Luke Brouwer finished his internship last month, but living locally he continues to devote his days to the students twice a week. Below Luke shares excerpts from his daily journal log kept during his internship.
Journal - Day 144, Saturday: I am sure glad that we serve an infinite God, because I am so bad at encouraging and comforting, but He keeps strengthening me and empowering me to keep plugging away.
Journal - Day 161, Tuesday: One of the students ran out and I went after her, and she asked me why I even tried anymore, because this was like the eighth time I tried to cheer her up when she was hurting, and obviously “she was a hopeless case”. And I said it was because I believe that everyone needs someone who will never give up on them.
Journal - Day 200, Saturday: Well here we are. 200 days of not quitting. 200 days of never giving up. 150 days past the point where I thought it humanly impossible to continue. Also, God gave me the privilege of being the vessel that was used so He could work magic in a student’s life. I was just there, and got to see Him work.
Just a couple of months into my internship, one of our students chose to leave the program voluntarily. After his departure I struggled for months with grief and sorrow, a pain I was unfamiliar and uncomfortable with. I began to withdraw and struggled to engage fully in relationships with the students and others at the Ranch. I didn’t know what God expected of me and was unsure if I wanted to continue my internship past three months.
After much wrestling, I decided to recommit for three more months until graduation. In those three months I saw God move in amazing ways in my heart, life, and the lives of the students. He began to show me that my pain had a purpose. I experienced God’s patience and heart towards me. He didn’t expect me to fix myself, He wasn’t in a hurry, and He loved me in my sorrow as much as He did in my joy.
As I continued to reflect on this difficult time of internship, God brought me to the question “If you knew the outcome, would you have done anything differently?” After thinking on this, I realized that if I had known God was calling me to be obedient to show love to someone who would be so temporary I would have held back a lot. I would have loved differently knowing the pain it would bring after the loss. In realizing this I was led to a powerful truth of who Jesus is and the choice He made in loving us.
Olivia Crissman, one-year intern
(L to R) Back row: Zach Garrett, 23, Suffield, CT; Luke Brouwer, 23, Nevada City, CA; Shannon Kiley, 25, Lincoln, CA. Front row: Cathy Gao, 22, Beijing, China; Olivia Crissman, 21, Winston-Salem, NC; Holly McClain, 25, Grass Valley, CA; Emma McDowell, 23, Chambersburg, PA; Kim Beisel, 26, Upland, CA.