GROWTH: Kitty's Summer Story

We still love hearing all of the amazing summer stories our sisters experience this summer. This summer, our sister Kitty Kelsey interned for a congressional campaign... We were so impressed that we had to hear all about it!

Going to Mississippi College, it is almost expected for you to be a summer camp counselor or go on some sort of mission trip during the summer. However, the Lord uses everyone is so many different ways. 

This summer I had the opportunity to intern for a congressional campaign. One of my many cousins, Brian Kelsey, is currently a state senator. Back in February, I found out he would be running to represent Tennessee’s 8th congressional district. I got in touch with him as soon as I could. Being a political science major,  this seemed like the perfect opportunity -for the first time, I could dip my toes in the political world. In late April, I got a call saying I would be able to come on the campaign as an intern. I was so excited but had no idea what to expect.

I walked in my first day and was immediately greeted with a to-do list and what seemed like mounds of busy work that no one wanted to do. Naturally, the senior staff pushed this work over to their interns. Despite the work’s cumbersome connotation, I was happy to do it. Spreadsheets turned to phone calls and phone calls turned to my favorite job task… door knocking. Yes, this summer I was the annoying person that knocked on your door just to talk to you about politics and promote my candidate. I never thought I would be the person I typically avoid, but I was. All the tasks were seemingly monotonous and boring, but they changed me in a way I was not expecting. My eyes were opened to the kind of hard work that really goes into campaigns, and I got to see how all the moving parts work together to get this campaign moving. More than that, I was never really comfortable openly talking to people I did know about politics --let alone even knock on their door. I was really pushed out of my comfort zone and was terrified, but being myself, I couldn’t let other people know that. I just pushed through and did it. Eventually,  door-knocking and phone call-answering were my specialties. Most of the staff didn’t even know how scared of it I was. I was a natural.

You would think I would hate these things and get bored with the job, but I never did. I had an amazing staff over me, and some even more amazing interns that I have made lasting relationships with. I had an odd peace about working in that office. Despite all the seemingly boring work I was doing, I knew I was where I was supposed to be. Politics is a dirty field to go into that most people frown upon. I knew I wanted to do law, but I never really thought about actually going into politics until recently. I had prayed about it constantly before this internship came up: I knew it would either make or break me. Oh, it just gave me a taste of something I wanted to do for a long time. People warned me of the stigmas that are placed on politicians and the kind of world I would be entering into, but God put me here for a reason.

This internship grew so much of me as a person. It was challenging at times to keep up with adults who do it for a living, and even other kids my age that just had more experience than I did. It was incredible to see how the Lord could use me in such a seemingly unlikely place. I was able to stay in Tennessee and work for a politician and still carry out God’s plan to spread His word. I came in contact with so many walks of life and was able to share a little bit about myself and my views with each of them. Was my goal still to promote political affiliations? Yes. However, that always led to a discussion of values and more often than not I was given an opportunity to share my faith with these people.

It is so amazing being in the center of God’s plan. Whether it is going across the world to share the gospel or stay at home to work a summer job, God can use you and grow you as a person more than anyone could imagine.

Tips From the Gals: Staying Healthy In College

Today, Maria Alonso from Birmingham, AL (a junior at MC) is sharing a little bit on staying healthy in college. Over the past few years, she has fallen in love with wellness & pilates all while being in college. Click the button at the bottom of the page to follow her journey via instagram.

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Living a healthy lifestyle can be difficult, but doing so in the busyness of college can prove even harder sometimes. There are countless blogs and books giving tips for living clean on a college schedule and budget, and I’ll list those, but more importantly I want to give some real reasons, some legitimate motivation to take those tips and make them a lifestyle instead of a phase. 

You’ve probably heard these tips a million times, but I promise, they work. It really is this easy:

1. Don’t just watch, CHOOSE what you eat.  
Getting in shape/staying in shape is 80% due to your diet. Many girls read that and immediately feel the need to diet, but I urge you not to think like that! Instead, think about choices. Each time you go to eat you make a choice. Approaching each meal with intentional (yes, INTENTIONAL) decision making is a simple way to make a world of difference. Just take it one meal at a time. 

2. Find exercise that you enjoy and commit!
There is no excuse not to exercise these days, especially in college. If you hate running, try a spin class! If you hate weights, try Pilates! More chill? Yoga! Like to party? Zumba is a blast! There are a million different machines, classes, styles, and options. Just get moving! Find something you enjoy, something you look forward to, and then stick with it! Schedule it in like any other mandatory class. You’ll have more energy, more fun, and be more consistent, which is when change starts to happen. 


3. Grab a friend!
Getting healthy takes a lot of discipline, but that is made so much easier with a friend! Grab a buddy and do things together! Keep each other accountable. Drag each other to the gym. Smack that box of Krispy Kreme away. Push and encourage each other to keep going. These are the kind of friendships that will grow in strength as much as you do. 

4. Drink your water and go to sleep!
If you do nothing else, please just stay hydrated and rested! Not drinking enough water or getting enough sleep can cause so many other health issues that you don’t want to deal with, and the solution is so simple. Carry a water bottle; go to sleep. Just do it.


Now that I’ve covered the somewhat obvious, I’d like to offer you a reason to actually follow through. A real reason. The world will tell you that you should be healthy because it will make you look good, or even make you feel good. And those things do happen, but I think we can all agree that they don’t serve to motivate to a life changing degree. Here are just a few truths that I hope will transform the way you think about health and, hopefully, encourage you in your clean-living journey:

1. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. The Heavenly Father has called you worthy and loved and that means you are worth taking care of, so take care of yourself. Don’t make bad health choices due to low self-esteem. You are worthy.

2. In Genesis, God commands us to tend to and care for His creation. That includes ourselves. When we neglect to nourish and attend to our bodies’ health, we act in disobedience. Not only are you worthy of care, but you are called to it.

3. When you accept and proclaim Christ as your Savior, you become a temple for the Holy Spirit. That means that how you keep your body, your temple, has the opportunity to be form of worship, an offering to the King who resides in it. Take that seriously.

4. Gluttony and laziness are both sins.  It’s not just something to joke about. Over eating and indulging, lying around all day, these are sins.  That doesn’t mean that you have to starve yourself and constantly stay on the go. Food and rest are good things! Just remember that good things only remain good in moderation. Don’t let them become idols. 

5. On a happier note, realize that this is something that God cares about! He adores you and yearns for you to know and love Him more intimately. When you give him your eating habits, your workouts, your health, you give up the control and invite the Lord into yet one more area of your life. And I can promise You that He will be faithful in holding your hand and strengthening you through every step of the process offering grace and encouragement. Your God cares for you!

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

FAITHFUL: Miranda's Summer Story

Last year's Pledge Class President, Miranda Bayer traveled to India this summer on a mission trip with a few other Laguna sisters. Read her story below:

I think sometimes God gives us choices that we don't have a long time to pray about but just simply need to say yes to. Before going to Punjab, India this summer I wasn't exactly sure why I was going, just knew I was supposed to. During one of our team meetings before the trip, I started crying just thinking about what God was going to do. I knew this trip would make an impact on me in a way I couldn't even fathom at the moment.  

A month passed and so did hours and hours of traveling. Finally, my team and I were welcomed by our Indian host family with smiles, stares, and statements in Punjabi that we couldn't understand. 

Though I would do it again in a heartbeat, this trip was one of the hardest things I have physically, emotionally, and spiritually ever done. 

This trip was physically challenging mainly because we lived amongst an Indian family rather than in separate logging like other mission trips I have been on. This meant that we ate what they ate, went to bed when they did, and slept only feet away from live cattle.

I knew that India would be hot but never expected to pass out on the first day there from dehydration and heat exhaustion. The sweating never stopped. Day in and day out the physical hardships were very obvious. Eating the food was nearly impossible for me since it was SOO different from anything Iwas used to. Our bodies were going nonstop from 8AM till midnight. At each moment someone was always staring at us. There was no one who spoke English but there were multiple people who thought we would understand Punjabi. I can't forget to mention that my team and I got lice while there and refused to shower all week. Looking back at it though, the physical challenges are pretty comical. I know that they are memories I'll never forget. 

This trip was emotionally challenging for a lot of reasons. An entirely different culture calls for a lot of selfless adjustment. It would be have been easy to stop smiling half way through our ministry days. It would have been easy to catch and hold onto a bad attitude. But by intentionally giving up flesh, we were graciously able to allow our emotions to reflect those of Christ.

The spiritual challenges and lessons of this trip are something I'll be forever grateful for. During those quick ten days God molded me in ways I didn't know I needed. I learned what it truly meant to put on the full armor of Christ. To walk with feet fitted with the gospel of peace and to use the sword of the Spirit. In Ephesians 6 when it talks about the armor of God, verse 12 says that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Though this can be a bit of an intense thought, it taught me that God is faithfully and victoriously fight for His children despite the physical mess. Being in Punjab I also got to see parts of the Old Testament come to life. Most of the lost people we were able to minister to were worshiping physical idols just like the golden calf Aaron made. These Indian people truly believed that their gods were saving and healing them just like the Israelites thought the calf they made brought them out of slavery. Some houses we visited even had a chest of religious items that they prayed to. It was through seeing that that I was able to realize that Americans worship idols of money, pride, social status, technology, etc. Lastly I learned why I'm in college. God never called us to half hearted ministry. He didn't call us to sort of make disciples. Rather we are called to be effective in the plans He has setfor us. By being at Mississippi College I am able to soak up knowledge of the Word and discover who God is in a unique crucial time of life. I'm being prepared to use the wisdom and knowledge He gives me both in the physical and in the spiritual. 

I want you to learn from reading this that God is faithful in all things. He was faithful in my past. He was faithful for me in Punjab, India. And He will be faithful to reveal His glory in our future.

CHANGED: Carolyn's Summer Story

We asked our Chaplain, Carolyn Halford to share her summer story about her experience at Pine Cove this summer & wow.... we are so proud & excited for her. Read her story below!

Three months. What seems like both an eternity and the blink of an eye came and went, and now here I am attempting to put words to what my summer meant to me. I remember coming home from camp last summer, not sure how to process how crazy and wonderful and hard and beautiful those weeks were. I simply explained to my mom that I had never felt more fulfilled by any role, never been more content in one place. Returning for a second summer wasn’t even a question, and I loaded up my car and headed back to Texas mid-May, this time for the full 13 weeks, ready for it all. 

I came in with some baggage, both literally and figuratively (I unashamedly overpack on all occasions). I was growing apathetic, catching myself doubting the goodness of the Lord and losing sight of my identity found in Him. I had stopped asking big things and expecting God to move mightily. And guess what. He did. 

This summer was tough. Camp had a way of humbling me beyond belief, what felt like the occasional slap in the face of, “Don’t you get it? It is not about you.” There were moments I felt like I couldn’t give more. Let’s face it, it was about 135 degrees and we were jumping and screaming and children were always asking when free time was. I was sweaty, too full from all the fried chicken and potato variations, and exhausted from the physical and mental toll of being a counselor for 2nd-5th grade girls. But then there were moments – such incredible, yet simple – PROFOUND moments where God lovingly reminded me that camp wasn’t about me in the slightest. 

Camp is so centered on the Gospel, and our bible study theme this summer was “changed.” Every day we looked at different stories in the Bible, from Nathanael to Saul to Zaccheus, each man experiencing a life transformation because of his encounter with Jesus. We talked about walking with the Lord and what it meant to accept Jesus into our heart and live forever changed. My girls asked me tough questions, and we talked about the price Jesus paid for us by dying the death we deserved so that we might live in freedom. Things I grew up learning in church became so much more alive and tangible because these 7 and 8 and 9 year old girls were eager to hear more. There were moments I sat back and couldn’t help but smile and thank God for waking me up to the realization that He is so at work, and the craziness of the story of the cross is just as new and incredible as the first time I heard it. 

So this summer was a whole lot of things. 4,000 campers came through the gates of the Pine Cove Towers, and every single one of them got to hear about Jesus. I got to see my girls put their faith in Christ for the first time and hear them worship and praise Him. I was pushed, stretched, and molded – coming home with a new understanding of grace. Challenged to not just give some of my life to the one who created it, but rather wholeheartedly live to serve my Father. I think I love camp so much because when you’re surrounded by people you love, doing what you love, nothing beats that. We sang loud, jumped high, and looked like total goobers 110% of the time. All for the glory of God. It’s been a few days, and I miss camp already. But praise God that He can be glorified beyond those gates, in our homes, cities, and college campuses. Praise Him that because of the cross, we can live changed.