Post written by Gabe Sullivan.
This was my third year doing The Hartford Project internship. I was called by the Lord to first do it back in 2018 and have loved every minute of it over these past three summers. I have no shortage of fond memories from summers working with other interns and experiencing the Lord moving in incredible ways.
Here’s a little bit of context to this reflection: I was a freshman in college when COVID hit. Mostly everything before spring break was relatively normal. However, around spring break, COVID really started showing up in America. As a result, I went home for the second half of my spring semester and had to complete it online. It was a rough experience, but we ended up making it through finals and finished off the academic year. It was at that point that THP was starting up and, if I’m honest, I didn’t know how to feel about it. I was definitely a bit pumped to be doing the internship again, but part of me wasn’t.
I heard that, with COVID, it was unknown what would be happening with THP. It might be abridged, pushed back, or cancelled altogether. I wouldn’t be lying if I said part of me hoped that THP would be cancelled. The quarantine portion of the school year had worn me out and with that, combined with having my entire family home for an extended period of time, I was hoping to have a summer to just enjoy myself and work. No school, no THP, really nothing happening. However, THP’s leaders made the decision to move forward in an abridged state.
I am very glad they did.
Looking at the summer now, I realize that I was in a lazy mode for a great deal of it. I wasn’t on top of my game for much of it and struggled to get tasks done, for both THP and life in general. I know many people felt a lack of motivation at some point during this pandemic, whether that
was due to online school, working from home, or due to the stress and isolation. However, at least for me, I can’t help but imagine how much worse it would’ve been had THP not happened.
Now, I’m not saying that THP saved the summer or anything like that. It was the Lord’s grace at work that saved it and, as I said previously, I still had many struggles this summer. However, the Lord used THP to help me grow this summer. He put me in a position to serve and to go beyond myself in a summer when I wasn’t feeling up to it. He allowed me to be there for people when they needed someone to listen and offer advice. He even opened my eyes to greater understanding of social interactions and issues, on a personal and societal level.
The Lord used THP. He used this summer. I am not the same as I was before this summer.
I guess that’s the great irony of it all. I wanted this summer for myself: to chill, relax, and work at my leisure. While I still got that some, this summer showed me the Lord’s sovereignty and that He has a plan that goes beyond what we want. Sometimes He leads us to abundant streams, other times He leads us to dry wastelands. But, whatever happens, He is sovereign over it all.
As the Teacher says in Ecclesiastes 11:5,
And so, as I look back on this summer, I can’t help but be thankful for it. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it still was as the Lord willed it to be. He took control in a way that was far beyond what I could imagine and, if He didn’t, I would definitely be regretting this season. I pray we all learn from this. That God is in control. Even in a crazy season. Even in an amazing season. Even when we don’t like it. He reigns and nothing under the sun is beyond His control. We may not like that, and it will be scary at times, but we can have faith that God’s got this. We know that it will turn out alright, even good, in the end.
As Paul says in Romans 8:28,
Amen, Lord. Help us to trust you.
My Summer with THP!
Post written by Lizy Beaulieu.
Hi everyone! My name is Lizy Beaulieu. I am 17 years old, from Southington, and I interned this year at The Hartford Project. My focus areas were Admin and Community Events.
This summer was so amazing with THP. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience considering the crazy circumstances this year. THP gave me a home for the summer and a new family to explore my faith and grow with. This family supported me, lifted me up, encouraged me to pursue God, and helped me get out of my comfort zone.
In all honesty, I was so nervous coming into this internship; I knew that my relationship with God wasn’t where it should be and I wasn’t the best Christian I could be. I was worried that I would be judged and looked down on because I didn’t know Scripture off the top of my head, I couldn’t write my own devo, and I wasn’t confident in my ability to pray out loud or in front of a group. But that was not the case by any means. Everyone was at different stages in their walk with God and everyone only wanted to help build each other up. I learned something from each intern and I hope they got to learn something from me.
I truly connected with the most incredible people. It’s sad to think that this chapter is coming to an end, but I’m glad I have so many great memories and experiences to look back on.
All in all, interning with THP was such an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to carry what I’ve learned here into my everyday life.
God’s calling for me to intern at THP this summer was so clear from the beginning. When I applied for this internship, my life was tremendously in need of a spiritual revival – especially after the many challenges I had faced, and had yet to face, during my junior year of high school. I began the summer knowing that I could not let this internship be just another program for my resume like those that many of my peers were doing, but instead it had to be wholly devoted to focusing on God, my relationship with Him, and serving His kingdom.
My initial expectation for my Life in the City and Administration internship was that it would be essentially the same as being a participant, just over an extended time period. What I did not expect was the sheer number of phone calls made, Excel spreadsheets filled, storage boxes moved, and much, much more that went into making the two outreach weeks successful. During the outreach weeks, the interns often skipped participant activities to set up tables, greet speakers, or prepare the next activity. All of these factors took me aback at first because I had never experienced a mission trip where I was constantly busy with tasks that were generally more mundane than the participant activities. However, I believe that God put this new experience in front of me so that I could learn that serving other Christians is also vital to serving Him. Sometimes, God calls us to serve Him by serving those around us so that they, in turn, are able to serve Him. Although more indirect (and possibly less glamorous), it is still a very necessary part of being a servant of Christ. God used these experiences to develop a servant’s heart within me, which has increased my appreciation for the dedication of the THP staff, and the staff of every other mission trip, because so much effort and faith are required to ensure that everything runs smoothly for the participants.
For a large part of junior year and especially in the weeks leading up to my internship, I had been struggling with a dry season in my faith; it seemed as if God wasn’t present in my life and I couldn’t hear Him no matter how much I cried out to Him in prayer. I felt as if the fiery passion that I once had for Jesus had been extinguished, leaving me in a scary state of abandonment and confusion. Going into THP Week One, I felt inadequate as an intern because I was not feeling that connection with God that I desperately needed – How could I possibly be qualified or deserving of a role that required so much leadership and a strong faith in God?
As I watched many of the kids from my own youth group experience God personally I was encouraged and overjoyed for them, but at the same time I felt overwhelmed by my own inability to feel God in my heart and to experience the emotions and revelations that my friends were experiencing. When the feeling of inadequacy became unbearable, I poured out my inability to feel God and the resulting incompetency to my pastor; he reminded me of having faith in God’s ultimate plan and prayed for God’s grace to let the dry season pass. Though I was still unsure of where my faith stood by the end of Week One, I was undeniably filled with a peace that I didn’t even realize was missing before. It assured me that God was still present in my life even if I couldn’t feel Him. All Christians go through variable phases in their faith, from dry seasons to times of spiritual highs, that do not define whether they are a good or bad Christian or how adequate they are for serving the Lord. Throughout the next few weeks and during THP Week Two, I gradually realized that God can use His children in any stage of their faith to do His work and that it is possible to feel at peace and have faith in God’s presence even during dry seasons.
Another factor that the THP ministry has made me realize, especially as a Life in the City intern, is the immense beauty of Hartford. Growing up in a very suburban community, there is often a stigma that Hartford is just a hopeless city that you probably shouldn’t go into unless you really have to. However, working with THP has opened my eyes not only to the physical beauty of our capital city but also the beauty of its culture and community. The people of Hartford are full of compassion and love, and many of them have a hope and desire to see Hartford changed for the better. The more time I spent in the city, the more I fell in love with Hartford.
One of the most striking aspects of THP is the strong community that it never fails to foster. As a participant, I always feel so connected to the other believers in the room, regardless of which church they are from, as we all worship the same God and strive towards a common end goal together. As an intern, there is such a tight and supportive bond amongst the staff as we pray for and encourage each other. Even though we all come from dozens of different churches with varying cultural backgrounds, our faith in Jesus bonds us together as one Church that has set out to serve His Kingdom.
Above all, this internship was so much fun and an amazing opportunity to just watch God work! It was wonderfully fulfilling to be able to serve with the other interns, form friendships with them, and simply deepen my faith. I’ve learned more than I ever thought I would about serving others and about the city of Hartford. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to meet some of the strongest, most faithful men and women in Christ, from the speakers to the other THP staff to the participants, and to see how God specifically and beautifully uses their lives as a testimony to His grace. This internship was an unforgettable experience that’s helped me better understand the complete immensity of God’s love and power.
I realize that not every aspect of this post reflects an effortlessly connected summer – it jumps around quite a bit as my experiences have been so widely varied, but I think that this jumble of thoughts mirrors how God often works in us. The events in our lives may be random, messy, or overwhelming, but in the end they are all related and even intertwined by God’s power. This internship has been an affirmation that God is faithful even when I am not, and that no matter how broken I am God can still work through me.
Post written by Lydia Yu.
Meet Our Interns: Lydia
It’s time to meet Lydia Yu - The Hartford Project’s Administration and Life in the City Intern for summer 2017. Lydia is so passionate about The Hartford Project because it played such a big role in her life, especially when she first attended in 2014. She shares on her experience:
Lydia is looking forward to interning because she wants to be able to pour into others at THP. She is excited to see how God is going to work in the hearts of each student, just like He worked in her heart.
Lydia will be amazing as a Life in the City Intern because she has truly grown to love Hartford through her experiences at THP. She shares about working on the worksites:
Fun Fact // Lydia’s favorite song to dance to is “Cotton Eyed Joe.”
Favorite Verse // Philippians 2:15 // “So that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”
Post written by Jenna Adendorff.
Written by the many voices of The Hartford Project!