CTI 14:21 2014-2015
CTI 14:22 2016-2017
Vocals, Team Leader
Birthday: January 19
Hometown: Viroqua, Wisconsin
Favorite Bible Passage: Joshuah 1:9
Musical Influences: Andrew Peterson
Favorite Movie: The Sandlot
Favorite Book: All the World by Liz Garton Scanion, Illustrated by Marla Frazee
Hobbies: Making soup, artwork with crayons, and jewelry.
Lena loves flowers, cloudy/rainy/stormy weather, sunsets, and crystal clear starry nights. She especially loves the color Seafoam Green.
Lena’s Blog Posts
About a week ago I got to talk to a CTI alum from a few years back. She asked me a question that we don’t hear very often, “What has been the single most impactful moment in your CTI career?”
I paused and thought about it for a second and something came to my mind quickly. Before I get to it, here is a little background….this is my second year of CTI, my first fulltime team was able to go to Honduras for our overseas tour, in the summer I co-led a team back to Honduras, and right before this question was posed the fulltime community, this year, had just found out our summer placements…of which, I am leading another team back to Honduras. Needless to say, Honduras and going overseas was on my mind. Anyway, back to the story. I responded to her with this, “I was able to help a flood victim family sweep mud out of their house.” It was at that moment when I realized even more fully what Christ meant when he told his disciples as he washed their feet in John 13, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.”
As I was sweeping the mud out of their little house, blistered hands, dirty feet, and all, I realized that this is me sharing the gospel with them. I was living out what Christ has called us to do…to love and serve others. Sometimes loving and serving others means being out of your comfort zone, doing something that is hard or unnatural for you, or maybe even something that hurts you (my blistered hands would say so). After all, this is what Christ has done for us. He gave himself up to the point of death because he knew it needed to be done. He knew we wouldn’t be able to be made right with the Father on our own; He knew we needed a savior, a perfect sacrifice…and He knew he was the one. So Christ voluntarily gave himself simply because he loves us and wants to serve us.
I know that the love of Christ was shining through all of that mud…and it was shining through me. It is funny, yet amazing and beautiful, the things God uses to teach us more about his love for us. Look for those things today.
This tour I have had moments of overwhelming love for my teammates. I look at them and think, “Wow, God made you to be such a beautiful person…He made you to be exactly who you are…You have gifts, abilities, talents, and a personality that is specific to you and only you….I am so thankful He planned for our paths to cross so I could get to know you, because you are so cool and I have learned a lot from you. Even those little things that you do that annoy me are easily overlooked because I love you soooo much!” Then five minutes later when they do that annoying thing again, I think, “Wow, you are driving me nuts and I am ready to throw you out the van window.”
Hah, that is real life. I am learning that showing grace and love is not always that easy. It is something that I have had to work at and practice and try to get better at. I fail at it sometimes but then I try harder the next time. Sometimes it means giving up what I want to serve someone else, or it means making a decision that isn’t popular but is best for everyone in the long run, or it means being prepared to take part of the fall when you allow someone to make a mistake and learn from it. I am able to have the strength to do these things when I pause and realize that all of these things have been done for me. That is what Christ took upon Himself when He came down from heaven to live life as a human, and then He carried all of those things to the cross. He gave up Himself for our sin. He decided what was best for everyone. He took the fall for our mistake.
So in those moments where I am ready to throw each of my teammates out the window, I remind myself that Christ has never and will never throw me out because of the sins I have committed against Him. He reminds me of the grace and love He has shown me and challenges me to show others the same.
Often I am struck with the feeling of admiration when I think of all of the amazing people I get to meet and know. This week it hit me a few times. It hit me the other day when we stayed with a retired pastor and his wife. Every meal we ate with them we had a time of devotion. For one of the devotions he had us read from a devotional called “Our Daily Bread”. This is a devotional I am familiar with because my grandma would give me a copy of it to read to my 98 year old grandfather every night. As my teammate started reading from it, tears started to run down my face as I thought of how much of a blessing my grandfather was to me, my grandma is to me, and my host grandparents have been to me.
It was a sweet moment, and it reminded me of all of the people on this earth who have had such an impact on my life. My family, church family, CTI family, friends, and each and every person I have been given the chance to meet….each one a gift. I find myself thinking, “Why on earth am I so blessed to meet such wonderful people, know such wonderful people, or even call such wonderful people my friends?”
I have no idea why I am so blessed, because I am not worthy of any of it. But that is the great beauty of all of it. Though I am not worthy of their love, they give it to me anyway. What these people show me is just a glimpse of what my Father in heaven offers to me. He offers us His everything. He allows us–the sinful humans that turn from Him, giving into our sinful nature day to day–to be called His friends…that is truly amazing to me.
Here is a video blog from Lena!