Gaines Oil Company
Hey, it’s Madi! - December 12th
Thanks for being there for me and being in this with me this fall. I appreciate your graciousness. I haven’t gotten to sit down for a while to process and communicate what God has been doing…it's because He’s been doing a lot :)
I’m continually humbled by the presence of God in ministry here. And by that I mean, God has been at work in the “present” moment. I naturally expect and want Him to work everything out ahead of time, in my time, so that I won’t have to depend on Him. This semester God has reached into my life in a new way and taught me to trust Him. As much as I tend to plan ahead for what we’re going to “get done” in a given semester, the most meaningful connections this fall were experiences I could have never planned for because they ignited in an instant without me even realizing their significance.
One “present” moment came on an afternoon in October. My teammates Carlos and Kirk were meeting with the Cross Country guys’ small group in the media center. One of the librarians curiously approached the group and asked, “Hey, what is this?” Carlos responded, “This is Cru” briefly describing the mission of our movement. The librarian, surprised, looked at Carlos and said, “That’s exactly what my girls’ dance team needs. I’m their club sponsor, and I want Cru to start coming to work with them. Can you do that?” WOW, that’s never happened. Carlos ran out to the courtyard to get me; I hadn’t even been in the room. Couldn’t plan for that.
Three weeks later we sat in the media center with the ten members of the dance team sharing the Gospel with those sweet girls. This fall we’ve gotten to come alongside the girls, cheering them on from the sidelines when they perform at Lake Nona sports events and digging deeper into life and faith every Wednesday afternoon during small group. Out of the ten girls, three have accepted Christ for the first time and 100% wanted to be a part of the ongoing small group.
There’s such a freshness and vulnerability with teenagers that never ceases to catch me off guard and touch my heart. Many have a tough outer shell covering up a genuine, childlike curiosity to know the truth about life and God. Most recently during dance team small group, 17 year-old Navani* sat next to me as we were going around the circle closing our time in prayer. Her turn came, and she took a deep breath, started to say something, paused, took another breath and tapped my knee whispering, “Madi, when I pray am I talking about God or am I talking to Him?” No one has ever prayed with her before.
The week prior, Navani opened up for the first time about her personal life. She described getting off the bus every day and walking into an empty house where just her and her mom live, though her mom is rarely home. “I think about a lot of deep things since I’m alone a lot...but I have nobody to let it out to, except here.”
What a window into the reality of so many kids and teens right now. “Connected” more than ever on social media yet feeling absolutely isolated, physically and emotionally, from realness in their lives. My heart is heavy for them but not without hope. The best healing for brokenness is experiencing the love and truth of Christ and we have that authentic experience to invite each lonely soul into. It doesn’t make the journey together easy, but it’s so worth it.
As you’re making decisions for giving as 2018 comes to a close, I’ll let you know an upcoming need I have for this spring! An upcoming need and an exciting announcement is that I’m leading my first international mission trip with Cru in March to Quito, Ecuador! The cost of the trip for me is estimated at $2000. Any extra that comes in I will use to help scholarship the students that I’m bringing. I already have three students in mind that I’ve challenged to come, and I am committing to help raise the money to get them there. I’m super pumped for this opportunity. I believe taking students from Orlando to serve and learn from the people of another country will ignite a passion for missions that will in time impact the way their generation engages with the needs, both spiritual and physical, of the world around them.
If you would like to make a special end of year gift toward the Ecuador mission and my ongoing ministry in Orlando, follow this link and click "Give a Gift": give.cru.org/0726129
If you prefer to give by check, simply make it out to "Cru" and mail it to me at my address listed below. I’m grateful for you, and I’m excited to partner with you as we make an investment into lives that will last for eternity: a journey together that’s not always easy, but it’s so worth it :)
Madi's mailing address: 1810 Hollenbeck Drive, Orlando, FL, 32806