Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sabeth at Cortland

Last year Sabeth Gardiner did an awesome job serving as our primary staff member at her Alma mater, Cortland State (SUNY Cortland.) All summer long, I wanted to write at least a little bit about her!  Looking back, I'm glad I didn't because there is even more to say now that we have kicked off the school year.

We met Sab a few years ago when she joined us at Cru's winter conference along with her best friend Elise.  Although she was a student at SUNY Cortland, she jumped right into the Cornell fellowship with both feet.   Her enthusiasm for life and contagious exuberance made a big splash and right off the bat she brought a lot of energy! (And especially when she's with Elise!  Wow! Pure firecrackers those two!) Sab became fast friends with our other students and we all had a lot of fun that week. 

Sabeth actually became a Christian while she was in college.  She got involved in Cru and took her walk with Jesus very seriously.  That January at the winter conference she pretty much finalized her decision to intern.  Sabeth is a gung-ho, friendly, energetic woman of God.

Last year, as an intern, Sabeth Gardiner was our primary staff member serving at SUNY Cortland.  She was a part of our team here at Cornell: she attended our staff meetings, our leadership meetings and our large group friday night meeting, but during the week she labored on the campus 30 miles away from Ithaca.  I was essentially connected, and  Mercy Gbenjo would head out with her once or twice a week,  but at the end of the day, Sab was very much sluggin it out solo* lots of the time!

As a relatively new Christian, and a fairly inexperienced leader, Sabeth often felt overwhelmed. To be honest, there were a few times when I myself wondered if in fact I had done her a disservice by giving her so much responsibility.   But despite her own misgivings, she navigated the difficulties with a persevering heart.   She got up every day, went to campus, and met with students.  She mentored some younger girls and provided some helpful direction to the small band of student leaders.   

But Sabeth was never quite sure that it was "working out."  In fact, even as the year came to a close last spring she had fears that most of her labor had been in vain.  She wondered if the the whole operation was gonna fall apart!  But God is faithful, and the gospel is powerful even when we proceed with trepidation.  A few weeks ago, at the first Thursday Night Large group meeting, as the new year kicked off, we were able to rejoice together at God's incredible work.  The student leadership team at Cortland is on fire!  The girls that Sabeth mentored are ready and able, and their kick-off meeting was awesome!  40+ people gathered together for a night of worship, preaching and Bible study. 

All in all, as we kicked things off this year, it became clearer than ever that Sabeth really did an incredible job! 

Mike McCarthy is one of the main guy leaders out at Cortland, and he got to give part of his testimony out at our Fall Getaway.  Mike hit the nail on the head when he affirmed Sabeth from the front, remarking that "we are all benefiting from the work Sabeth did last year on campus."   There is no doubt that God used Sabeth's efforts to encourage and develop and align all of the student leaders out there.   
Cru at SUNY Cortland students at the Upstate Fall Getaway
The ministry out there is off to a great start this year!  Sabeth is no longer interning with Cru, but she continues to volunteer and show up and serve in a lot of ways!  She is very much still a part of the ministry, and in many ways, we still consider her a part of our team!  
Sab finished out her year at the Rocky Mountains Lifelines Summer Project.  

*"Solo" only as far as full time staff are concerned.  Of course there were the student leaders doing a ton of the work!  And beyond that, a man who has been a faithful and extremely helpful presence for many years out in Cortland, is Alan Masters.  What a boss!  Additionally, the pastoral staff at Grace Christian Fellowship are a huge support to our Cru ministry in Cortland.   

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