Working on the front lines of what God is doing in a community is challenging, joy-filled, awe-inspiring, but most importantly humbling. The stories shared in this safe space not only humble me in all circumstances, but they force me to rely on God for His compassion, mercy, peace and comfort to be poured out onto them. More of God and less of me. Trust me, it is hard not to just want to solve all of the world’s problems affecting these kids in the snap of my fingers. However, as we all know, no one has the ability to do so, so therefore I must trust the Lord. A specific friendship that sticks out to me is with a middle school girl named Jackie, who is a part of our Leaders In Training group. Our relationship started last summer when I interned with Mission Southside.
She came in very early every day, so all of us interns would engage in conversation with her to get to know her. Throughout the summer, she stuck right by my side. We shared different experiences together like being partners in games, reading Spanish books together to work on Spanish vocabulary, eating our snacks and laughing about life and riding in the same canoe together on the river (which was where this picture was taken last summer). We were best friends throughout the summer and even into this time period of COVID-19, we remained close by writing notes back and forth through snail mail. Her friendship is very near and dear to my heart because there is something about her that I connect with. She is gentle, loving, and oh so compassionate, but she is also quiet and never desires to be the center of attention.
One of my favorite things about Jackie is her love for her siblings. When I asked her about her favorite gift she ever received, she answered her siblings. Here I am thinking this middle school girl would say an electronic, games or even a pair of shoes, but she said something more valuable: her siblings. She always thought she would be an only child, so when God gave her a little sister and brother, she has been delighted ever since. Another one of my favorite attributes about Jackie is her desire to ponder who God is.
Often times, we walk and chat about life, going back and forth asking questions about God and catching up on our favorite things. We both agree that we love Taco Bell and their sauce that is on their chicken quesadillas. Random, I know, but actually God used that conversation to teach us something very profound. We wondered about what made up the signature sauce and decided there was a direct analogy between both God and this secret sauce. At the same time, we were discussing God’s creation and how He created His people and the world, and how He is a creative God that cares so intimately for His people. The connection we landed on is that God’s creation is like Taco Bell’s signature sauce on their quesadillas. We know some of the different things that make up both the world and Taco Bell’s sauce, however there are pieces of both we will never know because they are secret for a specific purpose.
God created the world knowing that the fullness of the creation would not be revealed to His people and Taco Bell created that sauce knowing that the recipe would not be given out fully. It was so crazy how God used such an innocent topic to create such a relatable conversation about who He is. I am so grateful to be able to witness Jackie’s growth and I cannot wait to see how God continues to use her. She has truly become like a little sister and friend that will last beyond this summer.