June 09, 2013

Jackson Hole Update

After 1,800 miles, we arrived in Jackson, Wyoming last Friday. Wilson did well on the drive if well means awake, talkative, and needy. :) 

We made stops in Kentucky to see my family, St. Louis to see some dear friends (Robert & Katherine), and then a boring two days of Nebraska and nowhere, Wyoming. We were all ready to get to Jackson Hole by the end.

Pulling into JH was so sweet because it felt like another home. (I feel like we have a lot of homes.) I'm a lover of consistency so it was nice to walk into a summer project and place that feels familiar to us.

The first few days were just us as a staff team (there are 13 of us) getting acclimated and preparing for the students to come. Andrew is directing the project with a staff girl from Georgia, Whitney. Our staff team is awesome and we are so thankful that each of them are here. 

It was clear from the beginning that Wilson would acclimate just fine.

On Tuesday the students arrived and OH are they precious. I helped with the girl's applications and briefings, so it was so fun to be able to put faces with names that I had been praying for for so long. I know Andrew felt the same. We have 20 girls and 8 guys from mostly the southeast but also a few from other states like Virginia and Iowa. 

 They come from all different backgrounds and all different places in their walks with the Lord. Some are already leading small groups and discipling others back home at their colleges. Some are just understanding what it means to follow Jesus for the first time. I said this last year, but when we told our stories in our small groups the first night, I couldn't help but think that this is how the disciples must have felt when they started to hear stories that Jesus had risen from His grave. He is REAL. I have seen Him! He has tangibly entered into my life and made sense of the chaos.


One of the many blessings of our job is being up close and personal with college students' life stories and how the gospel turns their life upside down. It is so refreshing.

We do all meals together in the most stereotypically Western kitchen you have ever seen.

I love this aspect of the JH project, because it really adds to the feel that we are a family for the summer.

In the mornings, the students enter a classroom like setting and hear from one of the staff as they share a talk on things like "The Gospel Story" or "How to share your story" or "How to study the Bible." This is a discipleship project, so our hope is to train students in how to walk well with the Lord and create gospel-centered communities when they return home to their campuses.

After lunch we do a fun activity, normally a hike. (Because we are in the most gorgeous spot in the United States, after all.)

W slept the whole way up this hike and sang the whole way down.

On Monday nights we have Small Groups (We are going through a study called Gospel Growth). Amy (who is on staff with us at Southern Miss) and I are leading a group together. On Thursday nights we have Men's and Women's time. The boys are going through Thoughts for Young Men and the girls are going through Calm My Anxious Heart. Throughout the week we meet with students we have been assigned to disciple to make sure they are tracking with the incredible amount of information they are being given and to just check on their hearts.

I'm pretty much in love with my girls, Liz & Elisabeth. Yes, we are the Eliz(s)abeths and isn't that great?

Overall, we are loving ministry here and we could not be more thankful for those of you who sent us here with prayers, finances, and love. We hope you know that you really are making an eternal difference on these students' lives and ultimately the world as they walk what they believe when they return home. Much love to all of you from the Harwells!

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