I have a shelf in my room that serves as a place for candles and my craft box. The other day I noticed that the second shelf was essentially a tribute to my last (almost) six years with RUF.
On this shelf is a framed photo from Martha Kate of my senior class in RUF at Baylor; lifelong friends, and tender memories of growth. Like the 30th outline of the state of Oregon makes it's appearance to remind me of my incredible summers I spent working for my former RUF campus minster Shaynor, and thriving within the care of his family. And finally, my carbon monoxide detector, which I check every week. This is both an ironic, and quite literal picture of my experience in Pittsburgh, where I've spent the last year and a half as an RUF intern.
When my internship ends in May, I will have spent one fourth of my life attending weekly Large Group. Twenty-five percent of my life, I will have been under the care of an ordained PCA minister. There are literally hundreds of people, in every continental timezone, who seem now critical to the fabric of my life that would not know or care for without RUF.
The RUF bumper sticker on my car may or may not make it to my next season of life. But the RUF bumper sticker on my heart has some pretty strong glue.
Back to the carbon monoxide detector. When I first realized this was my "Pittsburgh" of my RUF shelf, I laughed. Other than my PA plates, one Pitt sweatshirt, and a Pennsylvania REI sticker, I have no mementos. This isn't intentional, but interns don't make a lot of money, and it's taken a while for Pittsburgh to move out of enemy territory and into the friendzone. And frankly, I think yellow is a tacky color and I'm ok with not having a yinzer-special closet.
But the carbon monoxide detector is the perfect reminder of what God has done for me in Pittsburgh. Through His grace I found a really sweet living situation in a shambly basement, with precious neighbors, and a not-that-bad parking situation. This carbon monoxide detector was given to me by Sarah, one of my wonderful mom friends who providentially also loves KU basketball. You can't live 1,600 miles away from your actual mom without some amazing mom friends. Sarah cares deeply for my safety, and just me, and this carbon monoxide detector reminds me that I have people looking out for me here. I have been protected from so many things, especially carbon monoxide since our landlord came and fixed whatever on the furnace that was letting off too much carbon monoxide for our hot water to be turned on whenever we first moved in.
I am so grateful for RUF. Two weeks ago at Large Group I teared up thinking about how blessed our students are to have a place to gather every week to hear the truth of the Gospel on their campus. And on a campus where community and objective truths are not necessarily celebrated, that's incredible.
I am so grateful for my friends through Baylor RUF, my treasured time in Oregon, and for my carbon monoxide detector. But mostly for God's grace, provision, and protection through it all.
On that note, RUF interns don't make a lot of money, so may I encourage you to do one of the following for your local intern (really, not necessarily me, I'm actually like 97% funded through May, pay it forward):
- Give a carbon monoxide detector with fresh batteries
- Give gift cards. Especially to Starbucks, Target, or Trader Joe's. Or Amazon.
- Pay for their meal on the sly. My precious friends here do this for me regularly, it is my favorite.
- Let them know you're praying for them.
- Do not ask them how many kids go to Large Group at church.
- Sign up to get their newsletters and e-mails.
- Slightly overpay them for babysitting.
- Give to their RUF account so they can get a raise and maybe afford a t-shirt or something.