Intern Life according to Lexi Lobdell

Intern Life according to Lexi Lobdell 
(City Camp Intern at City Union Mission)

There are a lot of presumptions about the city. Growing up in the good ol’ Johnson county, I heard about all of them. If you go there, you will get mugged. Homeless people are all dangerous druggies. Everything we need is in Overland park, why would we leave? My friends in high school would joke about getting shot whenever we played a school downtown. Spending as little time as possible there, trying to get back to the shiny bubble that we lived in.We would talk about G-d and how great he is, volunteer at a camp or a soup kitchen a couple times a year. I would get that #blessed feeling then return to the land of new cars and worrying about what outfit you’ll wear tomorrow. The bubble is nice, comfortable. I had everything I needed but never felt like I belonged.

Even through this bubble, I felt a pull towards the city. An extreme peace in knowing that God is there. And this is where he wants me. I had heard about the internship and had friends that had done it, but I wasn’t planning on doing it. My friends mom encouraged me to apply, and I just felt God’s hand through all of it. Just the way everything fell into place was amazing.

From my first day at the mission, I felt like I truly belonged. Here were people from Korea, Texas, Iowa- all around. Coming together to show God’s love to the students around the mission. This common goal fostered strong relationships. After a rough day I knew I was coming home to friends who were on the same boat. There was constantly someone there to encourage me, and point me back to Christ.

Sure there were hard situations. Living with 10 other girls is not easy. Having 80 kids in one building is not easy. You go back to your room tired and cranky and done with the world. But through the difficulty and weariness, God shines through. When you were 500% done dealing with one of the students, ready to throw in the towel and believing that there is no hope, they ask a question about Jesus. They apologize without being asked to. Little things that refocus your eyes on what God is doing through the program.

Living amongst the clients also gave me a perspective on what they go through. I developed several meaningful relationships with adults, who showed me how God changed their life and how the mission is helping them draw closer to him.

Each day a little bit of the prejudice chipped away. Instead of a statistic, I started seeing individuals with stories and who needed Jesus’ love. Sure the city can be dangerous. But I see it now as raw, bare and real. Showing not the shiny exterior that’s rotting underneath, but baring all its ugliness and secrets for all to see.  Within the ugliness that people focus on however, there is beauty. There is a God greater than us all working within individual’s lives. His love shining through for us to see, if we look.