Guest Posts

Protege For The Ladies

Protege is a two-year residency program we've created to help men and women discover and develop their 'missional genius' - the unique opportunity God has given them to bring the values of God's kingdom to bear in the world around them. To help us recruit for next year's team we've asked this year's team to talk about why they decided to become part of Protege. First up is Rachael Mirabella, who sent the following to me at the end of September:

Today marks the sixth week of being involved with Protege. So, what to say? To be honest, this is all very new to me. But I love it already. I guess I'm mostly addressing this blog to those of the female persuasion, since that is what I am. This year, I'm the only girl involved, which actually rocks. I love spending time with these brothers of mine and working alongside them. But I think you ladies should join us! Allow me to tell you why ...

Trying to figure out what to do last year as a senior year in college, all the options before me felt overwhelming. My life has been transformed by Jesus, and I knew that whatever I did, I wanted it to be about Him. Some people glorify God in their workplace or through art or athletics, but one of my personal passions really is the church and spreading the gospel. One of my other passions is the city of Athens, GA. Protege is where those two met for me.

I'm learning through the Porterbook training we're going through (a seminary-type class) that being the church means sharing life together - doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality. This is what this internship has done for me! As I live my life, I'm sharing it with people. I share my life with my wonderful roommates. I share life with the other interns. I'm starting to share my life with some of the middle and high schoolers outside of youth group. I'm building relationships with people inside the church, then I'm going where people are (coffee shops, downtown Athens, the grocery store), meeting people and inviting them to come see what community is like.

My specific role as an intern is with the youth group. Those kids are so cool! You should get to know them if you don't. Will Mott and I run the youth group and meet with some of them one-on-one. It's a wonderful way to practice leadership, but mostly it's just a way to share our lives with some cool kids and talk about Jesus. We run youth group much like a community group now - sharing ideas and getting a discussion going. And we're hoping to start serving together soon.

I'm also leading a community group with Bonne Beasley this year for college girls. Again, practicing leadership, but mostly meeting together as girls in a similar stage in life, trying to become a family. We eat together, share our thoughts on the sermon and pray for one another. This is a wonderful life. I'm being poured into; I pour out. I'm being loved; I love. I'm taking risks and have the potential to fail, but am being supported all the way. If you're passionate about Jesus, about this city, about becoming a family, about learning how to share Jesus with people and actually doing it, this internship may be for you. Come talk to me about it! Let's be on mission for Athens together.

If you'd like to talk more about Protege - particularly if you're a woman - get in touch with Rachael at rmirabella@missionathens.com

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Katie Crosby - Summer 2010

Katie Crosby is a student at UGA and spent this summer interning with a new church in Macon, GA. This is her story:

I was privileged to intern this summer at Strong Tower Fellowship, a multicultural church plant in Macon, GA. It was started a little over a year ago and its mission is to minister in word and deed to the people of Pleasant Hill, a neighborhood that borders the church.
The name "Pleasant Hill" is very ironic-- this square mile is one of the poorest locations in America, making it a hot spot for crime and drug abuse. It is anything but pleasant. The degree of brokenness and heartache seen in a third world country is sitting in my back yard. To state in short-- I have never seen such extreme brokenness this close up. No matter how many times you read about or discuss various hardships in the world, the perspective and understanding of such brokenness drastically changes when you hear about it with your own ears and see it with your own eyes. Rape (incestuous and standard), physical and emotional abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, abandonment, imprisonment, homelessness, poverty-- none of these categories come as a surprise to the people living in Pleasant Hill; all know someone who fits into these categories and the majority of the people of Pleasant Hill fit into some/a lot of these categories as well. No longer are these simply headings in my social work textbooks, there are now faces and stories attached to these various heartbreaks, and it has become very personal.
While the ramifications of the Fall are easily seen in Pleasant Hill, I have never seen the Lord move so tangibly as He has in this neighborhood over the last year. I was blessed with the opportunity of being on the front lines of the Spirit’s movement this summer. Over this last year around 80 people have come to know the Lord, which is over 10% of the Pleasant Hill community. From former convicts who are now carrying Bibles instead of guns to alcoholics who are being filled with the Spirit instead of beer, God is at work. There is no doubt in my mind that if Jesus were alive today, these are the people he would be spending time with—the convicts, the drug addicts, the abused, the abandoned. Because these are the people who are able to clearly see their brokenness and need for a Savior. So many of us hide behind facades, making our brokenness not as clearly seen, but God desires a contrite, humble spirit that recognizes the desperate need for a Savior.
The theme of my summer has been Revelation 21, “Behold, I am making all things new!” While the pain and heartache in Pleasant Hill is substantial, we are not in despair, because our God is a God of redemption. This is not the way God intended the world to be, and since the Fall, he has been weaving throughout history a story of redemption; and through Jesus Christ, brokenness and heartache will one day be completely eradicated. No longer will there be tears or pain, for our God will make a new heaven and a new earth. This is our great hope. One life at a time, one family at a time, God is restoring Pleasant Hill and putting broken things back together.

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Rachel Reece - Summer 2010

Rachel is a UGA student who has been part of our church for three years. Here's what she wrote about her summer working with students at Camp All-American in Atlanta:

We've been going through Tim Keller's study of Galatians at Camp All-American this summer, and I am seeing life more clearly than I ever have before. I've come to a much deeper understanding of the ways I fail to live out and believe the gospel, but it's so good because I'm seeing so many things that I have been held captive to my whole life, and how there is freedom from those things in a relationship with the Lord.

It has really been a rich summer, as I learn about my own sense of entitlement through the outrageous expectations of some campers' parents, and as I see my bondage to perfectionism through how I handle slip-ups and failure. The richness comes in seeing that because I'm not "entitled" to grace, I can't do anything to make me un-entitled to it: it's unconditional; and I am also slowly understanding that the Lord shows me grace in my failures and defines me based on who Jesus is, not how well I perform. I feel truly and deeply blessed in the Lord!

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