The New Girl in Town (and other updates from Jax)

Almost 2 months. I can't believe I've been in Jacksonville for almost 2 months already! You know what's funny? It's funny how quickly you forget what it looks like to be the new girl in town once you actually start making friends and having a social life.
It took a while in Nashville, and it was HARD, but once I made friends, I was good to go and I (almost) forgot about the loneliness of being new. I just need to keep reminding myself that the same thing will happen here. Y'all I have watched a LOT of Netflix. Apparently that's what you do when you don't have "everyday friends" yet. You know, everyday friends are the ones that you call and say, "I'm going to Target, wanna come?" or, "Let's go get a milkshake from Cookout," or "I need to clean out my closet, come sit on my bed and keep me company." I'm working on it, though. The other YoungLife peeps in the area have been my saving grace. They have been so good at inviting me to come over and watch football, or go to dinner, or... whatever. I am more thankful for them than they realize, and I'm trying to be just as good at saying "yes" to invites because sometimes laying in bed and watching your screensaver scroll through pictures and having a pity party sounds way better.
Ok so how IS life, Mary Clyde? Well, it's actually been really good! Everything has been moving so fast! We had our first WyldLife (YL for middle school) club within 2 weeks of my moving here, and 84 kids showed up. I literally did nothing to contribute to that number, but it was pretty cool to see! It was also the first WyldLife club I'd ever been to and it was nuts, but in the best way. There are a bunch of high school kids that are already, or are interested in being WyldLife leaders and it's really exciting to get to build friendships with them while leading alongside them! We've also had our first 2 YoungLife clubs of the semester! They are so loud and so much fun!!
Between moving here and now, I actually spent 2 consecutive weeks out of town. I know, leaving town for 2 weeks, 3 weeks after you move somewhere, isn't usually something that you would do. One of those weeks was technically a work trip. Every 10 years, the whole Florida Region goes to Trail West, one of YoungLife's camps in Colorado, for their fall staff time (usually they go to Southwind, the camp here in Florida). This was the 10th year, and we had a blast! It was really great to have the opportunity to travel with, and get to know, the rest of the people on YL staff here in Florida. The fact that Colorado is beautiful didn't hurt either. :) We stayed at Trail West, and had all of our meetings and stuff there, but we spent one of our days at Frontier Ranch since it's only about 20 minutes away. On the last day, we left Trail West in the morning and went to the YoungLife Service Center (HQ) for a tour and lunch. It was cool to get to meet the people behind tabs on the website or on the other side of a phone call!
 Field trip to Frontier!
 The first thing we did at Frontier was gather in Lookout to hear the story of Frontier and have some time to pray together as a staff.
 Heading out for the hike at Frontier!
Florida YoungLife staff at the Service Center. I am so thankful to get to call this group of people my friends!!
While we were in Colorado, Irma was swirling around in the Atlantic and making a beeline for Florida. We got home to lots of mandatory evacuations, so I repacked my suitcase the next day and headed home to NC. I was home for a week and was blown away at seeing, first hand, the flood and storm damage in Jacksonville. It's one thing to see it on the news,  but it's totally different to see, and smell, it for yourself. I don't know if you know this, but flood damage smells really bad. Once the power came back, and life started back up again, we all just started playing catch-up. It finally feels like we've really got the ball rolling for the year and I'm thankful for all of the momentum we already have!

One thing I am STILL working on is fundraising. Part of my being on YL staff is a responsibility to fundraise $25,000 each year. In YoungLife we view donors as partners in ministry. Nothing that we do would be possible without them, and it's really cool for me to see the people from different aspects of my life that have already come alongside me in support of my ministry! Thanks to a handful of monthly donors, and several very generous one-time gifts, I have just passed the $12,000 mark in my fundraising!! I would love to add more monthly donors to my list, and right now I'm praying for 13 people to commit to $84 a month, which would make me hit my goal! (If you're interested in learning more about what I'm doing here in Jacksonville, click here. If you're interested in giving, click here!)
It really has been so cool to see how the Lord has already answered so many prayers since I've been here. I continue to find myself saying "It's been too easy!" which is just confirmation that I am exactly where I am called to be! Our YL team prayed for freshmen to come to club and be excited about YoungLife, and boy have the freshmen shown up! I prayed specifically for the opportunity to get to know girls from one school in particular, and all of a sudden I'm hanging out with 6 freshmen girls from that school pretty regularly. It's just fun to get to have a front row seat to watch the Lord work.


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