team leader is Kim Olsen; she's from K-State and lived in Moore Hall last year where I lived. The other girls on my team are Staci (K-State), Hannah (Univ. of Vermont), and Sara (Univ. of Iowa). Hannah flew in (since she's from Vermont) and got here later in the evening on Tuesday. Staci, Hannah, Kim, and I are all tall and blonde -- one of the guys at dinner joked that our remaining member would be short and a red head.... and she is! (She actually said she considers it light brown, but it looks red/brown.) We all have a lot in common though, and I feel so blessed to have the chance to get to know these women over the next couple of months.

This year's STP theme (Live Worthy) comes from Philippians 1:27-30:

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved--and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

In these verse, Paul is addressing the people of Philippi. The same issues Paul was addressing to the Philippians still apply to us today. As a follower of Christ, is there evidence that I am who I am supposed to be? Paul instructs us to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. What does this mean? Am I living so radically that it compares with the gospel? Am I living worthy? How do I conduct myself? Is my attitude Christ-like? Paul starts v. 27 with two key words, "whatever happens." Paul didn't say, "When you feel like it," or "On Sundays," or "If you're having a good day." Paul said, "Whatever happens." He knew our lives as Christians wouldn't be easy. In the verses preceding this passage (v. 12-16), Paul gives his life over to the power of the gospel. He makes it his life mission and no longer lives for himself. Paul is beaten and imprisoned. But he writes, "whatever happens." When Paul and Silus are put into prison in the book of Acts, do they sit around and feel sorry for themselves? No! They sing hymns and praise God. Paul wants us to live worthy to our calling. As Christians, we are citizens of heaven. People in Rome used to go around saying "Live worthy." They meant, "Live worthy as a citizen of Rome." Being a citizen of Rome was a big deal and Romans were to carry themselves in a dignified manner. As Christians, we are citizens of heaven and should live worthy of that calling.

Tonight I had my first experience at "One Hot Cookie." It's this cafe along Jacksonville Beach that is especially popular among the Navs. Imagine Cold Stone Creamery meets Mrs. Fields. (Though I've never had Mrs. Fields...) Staci and I shared a warm chocolate chip cookie with Reese's peanut butter cups melted on top of it topped by cookie dough ice cream with Oreos mixed in. Deliciousness. Then our team walked down to the beach. It was really dark and
the tide was low, the cool salty breeze blew my hair and I stared straight up at the dark purple firmament speckled with glittering stars. It was quite beautiful, really.


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