This month, we celebrated the graduation of our 2015 ACTIVATE interns. For many, from within our congregation and without, they can attest to having given their time, prayer, and financial support to see these young people through their journeys.

This week we want to share our ACTIVATE grads' parting words to show you a little of the work God began in them over these last 9 months.

Rae Lee:

Hi, I’m Rae!

I’m the intern that you kind of giggle at. I dye my hair blue. I would even show up here in a gorilla suit, just for laughs... There were many laughs this year, but there were also many tears. This year I had to grow up. I had to learn to communicate with my pastors about where I’m supposed to be on Sundays and Wednesdays. I had to learn to communicate with my work and even my ACTIVATE crew. I had to learn how to forgive and forget. And hardest of all I had to let go of all my issues and trust God with everything; my finances, my friends and my family. So thank you to my friends, family and pastors for being with me through this whole nine months and watching me grow with God.

Cassie Castillo:

Hello Everyone,

I want to start off by saying I'm blessed to have had an opportunity to get even closer to God & encounter The Sanctuary Church. I didn't expect to enjoy as much I did, because I thought it would be scary being apart from my family in Lancaster. I am still impacted by how many people were here for me through the trials I had gone through, but I know that the Lord used them to help me build myself.  I can't wait to see how much the Lord has for not only me but the three of us. Although, I came out here not knowing who I would meet, the Lord placed people here to help me and build friendships that will last a lifetime. My time here is to prepare me for the future, all the knowledge I have gained (spiritually & mentally) has been a blessing and I can't wait to show everyone all that I have learn& continuing to learn. My dream is to bring the people to God through his music and how much unconditional love he has for them. My plans after this program is to go back into Life Pacific College & get a degree in Worship & Media then become a Worship Leader. I know it will take time and a lot of effort but seeing people in his presence brings joy to my heart. I want to thank God for everything & all the people he is placing in my life. I also want to thank my parents for giving me this time to grow closer & I want to thank the Walkers for all they have done for me!!! I am thankful for everyone here so thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Joey Estrada:

Hey all, I’m Joey!

For the last 9 months, I’ve been in this pretty epic program called ACTIVATE. I’d have to compare it to a ferris wheel, because I got on this ride hoping for the best and it started off really well, having a good time. Going on the highs of life through service and slowly engaging with the church. But then it got to some lows where I wondered, “Why the heck did I just do that?” or just made a few mistakes. But there were also those parts where I had to just stop and sit in place, I took a look back through everything I had done, through the good, the bad and even some of the ugly. But hey, look at me... no... look at us now, getting off this rollercoaster, looking better than we started. It reminds me of a quote by this excellent writer, C.S. Lewis, it’s called the ‘Living House’ and it says,

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. ‘What on earth is He up to?’ You think. The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of -throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage… No, He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

Yes, all I wanted was to become a small cottage of some sort but He had better plans for me and in the midst of both breaking down and reconstructing, I started to see the palace He wanted in me. I then found my love for serving others, for having a value in life but most of all, I found who I was designed to be.

But last year was the year I had gotten a great calling from my God for this New Year, it were these three words, first one was to Arise: that was to rise up from my old self as I watched Him break my comfort zone, He told me to “Wake up.” The second word was to Approach: which meant to reach out and engage this new life He has planned out for me and told me to live it out. Then the last word was to Arrive: and that was no matter how challenging things were going to be, that I would be with Him and strive. Now when I heard this calling, I thought it’d be one of those “step-by-step” sort of plans but God had planned it to come all at once! Scared the heck out of me! Like, “What are you doing God? This hurts!” Well, just like the living house, I know that God had additional plans that would break down a wall here or build an extra flooring there and merely transform me into the man I am created to be. Although I still have a lot to learn, I end my speech with this… This is my Mission statement: With Hope I breathe, with Trust I feel and with Love I speak, I will do everything I can do to be in the Kingdom with You, God. I acknowledge my sins but I don’t partake in them and I acknowledge my mistakes but I don’t engage in them.

What an amazing group of young leaders. Continue to pray for them as they continue on seeking God and sharing the Good News. For info on ACTIVATE and to apply for the program, visit our ACTIVATE page.