Early Beginnings

A week ago I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Steve Flemming, CEO of the Bethlehem Centers. He is truly one of the sweetest men I’ve ever met. He greeted with a warm smile and a bright enthusiasm for the work he’s in. Meeting him made me feel extremely comfortable and at home in my new working environment.

To be honest… I was terrified. This is my first official job full of people I’ve never met before– a completely new experience. As daunting as a first job seemed, I knew that starting with the Bethlehem Center could only ever benefit me in future careers.

Amidst all the bubbling anxiety that was quickly being soothed as I learned more of the history of this establishment and walked through its hallways, I was greeted by a familiar, friendly face– Ms. Huff! I walked into the daycare section of the center and caught her as she was leaving the garden. She gave me a knowing smile and didn’t hesitate to come up to hug me. It was honestly the best hug I think I’ve ever received by any person in my life. She really help soothe my nerves of being in a new place because who wouldn’t feel calm after seeing her? She explained to me the history of the center of being one of the first places women came together to fight for equal rights alongside civil rights activists. She claimed this center has been a source of good for years.

Later that evening I attended the orientation hosted for the parents sending their kids to the camp this summer. Seeing everyone greet each other like family was incredibly heartwarming. The smiles of seeing old friends and teachers truly is one of the greatest parts of the center.

Of course, I was shy at first, but my coworkers invited me into playful conversations where I talked about playing softball as being my favorite pastime outside of school.

After that evening I remember running to my car to call my mother and tell her about the amazing people I met and the conversations I had. I told her about this one girl who ran up to me just to say goodbye when she was leaving. She hadn’t even met me and yet she wanted to say goodbye! She was so sweet, I hope I get to see her again during the camp.

In order for me (personally) to live into Christ and maintain a relationship with Him is to refer to scripture during major events in my life. The two verses I want to live into are:

1 Peter 4:10 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

I believe God gives all of His children specific gifts that can achieve its fullest potential by using them to glorify Him. God made me a strong, hard-working person with a gentle heart to help connect with others and bring them to Him. I can only hope my experience can fully meet the expectations of the people who chose me for this opportunity, the children and coworkers I get to work with, God, and myself. Camp can’t start soon enough!

-Alayna 5/31/22

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