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At the End of Things

There is no greater beginning to these journal entries than celebrating with one recent alum how the Semester in Ministry experience transformed her. Check out Elizabeth Gentry’s last entry from her time at Mountain…
ElizabethSo my time at Mountain has ended – as of last Wednesday morning to be exact. Since coming home, my friends ask, “how was it? what did you learn? did you like it?” and the like – and I find it both extraordinarily easy and difficult to answer them.

Earlier today, I went out for coffee just this afternoon with a dear friend of mine who had just spent her entire semester at Oxford – both of us had had life changing experiences – although quite different from each other’s. We spent a couple hours sharing about the great and hard times about our semesters, each listening as the other told her story.

The whole time I felt like my story wasn’t making much sense – words like… love, affirmation, blessing, equipping, thankful, fun, challenging, humbling… poured out of me along with stories about different experiences like case studies, spiritual formation classes, my student ministry team, leading a small group, and heart to heart talks with God. And the whole time I kept thinking, “what I’m sharing isn’t fully explaining what this semester meant to me.”

And it didn’t. Probably nothing I said to my friend today truly explained my semester – and she probably felt the same way about her story.

And that’s ok.

I could tell people hours worth of stories about people who became family, events that I helped plan, meetings I went to, sermons I preached

But at the end of all the things that happened these past four months – God taught me something that he’s been teaching me since August.

When I first came – when we were on our retreat and forced to have a time of silence – I was freaking out. I had no idea what I was getting myself into; had no idea if I would be able to do it; no idea if this was where I was supposed to be…

But God said,

You work on your character – I’ll take care of everything else
You work on pursuing me this semester – I’ll make sure you can do the tasks of ministry

And that’s what happened – because like I’ve been hearing all semester

Character really does trump skill set every time

At the end of things – I love the work of the church
At the end of things – I have a passion for students
At the end of things – I’m good at this thing called ministry

And at the end of things – none of what I learned this semester will ever matter if I’m not pursuing Christ with everything that I am.

My chapter at Mountain has come to a close – but my pursuit of Christ and the ministry he has for me has only begun. Thanks for being my launchpad, Mountain.

But I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus Christ – to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

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