Looking Back, Looking Forward

 QuadW Missional Internship Site Directors gathered in Kansas City Sept. 18-19

QuadW Missional Internship Site Directors gathered in Kansas City Sept. 18-19

For the last 10 summers we’ve been inviting young adults to get their hands on God’s mission in particular communities. And we’ve learned so much and seen so much. So much to celebrate - God’s goodness and mercy and life seen in the lives of our interns, in the lives of those we serve among, in the lives of our site directors and leaders!

And so we gathered in September, like we always do, to give thanks to God as we look back on the summer. And then, to look forward. To ask questions about how we can be more faithful? How can we invite even more college-age young adults into this experience? How can we better walk with our interns through out the 8 weeks? What about when the 8 weeks are over?

 We ate BBQ, too! Because… Kansas City!!

We ate BBQ, too! Because… Kansas City!!

In some ways we’ve accumulated a good bit of know-how over these 10 years. And yet each fall we want to put everything back on the table and listen - listen to how God is directing us through the stories of our summer.

And then we get back to work.

We’re so grateful for the chance to do what we do. To join God in more than 10 communities across the US, serving where service is needed most and helping churches to build bridges (back) into their communities.

So please, pray for us as we join God in this work… AND pray for those who will be called to serve as QuadW Missional Interns this coming summer!

If you know of someone who we should talk to about this opportunity or is ready to apply you can find the app here: https://quadwmi.org/application/

Or you can email us: tony@quadwmi.org

Intern Reflection - Anelys Deida, QuadW Reading, PA,

“I now see that the hands that forgive, console, heal, and offer a festive meal must become my own.” (Henri J.M. NouwenReturn of the Prodigal Son)

 Anelys on the chairs in the middle, along with fellow interns, painting a mural at the City Light Ministry where they served children from the Reading community

Anelys on the chairs in the middle, along with fellow interns, painting a mural at the City Light Ministry where they served children from the Reading community

Throughout this summer I have known a God who not only loves me, but who seeks me constantly and calls me to be more like Him every day. When we understand that God calls us to be more and more like Him we can also understand that our duty is to go out to meet those who need us. Just as that father waited to meet his prodigal son and ran to embrace and receive him once he returned, in that same way we must run with joy, enthusiasm and commitment to those who have been living far away from God’s love. This experience has taught me the magnitude of God's grace and mercy; grace and mercy that loves me every day and chooses me as His instrument to reach the needy, the marginalized, the poor and the rejected.

These eight weeks have taught me that this mission is not just QuadW's desire, but that it is based on God's desire for his children. God definitely wants his children to return home and I firmly believe that we are a key piece in God’s mission.

Our work in the world is vital for the Kingdom of heaven to become real on earth.

"I look upon the whole world as my parish" (John Wesley).

We must understand, without a doubt, that the most beautiful place to worship, preach, pray and serve given to us has been this world in which we live. This has been confirmed to me as I see the smiles of the children at City Light Ministry every time we say "Good morning," and has been evident to me as I am challenged with their questions regarding who God is and how they can get to know Him more. I have witnessed the need by seeing the cry of women in desperation striving to get out of their difficult situations while they seek for a greater meaning to life. I have understood that my work as a young Christian cannot remain locked in four walls or in a structure called “church” but rather, my work must be really shown with the people who so desperately need that encounter with the Father.

 The QuadW Reading Team outside City Light Ministry

The QuadW Reading Team outside City Light Ministry

Today, I can confidently say that I understand my call. I have been called to be those hands that forgive, love, comfort, heal and serve. I have been called to look more and more like my father and to serve without limits. Thanks to this internship my passion for missions has grown greatly. I know that everything I have is thanks to God and therefore, I want to use it only for him. I firmly believe that I’ll be able to use all my passions and knowledge to serve the Lord, for it was Him who loved me first and chose me before I chose Him. I have been blessed to be part of this internship  that has not only helped us to continue our studies, but has also taught and encouraged us to serve God in our professional fields. I am determined to make a difference in the field of medicine, to put my profession as a pharmacist in God’s hands and to serve all those who are in need.

"If God is compassionate, then certainly those who love God should be compassionate as well" (Henri JM Nouwen, Return of the Prodigal Son).

Without a doubt, QuadW is raising a generation of future professionals willing to work for the mission of God and be compassionate, just as our father is compassionate.

Questions We Spend Our Lives Answering - by Loren Pierce + Kathryn Kienholz

Whenever we can hear from our interns, that's the BEST! Giving them a transformative encounter with God's mission is our primary reason for existing.  The following comes from two of our QuadW Kansas City interns.  Check out their mid-summer reflection on what this experience is opening up in them so far... they're real good!! 

When Tony asked us to write about our experiences in Kansas City, he gave us three seemingly-simple questions to answer, each in three sentences:

What is the summer teaching you about God;

What is the summer teaching you about God’s mission and work in the world;

What is the summer teaching you about yourself and who you’re called to be?

We confidently sat down to write but quickly realized that our allotted three sentences would be far too few and that, perhaps, one question could not be answered without the others.

So instead of three neatly-condensed, well-organized responses, here are our thoughts that attempt to answer a question we’ll spend the rest of our lives contemplating:

How do I fit into God’s vision and mission?

Loren:  

During the first week, it quickly dawned on me that the QuadW internship is perfectly designed to take the world you thought you knew and turn it completely upside down. I applied for this internship wanting to stretch the limits of my comfort zone and embrace the unknown. I hoped that by the end of the summer I’d have this whole faith thing figured out. And while I learn every day to find comfort in the mystery and push the boundaries with myself a little bit, I’m unsure if I am any closer to figuring out all that God is. Four weeks in and I’m just now learning to lean into it.

To simplify it, I’m mostly learning about the real definition of community and mission.  

For a long time, I believed that God’s mission for the church is pretty simple: love your neighbors. However, I continue to discover there are so many facets to the gem that is God’s calling for His people. C.S. Lewis wrote, “To love at all is to be vulnerable.”

This means loving my neighbor requires openness-sharing the damaged parts of my heart. And the Bible empowers us to love as Jesus did, who humbled himself by “being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:7b). His example shows me that the greatest way I can love others is to admit that brokenness is the truest form of the human experience. Practicing vulnerability in this community reminds me that even when it seems hard, I’m not the only one broken here.

I also think in the past I learned to let this fear of vulnerability and awkward encounters deter me from the call to love others, and in turn I became complacent in my comfort zone.

I’m now learning that I can’t just wish for opportunities of mission to come to me; I am a missionary. 

This means if I want to love my neighbor as the Lord sent me, then I cannot wait for them to venture out and knock on my door. Instead, I need to joyfully and intentionally travel this neighborhood we call the world and be the opportunity knocking on the front door of my neighbors.

 Loren on the left, Kathryn on the right serving at the Snack Shack in KCK

Loren on the left, Kathryn on the right serving at the Snack Shack in KCK

If I operate under the assumption that God meets us where we are, at whatever point in our journeys, then aren’t I, too, called to meet others in this same way?

Our discussion of the Resurrection initially inspired the thought process which led me to this basic conclusion: our mission is not working to get to some mystical, fantasy after-life, but rather make Earth look a little bit more like Heaven. In the Presence of God. Right now.

So how does this apply to God’s mission in my life?

It means I still have work to do loving the people of this Earth, whoever it is and wherever I am. And it’s not something I feel like I should do. It is a strong conviction-something I must do.

And I am not finished.

Kathryn:

My understanding of heaven, of God’s dwelling place, of the Kingdom of God, of God’s vision is being completely redefined.

Like many, I grew up imagining heaven as a golden-gated neighborhood in the clouds where the spirits of believers would go when death separated them from their earthly bodies. After considering the writings of authors like NT Wright and studying scriptural references to heaven, my understanding of heaven is now closer to home; I believe heaven is not a far-away dreamland but a perfect reinvention of earth where our bodies will be resurrected to live in complete harmony with God.

This summer is transforming my vision of God from one who is simply observing and waiting in the sky to a God who is actively seeking, creating, and reforming God’s perfect creation.

With this new understanding of God, my identity and purpose is likewise being reinvented.

“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21

My primary identity in the church has typically been determined by the activities in which I’m involved, like “Sunday school teacher,” “church council representative,” or “worship leader.”

But by saying that I am sent as he was, Jesus gives me his own label: “missionary.”

I used to believe that missionaries only operated in far-away lands and was terrified to accept a call to missionary ministry.

Now, I’m learning that being sent by God is about a lifestyle choice, not a location change. I can still teach classes and serve on committees, but to truly live as Christ, my identity must be that of a missionary, sent by God to make earth a little more like heaven with love.

YCI Grant Announcement!

   

QuadW Missional Outreach receives $100,000 Young Clergy Initiative Grant for Skunkworks Project.

gbhemlogo.png

QuadW Missional Outreach is pleased to announce receipt of a $100,000 grant from the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. This grant will support the launch of the “QuadW Missional Residencies – A United Methodist Skunkworks” project. "Skunkworks" exist for the development of breakthrough innovations. Young adults chosen for this one-year United Methodist Skunkworks project will live and work together, receive extensive training and support, and will develop and lead new disciple-making movements. 

QuadW Logo with Website.png

The Young Clergy Initiative exists to increase the number of young clergy in the United Methodist Church. This project is specifically for young adults with an entrepreneurial spirit and a capacity to lead change. As noted in the grant proposal, this effort is “for young adults who may be called by God to serve as elders or deacons in the church but cannot fit into the narrow understanding of what those roles typically entail. They want to make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world but they don't see that happening on a large scale through the UMC, and they want to.” 

QuadW Missional Outreach is grateful for this generous award and excited to work with partnering churches and conferences, as well as United Methodist seminaries and colleges to launch these new efforts. Dallas, Winfield/Wichita, Montgomery, and Columbus (OH) are the projected sites to be launched in 2019 and 2020.

download.jpg

QuadW Missional Outreach receives its primary funding from the QuadW Foundation of Dallas, Texas. This foundation exists to honor the life of Willie Tichenor, who died of osteosarcoma at the age of nineteen. The work of the Foundation is guided by the question, What Would Willie Want? To learn more about the Foundation’s work, including its support of sarcoma research, please visit www.quadw.org. To learn more about the work of QuadW Missional Outreach please visit www.quadwmi.org or contact Don Woolley at don@quadwmi.org.

Intern Story - Cara Golden

Here Cara Golden shares a bit about the journey of faith that led her to QuadW mi and some of how she's anticipating God's ongoing work in her life.  Check it out!  

Like most, I started off having no clue what I was supposed to do with my life. I have loved the ocean since I was ten years old and loved science, particularly anything having to do with marine life and their delicate habitats. So, I settled on Marine Biology at first. I was going to “save the dolphins” and scuba dive and do lots of beneficial research. 

That was the goal when I started out at Auburn… seven years ago. It didn’t take long, however, for me to realize the emptiness of that aspiration. From nearly the beginning of starting down this path, I failed many of the classes I took, slipped like a fish into depression, and stayed there for a while.

  Cara Golden is a senior at Auburn University where she will graduate in December. She anticipates moving onto seminary in the fall of 2019. She will serve with our QuadW Riverton, WY team this summer

Cara Golden is a senior at Auburn University where she will graduate in December. She anticipates moving onto seminary in the fall of 2019. She will serve with our QuadW Riverton, WY team this summer

 But in this darkness God was forcing me to ask myself hard questions: At my core, who am I? What is the deepest desire of my heart? How can I satisfy that desire?  Rock bottom was where I came to terms with the breathtaking grace that is my answer to those questions, that is my calling, and that was my calling all along.  At my core, I am a child of God, indebted to His Son Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit. The deepest desire of my heart is to bring other people into this same awakening, to serve them and to proclaim to them what great love I have been shown, and to see them experience the same. 

Different people discover their calling in different ways, and it took me a long time to realize that is okay. After all, there was nothing wrong with my first dream—except that it wasn’t my dream. It wasn’t what I was meant to do. The only way that makes sense for me right now in fulfilling the deepest desire of my heart is becoming a missionary and serving among the native and indigenous people groups of our world. As a Christian and as a person who has a deep respect and admiration for culture, I have a passion to represent the Gospel in a way that maintains their rich cultural history, that it might be thus more impactful and relevant. For me, there is no better place to serve than among those from whom we have so much to learn.

This summer with QuadWmi at Riverton will be my first opportunity to really begin to live into this mission. I am eager to learn in a practical way some of the intricacies of serving among native peoples, such as the protocols of service and the challenges that they face. Further, I look forward to learning of the unique cultures of the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes, discovering the exclusive opportunities and challenges the Christian missionary faces in relationships with native groups, and building foundational relationships with their people. All in all, I eagerly anticipate this summer as one that will ignite this next stage of my journey and burn in me an even deeper passion for native and indigenous peoples.

I will, no doubt, look back on my time in Riverton as one when I first began to concretely grasp the meaning of Paul’s words in I Corinthians 9:22-23  -  “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some…for the sake of the gospel.”

Priming the Pump

IMG_4686.jpeg

While plans are being made at our 12 sites across the country for a summer of deep missional engagement and real Christian community our Columbus, OH leadership gathered up a  group of former and future QuadW Interns to serve in Mexico over spring break.  

Form Intern, Josh Shu shares about the experience here... 

During spring break for The Ohio State University (3/11/18 - 3/18/18), a crew of former Quad W interns from Global Community Church, along with new college students and youth, journeyed together to the Texas/Mexico border to see how God is moving in the area. The team hopped in the church van and drove 21 hours from Columbus, OH to Piedras Negras, Mexico.

They arrived just in time to join Templo San Pablo Methodist Church for Sunday worship. The worship style was fresh and each member was energized by the Holy Spirit. Being in a new place with a new language encouraged the team to be attentive and open to the Holy Spirit. The team experienced a wide array of breathtaking “God-moments.” 

The team was introduced to a local orphanage called Casa De Misericordia (House of Mercy), and friendships were built with the youth there, as if God had prepared us and each child for our brief but sweet time of fellowship. God pressed on our hearts how much He loves the youth and how much He delights in them. Time was also spent at a special needs orphanage called La Casa Bethesda. Although communication was limited, the team was reminded of the way that God looks at the heart, and of the type of simple faith that He
desires. 

IMG_4688.jpeg

Some of the most memorable times were spent at the local park, where the team played flag football with the youth. They were excited to meet our team made of those from Korean, Nigerian, Congolese, and American backgrounds. It was inspiring to see God move through our fellowship time together in which we shared the good news and times of laughter and competition with them.

As a whole, during times of passionate prayer with local believers, playing sports with the local community, and powerful street outreach, the team sensed that God is moving with the local church, and that He has tremendous plans for the nation of Mexico!

Intern Story - Breanna Noland, QuadW mi, Opelika Summer 2017

 Breanna Noland is a junior at Lee University in Cleveland, TN studying elementary education

Breanna Noland is a junior at Lee University in Cleveland, TN studying elementary education

QuadW summer of 2017 -  What an experience!

Some days I wanted to throw in the towel and take my happy self right on back home. Other days were so full of joy and love for what I was doing I didn't want to leave. This past summer opened my eyes to the Pharisee that was within me. I would always invite others to church and tell them out much I loved being in the house of God, but I never brought the Gospel straight to them. I was wanting them to come and meet me where I was at, sitting in the front row where I was comfortable. I did not think to come out of my comfort zone to embrace them right where they were at or to step into their comfort zone and sacrifice my own desires to love like Jesus loves.

God pulled me out of my comfy church pew and led me into a place of experiencing and witnessing the hurt others were going through. I already knew that Jesus had placed a soft spot for the broken in my heart. He has placed a desire and passion inside my soul to reach out and serve in the places that may not always be easy or convenient at the time. To love on orphans and help bring people who feel like they are too little, too broken or feel as if they have made too many mistakes in to a place where they know they are more than enough, healed through Jesus and to know that their past or performance does not define them, but the love that Jesus demonstrated on the cross is what defines them. 

When I pray about being the tangible demonstration of the love of God, I reflect back to my summer with QuadW every time. The church is not a building but a body of believers who go out and are the hands and feet of Jesus. A church without walls. Loving the unlovable and bringing hope to the hopeless. I am forever grateful for the opportunity QuadW gave me and the lessons I've carried in my heart since. 

Thank God for QuadW! 

United Methodist News Helps Us Tell the Story

We're grateful for Sam Hodges' work with the United Methodist News in helping us to share the story not only of the very generous grant, but of the vision and mission that drives everything  QuadW Missional Internship seeks to do! 

Please check out the story and share it with others.  You can find it here:

Big Grant for Missional Internships

 Quadw Missional Internship site directors meet with members of the quadw Foundation board at this years' annual site directors' meeting in dallas, Tx.  The quadw Foundation is the very generous foundation that makes possible the work of the internship - including most recently the grant of $2.6 million over the next five years! We're SO grateful!! 

Quadw Missional Internship site directors meet with members of the quadw Foundation board at this years' annual site directors' meeting in dallas, Tx.  The quadw Foundation is the very generous foundation that makes possible the work of the internship - including most recently the grant of $2.6 million over the next five years! We're SO grateful!! 

QuadW Missional Outreach Receives $2.6 Million Grant!

Hey Everyone!  We have some pretty exciting news!!  We will share more in the coming weeks about what this means for our work over the next five years, but we are excited to share this press release from Board President, Rev. Jean Tippit. Thank you QuadW Foundation!

The QuadW Foundation of Dallas, TX has awarded up to $2,600,000 for the expansion of QuadW Missional Internship and Residency programs, as well as the launching of new initiatives. The QuadW Missional Internship program (formerly "3.0") began in Mobile, AL in 2009. In 2013, the QuadW Foundation of Dallas provided the opportunity to expand the program on a national level. Since then, the program has grown to include ten Internship sites coast to coast, as well as a new long-term Residency program in Kansas City. 
The QuadW (WWWW) Foundation was established to honor the life of Willie Tichenor. Answering the question of "What Would Willie Want?" the Foundation pursues innovation in sarcoma research, higher education, and transforming mission experiences. Johnny Peters, Director of the University of South Alabama Wesley Foundation, was one of Willie's youth pastors and a close friend. Johnny connected the idea for the internship program with the goals of the QuadW Foundation, giving birth to what became the QuadW Missional Internship program. 
National Director, Don Woolley, and the QuadW Outreach Board are deeply grateful for the continued, generous support of the QuadW Foundation. For more information about the QuadW Foundation, see www.quadw.org. For more information about the QuadW Missional Internship program, see www.quadwmi.org.
Rev. Jean Tippit, Board President, QuadW Missional Outreach
 Some of the QuadW Foundation board members at a Sarcoma research meeting

Some of the QuadW Foundation board members at a Sarcoma research meeting

Former Intern Reflection - by: Rocky Shack

QuadW Missional Internship gave me a hands-on opportunity at a key developmental moment in my life. I had been serving as a campus minister through the Ole Miss Wesley Foundation, when Jean Tippitt offered our students and me the opportunity to serve communities in Mobile, AL.

I remember meeting Don Woolley (National Director of QuadW mi) and others who were all-in on reaching the unreached and serving the vulnerable in Mobile, Whistler and Pritchard. This was a defining moment for me because I was just accepted to attend Asbury Theological Seminary where Don is an alumnus and Jean was completing her coursework.

From the QuadW mi experience, I knew that I would be serving young people and the refugee community. From that summer of building relationships there are several young people from Whistler, outside of Mobile, with whom I am still FaceBook friends and check up on from time to time.

I knew serving others would be a core component of the internship, but I did NOT expect to be taught about Christology, missiology and ecclesiology—subjects that would later become very important for me in seminary. I will never forget that Christology (who Jesus is, what we believe about Jesus) should give us our missiology (our sense of what God's mission - therefore, our mission!), and the mission of God should determine what the Church looks like (our ecclesiology).

All these years later, I still try to keep that principle in the forefront of my mind, when I am serving the world. I think that QuadW mi helped me to unearth some things that I did not know were there within me.

I am proud to be a QuadW mi alumnus! 

 Rocky Shack is currently in his last year of a Master of Divinity at Asbury Seminary and serving as the Young Adults and Community Minister at Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson, MS.

Rocky Shack is currently in his last year of a Master of Divinity at Asbury Seminary and serving as the Young Adults and Community Minister at Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson, MS.

Intern Story - Amanda Kitz, QuadW mi Portland

 Amanda Kitz shows off a mural the interns painted! She just graduated from George Fox University with a degree in elementary education and Christian ministries.  She served the past two summers in Portland.  We're so grateful for her... and God's work in and through her!

Amanda Kitz shows off a mural the interns painted! She just graduated from George Fox University with a degree in elementary education and Christian ministries.  She served the past two summers in Portland.  We're so grateful for her... and God's work in and through her!

When I first heard about the QuadW Missional Internship, I Google-searched the key words ‘education’, ‘ministry’, ‘internship’, and ‘Portland, OR’. At the time, it seemed a little desperate. I wanted to have a meaningful experience and be engaged in ministry, but I mostly wanted a place to be for the summer that wasn’t my parents’ house. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I put in my application and interviewed for the Portland site and soon I was on a train, never having been to a Methodist church, never having been to Gresham, and never having met in person anyone I was about to be working with for the next 8 weeks.

And so the adventure began.

During those first couple weeks, I realized that whatever I was running from was not nearly as pressing as what I was running toward.

I started to lean into community in ways I hadn’t before. I came from a church background where I was told I didn’t belong and that God was disappointed in me, and in Gresham UMC I found a community of people with open arms and open hearts who drew me nearer to the heart of God and the body of Christ.

I began the internship afraid of engaging with the other interns, but, when I was brave enough to open up, I found deep wells of friendship and we still keep in touch.

Our Spiritual Reflection Fridays with Jessie and Garrett helped us explore the beautiful Northwest as well as our own spirituality. My 4th and 5th graders in the summer school, the kiddos I taught to paint at the art and reading program, the lovely folks from the church who hosted us for meals, working with our friends living outside in Portland, random adventures in Portland with the interns and so many other things we did showed me the fingerprints of God on this city. I started out looking for something, anything to do for the summer and ended up tripping and falling into the abundance of God in the rich experience of working with these folks for the summer.

So, naturally, I came back. I was asked to come back as an RA and to work on the summer school curriculum, and getting to be a part of the lives of not only another group of kids at the summer school but also a new group of interns was an honor and a challenge and a pleasure. LaVerne and Steve were so good to me as we prepared for the interns to arrive, and when everyone was finally here, we embarked on an adventure all our own with new personalities, joys and struggles.

We planted tomatoes in a community garden, we wrestled with our own faiths, we painted murals, we jammed on drums and ukuleles, we hiked out to waterfalls and we taught children the reading and math skills they need to succeed in school. We learned our limits and we learned our strength.

To me, this is what this internship is about. It’s about the struggle. It’s about looking inside yourself but it’s also about leaning into community. It’s about being brave. It’s about “paying attention and being intentional”. It’s about running toward something and tripping and falling into the reality that God is “beholding you and smiling”. It’s about laughing and crying and being ‘with’. It’s about feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, and bringing the peace and justice that is the Shalom of God through even something as simple as multiplication facts cards or making burritos.

It’s about leaning in. And I am so glad I did.

2017 Site Directors Gathering | Dallas, TX

 QuadW mi site directors and members of the QuadW Foundation gathered for dinner Thursday night, September 21, at the home of Mac and Lisa Tichenor.  

QuadW mi site directors and members of the QuadW Foundation gathered for dinner Thursday night, September 21, at the home of Mac and Lisa Tichenor.  

This is the third QuadW Missional Internship site directors gathering.  And for the second year in a row we met in Dallas, TX.  Each year we gather to share stories of God's faithfulness, to work through challenges, to look ahead to what's next.  And bit by bit we find that this shared mission links us up to sisters and brothers we didn't know we had.  Relationships grow deeper, year after year... and we keep adding new people to the team.  

And this year we wanted to do what we could to not just get our work done, but to invest in and say "thank you" to our site directors... ALL of whom have other things that they do to make their living.  This is just something they do because of their sense of calling and the joy they find in walking w/ young adults into God's mission in the world.  

So, this year, we brought in a couple of people to share with us over the two days.  Tim Catchim came on Thursday to share about the Enneagram and Amber Benson, professor at SMU to share about how to connect with, support, challenge and engage Generation Z (our interns for the next several years).  These presentations and the conversation that ensured were rich and insightful in a way that had obvious and direct connection to our common work w/ QuadW mi... but beyond that, we learned a lot about ourselves and who God made us to be.  For many of us, in the conversation about Gen Z we were learning about our children and many we know and love and serve along side of in a variety of ministry contexts.  

In addition to seeing familiar faces once again, we were so happy to welcomed Chessie Lee (Riverton, WY) and Tiwirayi and Adlene  Kufarimai (Birmingham and Anniston, AL) to the team.  They will be launching our 3 new sites in summer 2018.  They jumped right in and by the end of our time together were clearly a part of the QuadW mi family!  

And (as pictured above) we enjoyed time with several of the QuadW Foundation Board Members for dinner at Mac and Lisa Tichenor's home.  The QuadW Missional Internship would not exist without the Foundations vision and generosity.  Time spent with them is always a gift, and as I said above, it allows us to see the way that we've been made a part of a family that is bigger and more expansive and more beautiful than we could have thought.  

We are grateful to God for this time spent together!  

Intern Spotlight - Tanaka Pfupajena

When l first signed up for QuadW, l had just come from an overseas mission trip that would shift my sense of mission and who God is among the people. After this mission trip, l was so excited to live the missional-intentional  life in my classroom, at work and in everything. However, it wasn’t before long, that l shrunk back to the norm, going to class and work, with little to no regard for God’s work among the people. I found myself asking, what does it even look like to be missional daily, and not just overseas. I looked up opportunities where l could learn this form of life. This is when QuadW entered the picture.

Instead of going overseas again, l signed up for QuadW that summer (2014) because l wanted to learn what it looks like to be as missional as l was overseas, here in the states. (QuadW also offered a living stipend which meant l didn’t have to worry about the funds for this mission).

Doing missions with QuadW, l quickly found out that God’s mission in the world does not look as neat as l had thought it out to be. In fact, QuadW has taught me that being sent to people and with people is usually, and l am beginning to believe it’s by design, messy. QuadW challenges however, that instead of looking for the neat and well cut out, God invites us to be involved in the messy every day.

"... instead of looking for the neat and well cut out, God invites us to be involved in the messy every day."

Mission in America differs from most overseas mission trips in that America is probably the most culturally and racially diverse place in the world. In this, you find that the needs look radically different from person to person. QuadW has allowed me to experience being sent out to different people groups. In my three years, l have been able to work intensively with African American, Hispanics and white people. This, l believe has prepared me to live more intentionally in this diverse culture.

Having a passion for missions, while holding a couple of degrees in Biochemistry, I had always struggled with regarding the former as holier than the latter. Experience with QuadW, especially the Friday experiences where we explored different on going ministries has allowed me to see that God’s mission is, as Os Guinness says, for everyone, everywhere and in everything. So while missions and lab work remained distinct, now l see that God is intimately involved in the whole thing.

In light of all these experiences, l believe QuadW has been a vehicle God has used for me to realize God’s calling in this life. I am currently working on seminary school applications, with the intention of becoming a better equipped missionary and church planter, and hopefully while l am at it, l will be able to plant a church in a laboratory while researching on drug discovery and cures for diseases that plague our world. 

 Tanaka Pfupajena (the "P" is silent) currently lives in Dallas, TX.  He is a graduate of Eastern New Mexico University (bachelor and master degrees!)  He has served as a QuadW interns 3 times - Montgomery AL in 2014, Opelika AL in 2016 (where he was the RA) and this last summer as a part of the Dallas team.  

Tanaka Pfupajena (the "P" is silent) currently lives in Dallas, TX.  He is a graduate of Eastern New Mexico University (bachelor and master degrees!)  He has served as a QuadW interns 3 times - Montgomery AL in 2014, Opelika AL in 2016 (where he was the RA) and this last summer as a part of the Dallas team.  

Jakaela's Journey

We asked former QuadW intern and multi-year site director, Jakaela Davis, to share a bit about her journey and the ways God has used QuadW mi to be a part of that.  You can keep up with her on her new blog... www.jakaela.wordpress.com

But for now check this out... 

 Jakaela Davis is beginning work on her Masters of Divinity at Duke this fall and is pursuing a call toward ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church.  

Jakaela Davis is beginning work on her Masters of Divinity at Duke this fall and is pursuing a call toward ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church.  

Tell me how many summers you've been a part of QuadW and where and in what role/capacity? 

So I have been a part of the QuadW Missional Internship for 5 years and each year has been simply amazing. The first two years I was in Mobile as an intern and the second year I returned as an RA. My third year I helped start up the site in Portland as the RA. Last summer and this past summer I was the Site Director in Dallas, TX.

In all that you've done and experienced through QuadW what would you say is the biggest/most important thing you've learned? 

The biggest and most important thing that I have learned throughout my years working with QuadW is that, no matter what, you have to be vulnerable and open to the idea that sometimes you will be uncomfortable... and that's okay. I have learned that being transparent is also big component to the work that I am doing through QuadW. Transparency is one of those words that causes us to cringe but its also a word that causes me to reflect upon my journey and I ask myself how have I been true and honest with myself and with those around me.

Year two in Dallas just wrapped up - How did it build upon year one's work and team?  How did it feel like something completely new and different from last year?  What was most exciting about this summer?  What was the most challenging piece of the summer for the Dallas team?

Year 2 in Dallas went great and I am excited about what God has in store in Dallas for the future. Last year in Dallas went well and I believe it was only the beginning. This year in Dallas, you can definitely tell that the foundation that was laid last year was a solid one filled with a rich love that was developed throughout the summers. One of the best things that has happened this past summer is that the day camp kids' parents volunteered for our meals because they wanted to give something back to us out of the kindness of their hearts.

This group of interns continued to build upon the relationships that were made and though we only had two returners, the kids immediately loved on the new and returning interns.

One thing that was challenging for me was that the interns did a great job teaching the different classes for the day camp, but when it came to living in community things got a little hard. We came together for dinners, group discussions, and weekly Friday experiences, but beyond those moments people were a little distant. Living in Christian community can be difficult, but I believe it be done.

In what ways has QuadW been a part of your discerning God's call to ministry and leading you to be a student at Duke Divinity this fall?

QuadW has helped me discern my call into ministry in so many ways. It was actually during my first summer as a Site Director in Dallas, I was laying down in my bed and the thought came of "what if I am called into ministry?" and I immediately answered with a "okay God I hear you and I am ready". I knew that God had called me into ministry but I was ignoring my call because I honestly didn't believe that I could be called. Throughout my years in Quad W, Tuskegee Wesley Foundation (as a student leader), Auburn Wesley Foundation (as an intern), and just years within the United Methodist Church, I have had years of confirmation and affirmation from various people. I am so excited to be a certified candidate within the UMC, as well as a first year div student.

Coming out of another summer of QuadW Dallas and now on the campus of Duke - what is God teaching you most about right now?

First of all being here at Duke is simply a wild dream coming to reality, I pinch myself every morning lol. In all honesty, being here in the now, God is teaching me to "Be still and know that he is God", truthfully God is teaching me to just "BE". To stop worrying about the when and how, but to simply just BE in the NOW.

Now What?

Today our last two QuadW mi sites wrap up - Portland and Riverside.  And just like that nearly 80 young adults walk out of an intense 8 week summer experience in which they were challenged at every turn: pushed beyond their level of comfort and understanding, sharing life w/ other interns from different backgrounds and life experience, investing deeply in mission contexts that put them in relationship w/ people they may otherwise never have had the chance to know, learn from, love.  To ask questions about who they are, who God has made them to be, what God is calling them to do, how are they sent.  

 Last day of camp for the 2017 QuadW mi Elkhart team

Last day of camp for the 2017 QuadW mi Elkhart team

And now, even before they have had a chance to really work through and process all that they have seen and felt and experience of God and themselves and others, they are headed back to their college campuses, home churches, families, etc.  

And it will be a transition, to say the least.  

So now our work is to support them and keep in touch w/ them, to help them to figure out what's next.  To help them as their prayer is, "Now what?"  So we ask you to join us in praying for our interns... especially if you know some of them.  Pray for them that they would feel sent by God to the place where they are now/will be this fall semester.  Pray that they'll find or start christian community there that they can be on mission w/ in that place.  Pray that they'll find ways of continuing to reflect on and work out the things that God stirred up in them over the summer.  Pray that they'll be gracious w/ themselves when it doesn't go like they hoped or expected, when it is harder than they thought, when the patterns of life that they knew before are stronger than they are.  Pray for courage to do the hard things, to take the next steps, to say "yes" to what they sense God calling them to do/be now.  

Thanks!    

Young Clergy Initiative Grant Awarded to the QuadW Missional Internship!

Our National Director, Don Woolley, works hard to champion the mission of QuadW and to find good partners and resources for that mission. And so we're very happy to be able to share this with you...

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry has awarded the QuadW Missional Internship a $60,000 "Young Clergy Initiative" grant. This grant will launch partnerships in Conferences not already served by QuadW Missional interns. Plans are developing to launch three new sites in 2018--two in the North Alabama Conference and one on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. The QuadW Missional Internship is grateful to the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry for this opportunity, and looks forward to helping young adults listen for, discern, and respond to God's calling to ordained ministry!  

https://www.gbhem.org/article/higher-education-and-ministry-announces-2017-yci-grant-recipients

 QuadW Columbus interns circle for prayer w/ others in the community 

QuadW Columbus interns circle for prayer w/ others in the community 

The Enneagram + Christian Community

Today's post comes from Josh Shepherd - site director of QuadW Kansas City.  Josh and his wife, Tricia live in the KC Mission House w/ the QuadW interns as well as those who live there on a more long-term basis.  You can find out more about the KC Mission House HERE.  In today's post Josh shares about an ancient tool called the Enneagram and how they make use of it to help open up to God's transforming work in themselves and to live generously and gracefully with one another.  We are so grateful who Josh is and for the work he is engaged in, in KC.  Enjoy! 

Here at Mission House in Kansas City, Kansas, we live in permanent Christian community. Our work with QuadW means we also have a steady influx of short-term guests. These guests — sometimes also called “interns” — come from diverse backgrounds. I’d be hard-pressed to name a demographic we haven’t had the honor of sharing life with. What they all have in common, though, is a professed desire for formation in the missionary ways of Christ and His people.

This is a broad goal, and we are constantly tweaking not only the resources we use, but even the categories of skills and capacities we are seeking to develop. One of the constants from the beginning, though, has been the facilitation of a greater understanding of both one’s self and one’s neighbors. One of the most helpful tools towards this end has been the Enneagram. 

Doing the Enneagram in community is an inherently vulnerable experience because it seeks to point out the often-hidden motivations behind our false self, what the Christian tradition simply calls “sin”. Based on the idea that all sin emerges from three fundamental distortions — anger, shame, and fear — Enneagram breaks these down into 9 root sins and assigns a number type one through nine (with additional nuance that I will not get into here for the sake of brevity). These root sins are: anger, pride, deceit, envy, greed, fear, gluttony, lust, and laziness. While we are all affected by each of these sins, the Enneagram is based on the notion that we each face a particular stronghold in one of the nine areas. This stronghold is the particular area of sin that constantly seems to plague us, is resistant to breakthrough despite much effort, and is our secret motivation behind much of what we do — even when we think we are doing good.

But the Enneagram is not just about revelation. It is also about transformation. This dynamic aspect of the Enneagram is what makes it different from most other typologies. It is not just self-awareness we are after, but a pathway to growth. Each Enneagram type contains both arrows of growth/integration and arrows of regression/disintegration. These arrows help us know which types to learn from and imitate on our way to transcending our current strongholds, as well as which directions we tend to go when we are at our worst.

We ask our long-term participants and guests to go deeper than simply seeking to understand their own types. We want everyone to have a grasp of the entire system in order to better understand the people around them. The reason for this is that we are often frankly too judgmental and dismissive of others when we don’t take time to understand the possible underlying reasons or personal values that motivate them to do what they do. Understanding goes a long way towards the creation of community, and it is very hard to be dismissive of the false self next to you when your own false self is being revealed in the process.

Of course, there are possible dangers. For one, we don’t do this for purposes of condemnation or shame at all. Sufficient Gospel groundwork should be in place, and reminders of the all-encompassing grace of God are important for even experienced Christians. But this is not a grace that leaves us where we are. God’s grace fuels transformation, and the Enneagram is simply a tool we can choose to use to uncover areas where this transformative grace is needed.

Another caution is that some younger adults are still very early in the process of understanding their identities at all. When I look back on all the masks and disguises of my late teens and early 20s, I see how difficult it would have been to deal with my false self when I had so little clue as to my real self. Once I saw sin as a stain on my sure identity in Christ, I was freer to deal with my own hidden motivations without being completely confused and lost as to who I am. Practically, we use other typologies (such as Myers-Briggs) that are more about what we are good at and what our preferences are. When used in conjunction with gift-based typologies, the Enneagram helps give a fuller picture of all the good, the bad, and the ugly that comprises our human personality both in light of the inherent goodness of creation as well as the devastating disruption of the fall. 

Lastly, mature Christians will understand that a typology is simply a tool and in no way describes the sum total of who any of us is. That said, younger Christians are rightly concerned about being labeled and “put into boxes”. I take time to clarify the reasonable limitations of typologies, and keep a fairly open-handed posture about what we are hoping to accomplish with any typology we use. If someone still has serious reservations about the Enneagram, I wouldn’t see any point in pushing it on them. That’s yet to occur, but I have had to be careful about not making young adults feel as though any typology is deterministic or fatalistic about who they are or who they are becoming. The good news is that the Enneagram is one tool clearly designed to help us grow into a fuller humanity in Christ, rather than simply leaving us where we are.

 

 

Internship Essentials - Liminality

All our sites are under way!  

 QuadW Missional Interns in Opelika at welcome dinner on their behalf as they begin their summer of living and serving together

QuadW Missional Interns in Opelika at welcome dinner on their behalf as they begin their summer of living and serving together

One of the things that happens to each team as they begin to get to know one another and jump into the opportunities set before them to get know and serve among those in need is that our interns find themselves placed in situations that are a stretch to them, uncomfortable to them, new to them.  Sometimes this has as its focus the ministry sites, sometimes it centers around the experience of living w/ a handful of other people from various backgrounds... Sometimes its BOTH of those things at once!  

But this experience of being pulled outside our depth is essential to what we hope for each of our QuadW Missional Interns.  We call it liminality.  When we are moved out of what we have known and where we are comfortable and where we feel like we know how it all works and begin to venture into something new and different... that space is liminal space.  And we think that it is THE context that God uses, again and again, to call forth new faith, hope and love in us.

The image that the word liminal evokes is one of moving from one room or space, through a door way into another, new and further room or space... its moving from what has been into what will be, from who you have been to who you will be.  And while it hopefully stirs in you a sense of hope and excitement for what may be, it will for sure feel disorienting and like those growing pains you had when you were 12 years old.  

We want each of our interns to know that this is an essential part of following the way of Jesus... not just once... but again and again in our lives.  And the eight weeks of the internship works as a kind of catalyst to opening us up to this part of life w/ Jesus.  If that can happen in the lives of each intern, we are very grateful and feel they will move on from QuadW mi w/ eyes and ears and hearts all the more attuned to how God is at work in and around them, how they are called and sent to be a part of God's work of making all things new!  

 

Summer 2017 is HERE!

Our Pine Bluff site is off and running.  Elkhart starts today, a few others will be rolling by the end of the week and then by the end of the first full week in June we'll have around 80 young adults living and serving in 10 communities across the US.  

Please join us in praying for the intern teams as they come together... that  they would be one w/ Christ, one w/ each other, and one in mission and ministry in and among their communities and neighbors.  

 Pine Bluff QuadW mi 2017 Team - Getting started w/ a weekend away for team building and sharing w/ one another as they begin a summer of living and serving!  Thankful for Pastor Natasha's leadership and deep investment!! 

Pine Bluff QuadW mi 2017 Team - Getting started w/ a weekend away for team building and sharing w/ one another as they begin a summer of living and serving!  Thankful for Pastor Natasha's leadership and deep investment!! 

Intern Interview - Braxton Bush

We'll have a new edition of the QuadW mi Newsletter rolling out in just a few days!  In the meantime here's an interview conversation Tony had w/ QuadW mi Dallas Intern - Braxton Bush.  Check it out... 

 Braxton Bush is 22 years old and a Senior at Tuskegee University studying Psychology.  He served in QuadW Dallas last summer and will be returning to serve there again this summer.  We’re grateful for Braxton’s leadership and passion to serve… and that he took time to do this interview with Tony!  

Braxton Bush is 22 years old and a Senior at Tuskegee University studying Psychology.  He served in QuadW Dallas last summer and will be returning to serve there again this summer.  We’re grateful for Braxton’s leadership and passion to serve… and that he took time to do this interview with Tony!  

T: Share a story of an interaction or conversation that has stuck with you. 

B: Getting to know the kids over the summer, I gave them nick-names based on the best parts of their character and the potential I saw in them.  I wanted to help them to see that in themselves and to know how God saw them and loved them.  Seeing the way this made them so happy - this really sticks with me, how I can make a difference.   

T: What would you say was the hardest but most rewarding part of the QuadW mi experience?  

B: Coming together and living together with interns from all over with different backgrounds and experiences and having to learn how to let the mission and gaol of sharing God’s love with the kids.  That was challenging, but really powerful to get to see how we could come together.   

T: During the summer that you were together we witnessed the shooting of several African American men across the country and the shooting of police officers right there in Dallas.  What was it like for you to experience that together as an intern team? 

B: For me personally - as an African American, and as a human being, it was something where I felt like, even though I wasn’t there for the civil rights movement, it was like we continue to experience the strife of that and I feel how important it is for me and for all of us. 

T: How has QuadW mi helped to shape your understanding of what it means to be the church or to be a Christian? 

B: It’s about going out, discipling people where they are.  We ARE the church!  We have to build the bridge to the community.  I think I just saw how big that is for so many churches - to remember that!  The church is the people who go out, not the building.   

T: What is something you took with you from your summer with QuadW mi? 

B: A spirit of humbleness.  To learn not to judge a book by its cover, not to judge too quickly just when a situation doesn’t look like you thought it would.  Don’t doubt God just cause something is different than you thought it would be.  Look for God’s purpose right there.  Look for God’s meaning in it.  And this helps you to be able to live and enjoy life now and the people God puts around you.  

T: How has the QuadW mi helped you with your sense of calling?  

B: I’ve been doing youth ministry for about 6 years now.  Through the summer I gained more passion and energy for sharing the gospel and for wanting to be in people’s lives to make a difference.  Once this summer I was given the chance to preach in front of the Spanish speaking congregation there in Dallas.  I don’t speak Spanish, so I was nervous about how people would receive the message, receive the words God had given me.  But afterwards this guy, I’d say he was in his 50’s, came up to me and told me that he was really grateful for the word and that when he grew up he wanted to be like me.  And that just blew me away.  Here’s this guy twice my age and he saw in me wisdom and maturity that he wanted. And so I think for me its really about getting beyond my place of comfort and letting God keep doing work in new areas of my life.