MarielleMarielle, from Avilla, Indiana, participated in SEND as part of her journey out of a life of addiction and pain and into what she knew was God’s plan for a restored life. She had been in Teen Challenge, a residential program for people with drug, alcohol, and other life-controlling addictions. She worked at Camp Lutherhaven the summer before SEND started. Marielle answered a few questions about her SEND experience eariler this year.

What was the key reason you decided to participate in S.E.N.D.? I prayed about doing SEND for eight months. I had other options. God shut the doors on those and told me to do SEND.

How has God refined you in the S.E.N.D. Experience? I have learned to come out of the strict disciplined life of Teen Challenge. I was in culture shock coming back into the world. SEND has shown me more options for ministry. It’s opened doors for the ministry I believe God is moving me into in my future. It’s shown me how to let go and let God. It’s shown me how to reach out to people, to disciple, to love and develop relationships with people to let them be comfortable enough to let Jesus work on their hearts, to be willing to let Him in over time. They want relationship. They want to be understood and not judged. They don’t want people to condemn them, they want to be loved.

How has God revealed His plans and purposes for your life? I liked the Holland Rescue Mission because it was similar to Teen Challenge. It gave me ideas for the Teen Challenge that I believe God is leading me to eventually open around this area. I am comfortable around addicts and homeless people that most people don’t want anything to do with. They are receptive to me and comfortable with me as well. I can say the same with the Warm a Heart Ministry. I enjoy serving people. I like putting a smile on their faces. I get hyper being around people who have no joy and that brings more joy out of me and it’s like I’m in my element in these situations. I have a lot of faith for people in these hard situations. I have hope, sympathy and empathy, understanding and compassion for them. I have joy when they can’t seem to muster it up. God has opened my eyes to see them with love, respect, and dignity.

What has surprised you the most so far in the S.E.N.D. Experience? The entire SEND experience has been one surprise after another. I came in with no expectations, just trusting God to have His way, knowing He told me to do SEND and knowing He will guide me every step. He has blown me away almost every day I am in SEND. I just pray for eyes to see and ears to hear so I don’t miss what He is trying to tell me.

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