Portland, Oregon, a place near and dear to my heart. Near because for the last 10 years I have been only 30 minutes away and dear for one particular reason: Portland is AWESOME. Maybe I’m bias because I am a Northwest girl through and through BUT I think you would find many, many people who feel similarly. Not only is Portland beautiful and offers the outdoor adventurer constant places for exploration but it also offers places for readers, coffee drinkers, Chaco wearers, and self- proclaimed “foodies” alike. And maybe you are reading this and hate all of those things and that’s okay because Portland has something for you too, I promise. Even if its something a little weird like creating Pokémon characters into peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because haven’t you heard…Keep Portland Weird!
Okay so now you are convinced right? Portland is wonderful. But why am I spending my summer there? Well, during this last school year I had the opportunity to apply for a summer mission’s opportunity with the North American Mission Board. After being accepted to the program and being asked to serve in a Northwest city, something in my heart felt uneasy. I spent time in prayer as well as talking to my parents full of wisdom and friends full of encouragement and advice. Before I finished my freshman year at Washington State University I felt confident God was calling me home for the summer and declined the NAMB position. When I got home, I had the opportunity to aid my Dad in preparing for his summer interns who would be spending 10 weeks engaging and serving the city of Portland, the Generation Send group and the Portland Parachute Project. While helping my Dad and talking to my parents, it became clear that this was more than an opportunity to help my Dad but an opportunity to fully participate in the experience. After a few emails and phone calls, I became an official participant of the Portland Parachute Project.
For the next 9 weeks of the summer (I can’t believe I’ve already had the joy of spending a week with these people) my team, a group of 11 other people, will live near the campus of Portland State University learning what it looks like to form churches in Portland, serve and love people the way Jesus would, and display to others what the church is suppose to be- a group of broken, imperfect people who are wanting more of Jesus and are passionate about loving others well so they will want more of Him to. This will be a time for personal growth as I lean on Jesus for strength and a time to learn more about what it looks like to serve people intentionally and sacrificially. A time of a remembering that everything I do- whether working, eating, biking, reading, or walking can be done for the glory of God. Each day there is opportunity to be lead by the Spirit and I am so grateful to be apart of a program with structure but also flexibility. At the end of the day, I believe I am called to live a life on mission. A life where I leverage my every action for Jesus and a life about identifying people on my journey, inviting them to participate with me, investing in them as we walk together, and increasing our numbers so following Jesus shifts from a ME thing to a WE thing.
I would love if you would pray for unity and peace between myself and my team that we would continue to care for one another well, for the people of Portland that they would feel known, loved, and cared for by our team and most importantly by Jesus, and that we would keep our eyes on Him- the sustainer of our lives. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about my experience and so I can have a chance to hear more about your summer story and how I can pray for you!