Googling “Detroit mission” and clicking on the third link down, will take you to Motown Mission’s homepage. That was exactly how I found my summer plans as an intern. I prayed multiple times during the school year about giving my summer to God and He gracefully led me exactly where I needed to be without me even knowing about it.
After accepting this position, I really had no clue what to expect for my summer in Detroit as an intern. I did not know where I would be living, who I would be working with, or what a typical workday would look like. I also did not know that I would be experiencing one of the best summers of my life.
These last few weeks have been an adventure, to say the least.
I was not sure what my role would be once I arrived to the Motor City. The role I was assigned focused on working with volunteers at worksites and helping out with our program at Metropolitan United Methodist Church. I have been able to step up in leadership roles amongst the daily activities and have enjoyed helping out volunteers and neighbors of Detroit. I also have learned a lot about the other interns and about their journeys of life so far.
I came into this summer thinking of the other interns as my co-workers, however, I am delighted to call them some of my greatest brothers and sisters in Christ. I did not expect my views on others to change like that. I did not know that I would soon see many people in Detroit as my new neighbors either. I did not know how I would handle some of the stress of simply being an intern and being responsible for volunteers in a large city. I could go on longer about many of the things I did not know or still do not know about my summer in Detroit, but while navigating around this city, I have learned (and am still learning!) how to sail into this Great Unknown gracefully.
I have been able to trust God with many things during these times of uncertainty. The patience that I have learned through all of this is something that I was not expecting to gain. One bible verse that I found earlier this summer being relevant to this was from John 13 with Jesus replying to Peter, “you do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
Later I will understand.
During one of our largest weeks of volunteers, I was running around the church after breakfast trying to get tools and nearly 50 volunteers from Ohio to four worksites in the North End Neighborhood all by myself. In the midst of all the chaos that I felt was going on, the leader of the group nicely interrupted me and said, “Thank you for being so patient while working with us.” I felt like a large weight was lifted off of my shoulders and I could breathe again. I realized at that moment that it was all right for me to not know what exactly was going on or know which volunteers needed what at that very moment. I appreciated the fact that the group leader shared that with me and I was then able to see some of the small things that go unnoticed throughout the workday, like the sunshine and smiling faces of homeowners.
Since then, I have embraced the moments where I have had little knowledge of what was happening at the time being or what the next day may look like. It has been in those times of ambiguity where I have been able to accept the fact that I do not have to always know what is going on and can trust in God that all is well and His plans are always greater than mine.
My time in Detroit is ending soon and I know that I will miss this city as I venture up to the Upper Peninsula for school next month. I hope to call Detroit my home in the future and cannot thank the Motown Mission staff and people of Detroit enough for welcoming me into this beautiful city, even when I was unsure why God brought me here or what His plans were for me.
Later I will understand the significance of my work in Detroit and why it has left such a great impact on my life.
Kirsten Zielinski is a junior at Northern Michigan University, studying nursing.