A long overdue thank you to the Wesley Foundation.

on August 22, 2011 in School dayz, Scotland with 16 comments by

I was riding the bus on Saturday, listening to a Circuit Riders podcast, and thinking about my impact in the world. [That sounds snobby and prideful… I don’t mean it that way. We all impact. Anyways. Read on, reader.]

I began to think about the fact I’m here in Edinburgh doing ministry to university students. I thought, “I wonder if it would be more effective to be here longterm and doing this or to be in Nashville longterm doing this.”

And then, before I could even stop my brain, I thought, “Eh, Nash is in the Bible Belt. I should be here.”

I almost laughed as I reminded myself, “uh, Annie, YOU are a product of a college ministry in the Bible Belt.”

I can promise you that the ONLY reason I am even here is because of what God did in me while I was involved with the Wesley Foundation at the University of Georgia [smack in the Bible Belt].

For starters, the first opportunity I was given to come to Edinburgh was in May of 2000 on a mission trip with Wesley. So in it’s purest form, it is thanks to Wesley that my heart beats to a Scottish rhythm.

But I mean it deeper than that.

In my five years at Wesley [four years as a student, one year as an intern], I grew spiritually in ways that words can’t express… but let me try. My love for Christ has deeper roots and greater branches because of the investment made in me there. I learned to pray. I learned to fast. I learned to sacrifice. I learned to worship. I learned to endure. I learned to lead, in the easy days and in the hard. I learned to press into God for all He has for me. I learned so many things.

And for years and years before I even got to UGA, there were students and leaders who prayed for me. No, not by name, but they prayed for the students coming to that campus. They prayed that God would pour out His Spirit. They prayed that God would change the world through those who pass through Wesley.

So I just need to say thanks to them. To the ones who fasted for days on end. To the ones who discipled me and led me and taught me. To the ones who never knew me but prayed wholeheartedly for UGA students. To the ones who went faithfully to Wesley when it had 10 students and prayed for more. Then there were 100 and they prayed for more. Then hundreds came, and now over a thousand students are involved in some capacity EVERY WEEK.

As for me, I’m not at Wesley anymore [obvi… I’m 31 🙂] but I am living to show Jesus to the world. Maybe that means just my little sphere of influence or maybe God will make a way for me to show the great big world what Jesus has done for me.

And I know A LOT of people who have passed through Wesley that would say the exact same thing.

It is all thanks to those who went before us. And I can’t thank them enough.

To think that students in the Bible Belt don’t need to be ministered to is ludacrous. I was a student in the Bible Belt and I needed some major work on my heart, y’all. I was ministered to by people who understood that EVERY university student has the potential to make a lasting mark on this planet.

I had a picture in my head in 2002 that I’ve never been able to shake. I saw a river rushing down the UGA campus and spilling with force into the stadium and through the Tate Student Center. So I still pray that for the campus and the need for Christ there still brings tears to my eyes. No, I don’t know many students there anymore and I’m not ministering daily at the Wesley Foundation. But there are students, waiting to be washed clean by the blood of Christ, ready to swim in that river, and they are going to change the world. And I’m going to pray for them.

Because I know what God does when people pray for the students who pass through the Wesley Foundation.

I know, because I am one.

. . . . .

Who do you need to thank for their investment in your life?

16 comments

  1. Sarah
    posted on Aug 22, 2011 at 7:05 AM  |  reply

    Echoes my heart. So much of who I am today is because of what God did in me during my years at Wesley!

  2. Krsiti Kay
    posted on Aug 22, 2011 at 9:23 AM  |  reply

    Amen and amen.

  3. Mattox Miller
    posted on Aug 22, 2011 at 12:01 PM  |  reply

    Presbyterian Center at UGA and Andy Cooke and his ministry.

  4. posted on Aug 22, 2011 at 2:23 PM  |  reply

    Annie, I am a Georgia girl who loves me some dawgs. 🙂 That being said, you are so right! I never went to UGA, but I too have people who poured into my life here in the Bible belt. Thanks for the great reminder!

  5. Wes
    posted on Aug 22, 2011 at 2:36 PM  |  reply

    Sounds like a pretty incredible foundation. #JustSayin

  6. posted on Aug 22, 2011 at 4:14 PM  |  reply

    This is beautiful and so true and exactly how my heart feels, too. 🙂

  7. Face
    posted on Aug 22, 2011 at 4:54 PM  |  reply

    I’ve been thinking a lot abt WF too, as I evaluate wh/not I’m ‘successful’ in Prague. And I always remember how little it took for someone’s life to make a huge impact on me there. Yes, years & years of prayer & worship & teaching, but also the meaningful hugs or laughs that made me feel so loved. Thank you, Lord, for Wesley!

  8. caren
    posted on Aug 22, 2011 at 5:24 PM  |  reply

    Well thank you. Now I’m crying.
    and ps- I’m 32 and still at Wesley. Missing my UGA Wes, but loving SMU.
    Still crying.

  9. Merideth
    posted on Aug 22, 2011 at 6:47 PM  |  reply

    OK, I have no idea how to even begin to comment on this. Almost in teares, like Karen. In response to everything you said…Amen! You are so right that all of us that have been through there would say the same things you just did. It’s an incredibly special family to be a part of. Full of the most amazing people I’ve ever known. My time there was so amazing, and shaped so much of who I am today(as a Christian and person). So much healing happened for me there, and still happens through the relationships that started back then. The Lord blessed me with the best friends I could ask for while I was at Wesley. Friends I still have today, and wouldn’t trade for anything. The unconditional love that came through everyone I knew there is the thing that always stood out to me, and I still treasure it. The Lord continues to use Wesley to stir up things in me. Honestly, I could go on forever on this subject. That’s how special Wesley is to me, and the time we all shared there together. It’s irreplasable.
    Annie, thanks for reminding me of the fac that people prayed for us before we even knew we were going to be students there, and how important it is for us to pray for the current and future students who will be going through that ministry. The Lord has done great things for/through Wesley. Praying for his spirit to continue flowing there, and spill over onto the entire UGA campus. Also, praying that what’s experienced at the UGA Wesley Foundation is experienced in more and more places. It shouldn’t be reserved to just Wesley, but all over for all believers and non-believers to witness/experience. The presence of God.

  10. Jessica
    posted on Aug 22, 2011 at 8:42 PM  |  reply

    So, so grateful to the Lord for how he worked in my at Wesley. Ruined me for life in the best of ways. Makes me cry. Thanks you, Lord. And thanks, Annie for the reminder.

  11. Katie
    posted on Aug 23, 2011 at 7:18 AM  |  reply

    So true. Daniel and I still talk about things that were planted in our hearts at Wesley. It was the first time I had heard that God had a Kingdom destiny for ME, not just for people in general. Then I went through the post-Wesley depression after I left UGA and wasn’t surrounded by accountability, worship, and hearts on fire for God all the time!

  12. amy
    posted on Aug 23, 2011 at 8:08 AM  |  reply

    yes, God used Wesley to change my life–I first heard a guy speak about India in Wesley and that night I knew I had to be a part of what He was doing there. I learned to hear His voice, even more, I learned to wait until He spoke. I learned that He is good when my circumstances scream otherwise. My heart was stripped down there and re-built by Him with new understanding of who He was, of His character, of His love and acceptance of me….shall I go on? 12 years later I minister to college age students in Costa Rica and I LOVE what I do because I learned to chase Him wherever, NO MATTER THE COST!!
    xoxoxo
    ps. I remember when you first came to Wesley–my mini-me 🙂

  13. shireen eldridge
    posted on Aug 23, 2011 at 3:27 PM  |  reply

    Thanks Annie for the reminder. Micah and I talk about our time there and how God moved. Such a special time in our lives. It is so good for my soul to remember those times and be thankful for how God has changed me.

  14. Tammy H
    posted on Aug 24, 2011 at 11:45 PM  |  reply

    Great Post Annie!! Thanks for writing it. Absolutely loved my time there. Wouldn’t be in India loving on 48 children if it not for the Wesley Foundation (or more specifically God working through the Wesley Foundation). I was one of the ones there when we had only 100 students. Everytime I go back there to speak, I’m undone with what God has done and is still doing.

  15. posted on Aug 25, 2011 at 3:06 PM  |  reply

    just sent my first born to UGA 2 weeks ago. she is so excited about being there & texts me frequently telling me “mom, i just met another girl that loves the Lord”!
    i love that you still pray for the campus!!

  16. kim
    posted on Aug 30, 2011 at 9:10 PM  |  reply

    Thanks for this…I was there, too. 1984-88. I have great stories of the Spirit’s work in and even through us all! So glad to know our hearts are linked together in a love for Jesus, our campus and the hearts of the young people who are there.

    So appreciative of all who poured into me during that incredible season of my life at Wesley and other Christian organizations on campus. This post is a super reminder and is bringing those faces back before my mind’s eye. I now do college ministry in Alabama – Birmingham. It is still the joy of my life!

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