FYI Summer Extended — July

Column

WHAT’S TRENDING?

It seems like I can’t spend more than 5 minutes on social media without running into a cooking video. I find them fascinating—gold high-hat cupcakes, avocado eggs, bacon-wrapped chicken breasts—and end up saving the recipes in my “watch later” folder so I’ll remember to try it. My favorite videos are the “Tasty Junior” videos where the parents and kids cook the recipes together and end up with a delicious meal to enjoy.

Sometimes it’s easy to neglect quality time with our loved ones. We’re more involved with school, friends, sports, etc., and time passes without a shared meal. This month, head over to “Tasty” on Buzzfeed.com, or another website with cooking videos. Pick a night of the week and a recipe you’d like to make with, and for, your family. Plan out the grocery list and treat your family to a meal and fellowship together.

WHAT’S SHOWING?

There is a motivational speaker on YouTube called Prince Ea with over 1.5 million followers. I am one of those followers, and have watched videos such as “I Am Not Black, You are Not White,” which has over 12 million views. My favorite video is “Everybody Dies, But Not Everybody Lives.” If you haven’t seen it, head over to YouTube now and check it out.

We all have dreams, and so many of us are afraid of those dreams. God wouldn’t have given us our dreams if He didn’t have a master plan for how He would use them. Instead of spending the summer on the couch, why not dedicate this month to “working” on your dream? Some steps are easy: if you dream about anything musically related, you practice and study music. Other dreams may require a little bit of research on how to pursue them. Start with a small goal for this month—i.e. write a short story a day—and spend this month working toward your goal.

WHAT’S SOCIAL?

Summers are notoriously slow for me; I don’t have as many projects and I spend the hottest days indoors in front of the AC. When things are slow, that’s the time when we can refocus our attention. It’s easy to get caught up in ourselves and our lives throughout the year, but we need to remember that their are others around us who also have needs, hurts, and prayer requests they are taking daily to God.

This summer, would you join me in using #YSPrays? Let’s take the focus off of ourselves and ask how we can pray for one another; what requests are laying on our friends, family, and church member’s hearts? Commit those requests to prayer for the entire month. I’m not saying don’t pray for your own needs, but focus on the needs of others around you first and foremost.

WHAT’S CHALLENGING?

During a summer in college, I worked as a counselor to the youngest girls at The Salvation Army’s camp in upstate New York. I found that summer tiring but rewarding, as I saw children making commitments to the Lord each week. I also made many great friends and fully intended to spend the next summer working at camp and seeing them again. Soon after the summer ended, I learned about the summer mission program in my territory: 6 weeks living in another country, ministering to the people. There was no guarantee as to what country I would be assigned to, or what my team would be doing during those weeks. All we could expect was that we were going to minister in whatever way the host territory saw fit: painting walls, visiting orphanages, traveling to corps, or preaching on Sunday morning.

Do you feel comfortable with whatever you are doing this summer—whether you’re working at camp, have a summer job, or just hanging out at home? How can God call you to be uncomfortable? When we allow God to put us in situations where we are uncomfortable, we allow ourselves to grow and improve. It may seem early to start thinking about next summer, but many programs start accepting applications as early as October! Start researching through your territorial youth department what programs your territory has available and pray that God would lead you to the perfect opportunity to grow you and your faith.

Rachael Boynton | Spring Valley Corps | Greater New York