fourteen: with braces

My chicken legs proudly showed off my knobby knees. The braces on my teeth changed color each month to match the upcoming holiday. I wore my bangs really high, with way too much hairspray. I always did my homework on time and I aced every test.

I played volleyball, but only because I went to a tiny Christian school and they needed players. I lack(ed) any sense of sporting ability.

I had one close friend; we could often be found harmonizing DC Talk's "Lean on Me" together.

I loved God deeply and I had a heart for missions. I went on my first mission trip that summer and it changed my life. Forever.

What were you like at fourteen?

seven: out of ten

Thrive interns 08 We had ten amazing interns this year. I know I say every group is amazing, and I swear I'm not lying. The statement is never intended to be a comparison between internship classes; they are all handpicked by God to be here at the time He wants them here, and I love all of them to bits.

Okay, moving on...

Over the years, we've somehow managed to maintain a 30% "return rate" of interns coming back as staff. This year, that stat's been blown out of the water. Seven of the ten are going to be back with us next year as part of our staff team. We are humbled that so many want to return and use their gifts to help us lead Africa to thrive.

The three interns who are stepping into different things---those with non-Thrive next steps---are each heading off to do great things. We are excited with them and for them, and while we'll certainly miss them, they'll always remain part of the Thrive family.

We love our interns and we're so proud of each one of them.

Stop for a second and think: Who are you proud of? Why?


Tomorrow morning I'll wake long before the sun does. I'll shower, dress, and put on my face with my eyes mostly shut. And then I'll load up my Yankee-mobile with a bunch of still-sleeping interns. I'll most likely drive the first few hours with only my iPod for company. Then hunger will awaken the interns, and chatter and laughter will abound. We'll stop for meals and we'll stop for bathrooms; I'll drink more than is appropriate for a road trip but is plenty appropriate for keeping oneself awake.

We'll drive through the valley of desolation; we'll pass the ostrich farm where I've yet to ride a feathered beast. We'll wind through hills and vineyards; we'll watch as the landscape gets progressively greener.

And then we'll see it: Cape Town. I can't wait; it's my favorite place in all of South Africa.

Tomorrow is day one of internship debriefing. It'll be a fun and intense week, and a whole lot like Kodak. (Huh!? I explained the connection between debriefing and film processing over at the Field Blog.)

I'm not a morning person, by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm looking forward to what's on the other side of my 4 AM wake-up call. Helping the interns prepare for what's next and digest all they've taken in this year is a joy.

And we get to say jackass all we want!

Cape Town, here we come!