Post written by Lily Brigham.
Hi everyone, my name is Lily! I remember praying about my interview for THP and saying, “God if you want me here, then let me get accepted. If you do not, then I’ll know by the end of the week.”
Surprise!! I was accepted, and my 3-month summer began.
Throughout the summer, God showed me how to love a diverse group of people. No intern was the same. No person I talked to on the street was the same. They all grew up in different families, with different traditions, different hobbies, different beliefs, different fears, different “normals”, but one thing I learned is that, no matter our differences, everyone struggles. I remember walking down Main Street in Hartford and God gave me this vision of the layers of people. Every person I saw, God broke down into layers of fears, experiences, and their past. That is when God showed me that people will not be honest with me until I am honest with them. I learned that vulnerability is scary, but so key to loving people.
This summer, God taught me a lot about love and how to love others the way Jesus did. I was not here to condemn, change, or fix people. I was here to listen, to learn, and to understand. I was here to welcome, to care for, and to love.
This summer was full of growth. It was not easy, but it was so worth it, and it led to a lot of life-changing breakthroughs for me. I could not be more thankful for my sweet team, this crazy summer, and my incredible God.
Post written by Bethany Sullivan.
“…And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
This summer did not go according to plan.
I had been given some other opportunities before the pandemic began, but the Lord pressed on my heart the importance of coming home, being invested in my community, and serving with The Hartford Project as an intern. I have been gone for college and summer plans three years in a row and this was my last time to come home before becoming a senior. Even before the internship started, God had placed me right where he wanted me.
We started preparing, praying, and planning for the weeks of THP.
One of the things on my to-do list for THP was to prepare a sermon for Tuesday night of our service weeks. With the theme of the whole week being UNHINDERED, it was fitting to speak about God’s work in the book of Esther. While studying to preach, I learned about how God placed Esther in the right place at the right time, and she decided to do the right thing. This preparation convicted me because I knew God had placed me where He had me too, but maybe I wasn’t having the right attitude. Maybe I wasn’t trusting Him with the plans He had. Maybe I had my own agenda that I had to give up.
So, I resolved to give the summer to God – to give my efforts, attitudes, and emotions to Christ. Guess what? After making this choice, I started seeing God use the efforts the intern team and I were making. We saw God work in incredible ways despite a global pandemic happening. The intern team became tight. Youth groups were able to become more intimate in their relationships. Deeper conversations happened because there were smaller groups. Every night, students got to bring home what they had learned during the day; instead of being immersed in THP and leaving it behind at the end of the week, their THP lives and their “regular” lives existed together. All these things encouraged my heart and reminded me that God really is UNHINDERED.
So what did I learn during this summer? Well, here are three things I can tell you:
Intern Reflection Series // Poem written by Natsalla Rios
In the summer 2018 I interned here at THP!
I know amazing right... ME... being in this incredible ministry.
Hello, allow me to introduce myself, I’m Natsalla - the worksites and discipleship intern.
Ugh, I know it is a super long title, I understand you. Here’s me...
Don’t I look so happy?
I was - believe me I had a blast.
During this internship I was able to see the work that goes into THP!
Yes, I know what you’re thinking -
What is this girl talking about? How much work can it be planning a WEEK?
... but let me tell you... A LOT!
If it’s not planning where the participants are going for worksites and showers
It's making sure we got you handled with a great worship team to get you worshipping.
Incredible, right? I know!
That’s only my job - imagine the other interns.
We all worked super hard to make this all possible for you.
Not only did our team help make your summers so much better,
but our summer was made better too.
For example, I was quiet...
HAHA I know you wouldn’t tell by reading this,
but I was the shy one
and by the support of my team and supervisors
I was able to be pushed out of my comfort zone,
meet new people,
and make amazing connections.
During the course of this internship,
not only was I able to just meet people
and learn to get out of my comfort zone
but I was able to build in my relationship with God
and learn new ways to better myself in Christ,
because you can always become better : )
In my time in building my relationship with God
I began a Bible project with my intern supervisor
and found a new mentor
in my amazing church community
to help keep me on the right track.
I just pray that God continues to bless me moving forward
as I begin to search for my calling in the ministry and in college.
That’s all for now folks!
God bless you all!!
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.
Written by the many voices of The Hartford Project!