Monday, November 17, 2014

My Time in Raleigh

by Nate Nielsen
Nate with his fiancee, Katie

"Did we tick him off by wasting all these ticks on this clock?
Or is he graciously giving me time to give him my heart?
I'm sure it’s the latter, sure that it matters
And I believe
I've been given all this time so that I can try and redeem it." - Timepiece, Lecrae

When I first arrived at Church of the Apostles, I honestly did not know quite what to expect. Conversations with Ashley Crutchfield, Curt Solomon, and Marion Dewar could only go so far as to describe what exactly I was jumping into. And here I am 3 years later on the threshold of another change to a new place, new people, and new experiences.

For those of you that do not know, I will be moving to Richmond in the spring to begin a new life as husband to the beautiful Katie Hemp. We will be at HOPE church where Katie is the Director of Middle School Ministries. It is altogether exciting, encouraging, and humbling. In turn, Curt hit me up to write something about my experience here at Apostles, and I could not turn it down. So here I am. These are some thoughts on what I have experienced during my time with the beloved people at Apostles.

1. The Fellows year is transforming beyond the Fellows year.
Raleigh. In all my time growing up I never thought I would end up in Raleigh (and still trying to understand this whole college basketball deal over here). Yet, God brought me into a community that facilitated growth a thousand times over during a time that I desperately needed it. After studying Biology in Grove City, I discovered the microscope on myself as a fellow - learning about my personality, how I work with others, and how all of it fits into my worldview. My focus was completely turned upside down as I learned how it felt like to ask for money, to serve my host family (God bless the Bergers!), and to work with others in a new environment. The relationships forged in that year I hope will last a lifetime even though there will be a little distance between us. This provided a foundation to which God built on the next couple years, in which I am still changing and learning what it means to be like Christ.

2. Student ministry serves as a catalyst for growth like I have never known.
Growing up, I did not go to youth group because I was always had something going on - whether it was swim practice, Boy Scouts, or just plain old homework. Being involved with the student ministry at Apostles allowed me to see how imperative and life changing that bit of time can have on a student. I've seen 6th graders grow now into freshmen in High School, and it is a critical period in which students establish their faith and live it out in their day to day lives. Middle School really opened my eyes to how great ministry can be: at one moment you are throwing cheese balls on a face covered with whipped cream, and the next moment I'm getting stumped by really great, thought provoking questions. It's insane. The students here have continuously challenged me to seek Christ more and live for his glory alone. I am continuously reminded of Paul's words to 1 Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity”.

4. Work does not define who you are.
I can still remember Ray Seigler conducting a seminar for my Fellows class, and him telling us that whenever he hears the question, "What do you do?" he responds (sometimes), "About what?" I share that sentiment and discover myself holding my tongue back whenever someone asks me that question....some of the time I ask it because I'm not sure how else to start a conversation - and I don't want to feel too awkward while talking with somebody.
As a kid, I wanted to be what any other kid living is Space City wanted to be: an astronaut. Now, knowing that that occupation is not the right fit, I have ventured and checked out other avenues. We talked about calling a lot in the Fellows, and I have to remind myself that whatever it is I do in this life, it will not be completed until I reach eternity with my Father in heaven - and oh my, how glorious that will be!

For the time being, I am here in Raleigh living out these moments that have been graciously given to me. I’m thankful to be a part of this body of believers that have impacted my life--impacted me beyond the thoughts that I had when I first considered coming into this community.

I will still be around Apostles the next couple months as wedding plans get ironed out and as Katie and I find a place in Richmond together. It will be a crazy transition, but a fun one and I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store in the next adventure.

With grace and peace,

No comments :

Post a Comment