6 month intern
Hometown: Glendale Hts, Illinois
Jony returns to Chicago this month to complete his B.A. in Counseling at Moody Bible Institute. From there, he is looking to pursue a master’s degree in either social work or clinical counseling.
“Ministries are often focused on numbers and performance. But here it’s all encompassing, you feel supported constantly. Everything is to serve the same purpose...”
“[Internship] is a lot of learning to just shut up sometimes and just love someone. Disciplining is loving them, and there’s a time for that. And then there’s a time not to give advice, but to hug them, cry it out with them...They’ve taught me patience - learning to just be patient with someone who doesn’t know how to accept love.”
Parting words to the students:
“I love you all a lot. Your lives are of significant value to me. When I leave, I will still bear the weight of your lives. Keep fighting. It doesn’t matter if you stay here or get kicked out. It’s about moving forward. God is in control and can take any type of story and transform it into so much more than what we could have ever thought.”
After almost a year of searching and sifting through resumes, we’re excited to welcome Chris Unitt aboard as our new Food Service Manager. Chris’s resume was exactly what we were looking for, and we’re grateful to the Lord for answering our prayers and leading her to join our ministry team.
“I’ve been around cooking all my life. My family was into big family gatherings. Every year we did a tamale dinner and we invited everybody we knew; it was this big one-day open house. It started before I was born - I came into cooking that way. It’s always been a passion of mine.” When Chris and her family bought a camp in Grass Valley in 2004, tamale dinners turned into pancake breakfasts and ice cream socials. After ten years, they sold the camp and, by then, Chris was well immersed in the commercial kitchen. Since then, Chris has volunteered extensively with Hospitality House and worked for Summer Thyme’s Bakery and Deli, Valentina’s Organic Bistro and Bakery, and most recently, Caroline’s Coffee Roasters. “I was ready for a change. The Lord was tugging at my heart to be doing more mentorship and training.”
We’re thankful to Larissa for capably filling this role this year and for her flexibility and servant-heart, which gave us the time to do a thorough search process. Moving forward, Larissa plans to work with High Sierra Outdoor Institute and apply for graduate schools to pursue a Master’s degree in Education.
Zack was standing in the back of the chapel as the speaker wrapped up his last session for the weeklong summer camp. The speaker’s words tuned in to focus again: “God loves you because He made you…” These words echoed in Zack’s head as he bolted for the backdoor, everything within him warring against the speaker’s declaration. God was pursuing Zack, and he had no choice but to respond. That evening, Zack received Jesus as his savior.
With the end of summer came the start of sophomore year - and now Zack was the only child at home. His mother had left before Zack could remember, leaving him and his three sisters with their grandmother and father. Over the years, Kaitlin and Alyssa had moved out, leaving Kara to bear the brunt of the physical and verbal abuse at home. Once Kara left, all attention shifted to Zack.
Sordid scandals of leaders who abuse their power saturate the news these days. Some use power to manipulate, take advantage of, or abuse people they are responsible to care for; some even use it to criminal ends. Money, sex, and power all entice, and leaders who hunger for these can sabotage their souls, organizations, and even countries. Salacious misdeeds are not the only danger, though: leadership is often isolating and treacherous in much more subtle and ordinary ways as well. Leadership transitions are often particularly difficult—those involved seem extra prone to missteps and damaging relationships, and the tenor can quickly become hostile, either visibly or beneath the surface.
I am deeply grateful to God that the story of CEM has been so remarkably different. The accompanying photo represents 38 years of Ranch directorship and several leadership transitions. It also represents five friends from five different decades.