My time as a Discipleship and Communication Intern for The Hartford Project was such a fulfilling experience that exceeded my expectations. I learned so much about myself and God through this internship, and I grew such a passion and heart for the city of Hartford! At the beginning, I thought it would be an exciting way to spend my summer, grow in my communication skills, and serve the Lord with others, but I had no idea it would have such an impact on me too. The Lord taught me and grew me in so many ways, and he often did this by using other people in my life during THP- whether that be other interns, leaders, or even people I got to pray for in Hartford. I got a glimpse of God’s heart for people this summer, and through that, I have grown so much.
A lot of my responsibilities this summer put me in a place of leadership. As the Discipleship Intern, many of my tasks revolved around the morning and evening sessions. I got the opportunity to reach out to some amazing speakers and worship artists who would share with our students during the two weeks of THP. During the main sessions I had opportunities to give announcements, encourage kids to share testimonies, welcome and introduce our speakers, pray over the participants, and lead the students into times of response. Each morning, I also got to develop and lead devotions for team leaders from our various participating churches. Being put in those places of leadership was an incredible opportunity that stretched me further than I imagined. It was also so exciting to be able to share the goodness of God with others in a space filled with people so eager for His presence. Sterling, who oversees discipleship, gave me generous room to lead and grow. He encouraged me and helped me realize God is all about grace instead of perfection. That was a great example of empowering leadership to me- because he gave me space to grow in a place where he could have run everything himself.
I was also greatly influenced by the interns and other people I worked with. Serving behind the scenes is no small task- it’s a lot of work. Especially during the two weeks of THP, there is so much going on- it seriously feels like it’s a whole summer crammed into four days! This builds a lot of unity because everybody really has to work together. I formed relationships with the people around me, and I loved the sense of community and unity that I felt, even with people I only spoke to a few times. That’s one thing I love so much about THP- the unity. This unity is what the kingdom of God is supposed to look like, and it’s beautiful to witness and be a part of.
I was able to talk to some amazing people during THP. Some of those people I connected with at block parties or worksites, and some of them were students and leaders participating in THP. Spending time with all different people- whether that be urban, suburban or just different denominations- opened my eyes to how much diversity is essential to the kingdom of God. I also really loved the city of Hartford and all of the diversity found there. I realized so much about loving others this summer in Hartford, because I got to experience the beauty of everyone being different. We aren’t all meant to be exactly the same, and that gives freedom to be completely real and form relationships with a lot of incredible people. I was continually inspired by the testimonies and stories of those around me, and I began to have a heart for all people- even those I barely knew.
What started off as a simple volunteer internship this summer, ended up being so much more than that. I definitely grew in a lot of practical skills- such as learning different softwares, being comfortable speaking in front of many people each day, and doing different administrative tasks. However, one of my main goals during this internship was to not get so caught up in the tasks I had to do that I missed what God was doing and saying, and I think I was able to achieve that goal most days. I left this summer internship very inspired and filled up with encouragement, and ready to continue to pour out His love to those around me.
Post written by Jenna Adendorff.