Written by Sara Apostoaei, Community Engagement Intern
I wasn’t so sure about doing DemoCrew for a second summer this year but the Lord led me here once again. It’s so encouraging to know that He knows us better than we know ourselves and even though we might not see the “why” right away, we can trust that He is working everything for our absolute good and for His glory. He knows my heart so much better than I do and I am blown away by the fruit that came out of the second summer: the confidence, the relationships, the skills and connections formed. The internship has helped me be confident in who God has created me to be realizing that what I bring to the table is valuable and needed. I have learned patience in a new way this summer (maybe because I worked with students all summer), I have stepped out in leadership roles by participating in furthering the program with new ideas, and by taking the lead on some activities while stepping back and giving opportunity to others for some.
Our theme this year was “Extraordinary-Ordinary” and we looked at ways God calls us to be obedient in the ordinary while He grows extraordinary things in and out of us. The theme really impacted and spoke to me this summer because it took off the pressure of performance. I brought my best to the table but I knew God had to do the rest and bring the extraordinary out of me.
- I saw Him demolish perspectives and stereotypes in the students.
- I saw Him open their eyes to the reality of human brokenness and the certainty of redemption.
- I saw Him gently remove wrong views of the people that we serve.
- I saw Him light up a new passion in my heart and others’ for the work of His kingdom.
Through the internship and DemoCrew this summer, I was also reminded of the value of community and inviting people to your table both literally and metaphorically. We practiced this all summer whether it was through our community meals or through making spaces for people to come as they are and sit in spaces of belonging.
Being a second-year intern was exiting in a different way; I knew that I was trusted and that I had a seat at the table, and could participate in developing the program further. I brought in new ideas, collaborated with my team (who became dear friends) and jumped in to help when necessary. One of the amazing things about interning at The Mustard Seed is that people believe in you, not just with words but with actions – they give you opportunities to do things you might not feel entirely qualified for and create grace-filled spaces if you fail. They give opportunities for leadership, they encourage new ideas and new methods of doing things, and they invest in people as much as they invest in programs.
My goal for this summer was to really own DemoCrew – not just to be a part of it, but to fully feel like I am a part of what God is doing through it and this rang true in my heart the whole summer. My passions and dreams were highlighted to me once again through shadowing the different departments (Wellness Centre, Shelter, Street level), through interacting with the students and their leaders and through deepening my learning about homelessness and poverty. Being able to use my creativity in an environment that not only facilitated and encouraged it but where my ideas and opinions were listened to and taken in as much as everyone else was beyond encouraging. I was given opportunities to speak and lead worship all while leaning on the Holy Spirit and my team.
My growth this summer has been both personal and professional. The learning and the growth that took place in me is something that I will take with me forever and I know that it will be a building block to whatever God has for me next. I am so thankful for the opportunities to grow, innovate and learn alongside the best team ever!