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When I was sixteen years old, I prayed the scariest prayer and told God, “Here I am. Send me.” Little did I know all the things that prayer would bring. From joining the Army straight out of high school to preaching my first sermon and interning during a pandemic, I have been sent in all sorts of directions that I didn’t even know existed. After praying that prayer, I immediately felt a strong calling into ministry. I knew I was called to preach and work with youth. Since then, CBF and CBFVA have blessed me with countless opportunities to fulfill this call.

This summer was my second year as a CBF Student.Church intern. I had the honor of working with Tabernacle Baptist Church in Richmond, VA. My former youth pastor described this as a once in a lifetime opportunity that I needed to get involved with as soon as possible. She was so right. Despite the chaos of social distancing, the Tabernacle family still managed to welcome with open arms through their screens.

I worked with and alongside the youth and pastoral staff. I participated in weekly staff meetings and worship prep. I hosted Thursday game nights with our youth on Zoom. My last week with Tabernacle was spent participating in “Camp Corona” with our youth. Tabernacle really knows how to have fun, even with social distancing.

Tabernacle recently gave me what they like to call “Bread for the Journey.” It is their beautiful way of sending members of their church family onto their next adventure. This had me replaying the entire summer over in my head. This summer was not easy for anyone, but Tabernacle shaped my call and helped me learn more about who God wants me to be. Their congregation supported me wholeheartedly, without ever seeing me in person. Their youth, who are wise beyond their years touched my heart and often left me teary eyed. The staff gave me a platform to share my testimony and guided me through my walk with Christ in a time where I needed it most.

I’ve learned a lot this summer. I learned to meet people where they’re at and to love first. I was reminded of the importance of giving everyone a place at the table, even if we are six feet apart. This is what beloved community looks like. This is ministry.