Kendall Whortan is graduating from Appalachian State University this weekend and will be moving to Kernersville, NC, to serve as aquatics director for a nearby YMCA. She reflects on how she first came to theHeart and how much she has grown in her faith as a five-semester intern.
If someone would have told me at the beginning of my college career that I was going to spend over two years as an intern at theHeart, I would never have believed him or her.
The first Sunday of my freshman year, I was picked up by my coworker and immediately told I was going to church! I didn’t grow up going to church regularly, mostly just at Christmas and Easter. So, I was nervous about what to expect as we arrived at Watauga High School.
As soon as I walked in, however, my nerves were calmed and I quickly felt at peace.
For the next three years, I spent Sundays with theHeart as often as possible. And there was never a moment that I felt uncomfortable. Each time, as I walked through the doors, it felt like I could take a deep breath and be unapologetically myself.
I quickly got plugged into the life of theHeart through volunteering with Kids Ministry. But I still felt like I wanted to dive deeper. Then I heard about theInternship, and I applied right away. Despite not having a clear picture of all that this discipleship opportunity entailed, I sensed the Lord moving me out of my comfort zone and leading me into a place where I could lean more fully on him.
I wanted to take that big step of faith.
Growing in Faith
Walking through my first semester as an intern, I grew alongside three of my sisters in faith. I also came to better understand vulnerability and service. Learning about worship, rest, and so many other spiritual disciplines together was such a blessing as we sought to further our relationship with the Lord and with our church family.
During this past year, I have had the privilege of serving as the Relational Care Intern under Graham Aitken, our Relational Care Pastor. I have been able to contribute to the growth of the ministries under Relational Care and walk alongside those serving in this area who have such a heart for service and a passion for building a culture of care.
In particular, I have enjoyed developing our Care Community Database that will help to inform our church family of all the amazing resources available in our community.
I have also really enjoyed participating in the Watauga Compassionate Care Initiative (WCCI), a community-wide effort that seeks to create a comprehensive trauma-informed approach to all of our help professionals, educators, and faith leaders.
Throughout my time as an intern, I have learned so many things but one in particular sticks out in my mind.
"I have learned so much about what it means to serve, but I have also been challenged in my ability to receive." — Kendall Whortan
I have learned about the incredible resources available in our community for people in all different walks of life. I am thankful to know so much more about organizations like Hope Pregnancy Center, OASIS, the Children’s Council, and others that work together to provide care at the highest level to the community.
I am both grateful and proud to call this place home.
Living in Community
Though I am graduating and beginning a new chapter in my life, I will always be grateful for this season of living in community at theHeart and finding my passion for serving others. It will always hold a special place in my heart.
The Lord has revealed so much to me throughout my time here, but perhaps most is embracing the idea that it takes a village. It takes a village to grow. It takes a village to serve. But most importantly, to do life, in community, it takes a village that embraces authenticity and vulnerability.
A couple of weeks ago, someone I look up to spoke about a cord. He referenced Ecclesiastes 4:12: “One strand may be overpowered, and two can defend themselves, but a cord of three strands is not quickly broken”.
I think this has so much power.
Our “brokenness”, and the parts of us that society labels as “less than” lead us to isolate ourselves, and be alone. When we come together in community, we bring our strand and come together with others—we create a cord. A cord that is unbreakable.
This semester, I have walked alongside an incredible group of ladies that have taken my individual strand, and created a cord.
"I’m broken, and that’s okay"
Our baggage shouldn’t weigh us down. We should use our stories to lift others up, and create a community that believes in each other, believes in themselves, and reminds us that we were created to move mountains.