With Xenia in our rear-view mirrors, a time of reflection is needed to remember the events and effects of the summer. How fortunate to have 13 peers to do life with, learn from, grow in knowledge of the Lord with, encourage, and cultivate deep friendships with. So many thoughts are present – thoughts of thankfulness, joy, sadness, anticipation, expectation, and fullness. We leave this summer with a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s love, kindness, provision, strength, glory, and holiness, a greater appreciation for God’s work through sport, a deeper understanding of the power found in community. Memories abound and friendships for a lifetime are a highlight of nine weeks spent in Xenia, Ohio. The challenges we faced personally this summer were met with open arms, wisdom, and support from brothers and sisters in Christ, known by God to become a family.
We wrapped the final weeks up with a few more get-togethers and an outreach to the homeless in Cincinnati, having conversations and praying with them. It was a needed time of learning more about them and taking time to understand their situation. We were all blessed by one interaction in particular. We had split up into groups around the downtown area and planned on meeting at a local restaurant for supper in the early evening. Shortly before meeting for the meal and debriefing, we met a man who greeted us, saying “The Spirit is with you. I can tell.” This, of course, sparked a conversation and we were able to talk about what he was dealing with in his life right then. He asked for prayer and we were able to buy a bus ticket for him to see a family member who was sick. When all of us gathered together for the meal, we discovered other groups had talked with this man and prayed with him, each group trying to figure out a way to give a tangible gift in the form of a ticket. The group before ours had run into different stores and even the police station, asking if they could use a printer to print a ticket. After not being able to produce a ticket, the man reassured the group that God would provide. Little did we know that God would fulfill that man’s statement of faith through us within 20 minutes. This is not of ourselves- one of the members of our group simply followed God’s prompting and bought a ticket on the spot. To some, it probably sounds strange. Why buy a ticket for someone you just met when you don’t know if they’re telling the truth? But whether or not the story was true- whether or not the ticket was actually used-is of no relevance to us. In James, it is written, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” We are commanded to give physical evidence of our faith. In this instance, physical evidence came in the form of a bus ticket.
Our last gathering as a full group was breakfast at Chick-fil-A, where we were able to wrap up some last-minute responsibilities and share prayer requests going into the school year. Our final week in the office ended with a baseball game, exit interviews, and conversations with our supervisors about our development this summer. With one intern already home for a family commitment, we officially ended our time together with a farewell banquet, a celebratory event centered around encouragement – from our supervisors, for our supervisors, and for each other. The goodbyes were drawn out even longer, as Saturday morning found us together for breakfast before heading out. Hugs multiplied and thank yous resounded in Coffee Hub, a local place where we had found much-needed caffeine and relaxation throughout the summer.
“Though our internship with AIA is complete and we don’t know if we will all be together in one place again until heaven, the work and the investment that started in Ohio is just the beginning. The joy and intentionality we experienced this summer is only a small piece of what the Lord has planned for us. Being able to see others on fire for the Lord has fanned our small flames and inspired us to begin to catch fire. No matter where the Lord calls us after this summer, this journey has been one to remember. Xenia will always have a special place in our hearts and this summer will always be a continual connection point between the interns. This summer will be looked back on as a time of growth and huge influence on our faith walks. This summer will be a reminder of just how good God is and how great He’ll move when you give him your time.” -Ali and Josiah
Written by Heather, X Project intern