Many have been asking what I've been up to since I graduated in May. No, I didn't escape to the mountains for another summer at camp, I actually moved up North to Portland (Vancouver, Washington to be exact) to intern with the congregation at Messiah Lutheran Church.
My summer was as busy as ever, full of new friendships, experiences, and memories that will last a lifetime. To say that the internship was life-changing would be an understatement and now reflecting on the 12 weeks, hard to put into words.
One of the biggest blessings of the summer was getting to work with a great friend, Ms. Rachael Manzo. We both graduated from CLU in May, and were offered the internship at Messiah. Rachael has a warm, comforting personality, one that is quick with a laugh, and we surely had many. Side by side, we worked and lived together, trying to figure out where our lives were headed and if they included ministry. We seem to balance each other out really well, and were very intuitive to how each other was feeling. This being the first time Rachael had been away from home, I was there for a familiar face, and a comfort which made me feel really good. She kept me organized and patient, and was always willing to help out any way she could. Her presence was calming but loud, exciting but focused, and always joy filled. We called each other Lewis (me) & Clark (Rach) and together we explored the Pacific Northwest and had some amazing adventures, and created a friendship and support system that will most definitely get us through our time apart.
Messiah is quite a larger congregation, having 4 services (1 on Saturday, 3 on Sunday) and 400+ members. (That number might even be a bit low...) The people were absolutely fantastic and supported me the whole way through. The staff of 10 couldn't have been better to work with, and were so patient and helpful with Rachael and I. They gave us the freedom to carry out our own tasks and projects, as well as really valued our opinions and ideas. They are hard at work, getting ready to start a second site north of their current one, and the first service is September 12. It was a unique experience getting to work on the start up of a new site, one that I doubt many would ever get the chance to do. The intention and care that is going into the North Clark Country campus will allow it to have a great start and thrive. I am so excited to return and worship there!
I have so much appreciation and gratitude for my Messiah family, and for the experience they provided me. Going into the summer, I would have never guessed what a life-directing one it would be. I will take the support and friendships, along with everything I learned with me to Ukraine, and with me the rest of my life. Missing it already!