May: Goodbyes & New Beginnings

By Partnership Coordinator, Nicole Chick

For Next Step Staff, the month of May is usually filled with tons of summer planning and lots of excitement as we prepare to train and teach the Summer Staff about the communities they will be serving in for the summer. The month of May is typically spent project planning, crafting together summer schedules, finalizing outreach event details, and a lot of checking off to-dos. It’s a month of anticipation for a summer filled with the Lord working and moving in communities and the hearts of volunteers. May is spent in expectant prayer as we lift up the staff, volunteers, partners, community members, and all uncertainties to the Lord, trusting and knowing He is going to do amazing things. May is busy. May is emotional. May can be tough.

For me, May is filled with quite a few more to-dos and more emotions than normal. May is the month I say goodbye to Milwaukee and the community I unexpectedly fell in love with three years ago. May is a month of hard goodbyes and new beginnings for me, but more than anything May is a month where I reflect on the Lord’s faithfulness, His sovereignty, His provision, and His unconditional love and grace as He has walked me through life here in Milwaukee.

I remember May 2014 as I stepped out in faith to serve in a community I knew nothing about and that was completely unfamiliar to my experiences back in Massachusetts. I remember how the Lord wrecked my heart as I witnessed the brokenness of the city while simultaneously empowering me to love and serve with a fierce passion as leaders and mentors in the city inspired me with the hope of Christ. I remember the transformation in my heart as I spoke boldly to others for the first time about Christ, as I learned to lead others with a God-empowered confidence, and as I took the time to invest deeply in relationships with others.

I remember May 2015 as I once again stepped out in faith, but this time to make Milwaukee home, not just for a summer, but for as long as God would have me. I remember the fear I felt not knowing where I would live, starting from scratch to build friendships, and going from small town to city living. I remember having to rely on God like never before and through lonely times, transitions, and so many uncertainties I was forced to trust because it was all I could do. I remember the tears and amazement as I would see God work and provide like I never expected. I remember the peace and assurance He gave me as I made decisions, built new partnerships, and restored broken relationships. I remember the hope I felt through summer projects, outreach events, and partnerships developing in the city that proved to be life changing and life giving to so many.

These past three years of loving and serving this city have been the most challenging and life-changing years of my life. God has shown me all things are possible with Him and through Him. God has taught me that His plans and purpose prevail and all it requires is humble submission to His will and clinging to our desperate need for Him every single day. God is good and He is leading me back home to Massachusetts and is calling me, once again, to take another step of faith. With all He has taught me these years in Milwaukee, I am stepping out, trusting Him fully, and so excited to see what He can empower me to do next.

As for Milwaukee, my love for the city is not going anywhere. I am honored and forever grateful to have met so many leaders, families, and organizations who are fighting for their city. God is taking back the city and revival has started. Praise the Lord His plan and purpose for Next Step in Milwaukee! I cannot wait to hear how He continues to restore Milwaukee through those who serve and partner together for His glory.