As many of you know, we have a group of ARISE graduates that are part of a yearlong internship program. They are actively engaged in frontline ministry. They are serving in local churches, giving Bible studies in the community, conducting training for the laity, organizing small groups, visiting backsliders, integrating into the overall life of local churches, and targeting the University of Oregon with outreach ministries. Last week one of our interns sent a heartfelt letter to the staff that was a source of encouragement. We’d like to share it with you, to spread our praises to God for what He is doing in the lives of the people around us.
Dear Light Bearers guys,
Since the first time I heard about the Cornerstone program, I knew I needed to experience it, and I also knew I would love it. Once I got past the financial doubts and sorted out the uncertainties about my future, I knew my impression to attend ARISE was of God. I was sure the program would alter my life in some way. Now, already a year later, I can tell you it has altered my life immensely. God has used every element of it to grow me into who I am today and who I will continue to be tomorrow. That’s how significant a role you’ve played in my life, the role of showing me Jesus and converting me to His way.
The first time I heard about the idea of an internship, I thought it was too good to be true and almost didn’t even consider it. But when I learned that it was in fact happening, I began considering and praying and seeking guidance. It wasn’t just a small decision I had to make. My plans thus far had been to learn more and grow through the Cornerstone program before attending college for three years in pursuit of a theology degree. I had to weigh what was important to me. To stay on for an extra year as an intern would mean putting off my pursuit of a degree and my parents’ dreams of their only son “making it in the world,” not to mention the long distance between me and my family who have always been my lifeline and support. But to stay also meant a growth spurt in my Christian walk.
I wanted to be equipped with something that I could potentially use for the glory of God
After getting to know the teachers and staff, I was confident they would lead me on the right path and that I would learn much more about discipleship, the Christian experience, and independent study than in any college course. I decided that I wanted to be equipped with something that I could potentially use for the glory of God instead of being equipped with a degree that would label me as “safe” and “Christlike” when that may not be what is behind the label. I knew it would be a challenge, and it has been even more than I imagined. But it’s been well worth it. I treasure the period of time I’ve served with you all and I would not trade it for a degree or even a year with my family. It holds eternal value and positive steps toward God that can’t be replaced, and I thank you for that.