Well, I have just returned home from my second visit as a National Consultant for Chi Omega, and this trip was pretty different than my first. My team and I were re-colonizing our chapter at Georgia Southern University. For all you non-Greek terminology folk out there, essentially we were starting a new chapter. This meant marketing and interviewing all day every day, and it definitely had its challenges! Having my team with me made the challenges not-so-scary though, and I knew that there was purpose in Chi Omega coming back to Georgia Southern. From day one, it was so clear that God was present at GSU and that his hand was blessing us the whole trip.
The first night we were at Georgia Southern, the team and I were invited to a prayer walk the Greek community was hosting. We didn’t really know what to expect, but we were excited to go and honored to have been invited to this event, even before Chi Omega was back on their campus. The night began with worship and prayer, then we lit candles and walked up and down the Greek row, stopping at houses as we felt led, and prayed for them. Groups of men and women were gathering around houses different from their own praying for them, asking that God would move mightily on Greek row to unite them all.
Our team stopped at the empty lot where we have a sign that reads, Future Home of Chi Omega at GSU, and whoever felt led prayed over our future gals that would soon be here. I asked that God would be present in their friendships and that the women would feel at home in Chi O and feel loved and supported. We continued to walk down the row once we were done, and as we came back past our lot, we saw a group of women with their hands placed on our sign praying for Chi Omega. I may or may not have started crying y’all. I was blown away! Never before had I so clearly seen a group of women pray so boldly for another group of women. Greek life can be such a dark place, but that night, I saw light shining through it like I’ve never seen before. His love was uniting students all throughout Greek life. I knew that God’s hand was in this trip from the very first night and was so humbled that he let me be a part of such incredible kingdom work going on at a college campus.
After that night though, like I said, the trip had its challenges. It is no easy task recruiting and pledging over 200 women who may or may not have even heard of sororities before. We would be in the Georgia heat all day, every day stopping students to tell them about Chi Omega and to see if they were interested. Intermixed with all of the marketing were the one-on-one meetings we would have with women who were indeed interested in learning more. Even though these interviews were brief, that didn’t stop God from moving crazy big. No time constraint has a hold on him! It was beautiful to see how I would talk to girls in the right place and the right time to give them the encouragement they may have needed that day.
And even though it can be a bit awkward to stop someone on the street and talk to them about a sorority, hearing those women respond later and say, Thank you so much for stopping me, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my conversation with you, shows me how faithful God is when we work hard. He has a purpose y’all, and his purpose for these 200+ women we pledged was for them to join Chi Omega. I am beyond humbled that I got to play a small role in getting them started on that journey.
It was the coolest thing to see how the words God gave me to speak to the women, whether one-on-one or in front of a crowd, were used to help them see something in themselves that they may never have seen before. One of my goals was to show them that they are incredible women no matter if they ended up joining Chi Omega or not, because they are valued and loved. The relationships that I built at Georgia Southern allowed me to pour into these women, even if it was just briefly, and that fulfills me greatly. Man, God just flexes his grace to me big time by blessing me with remarkable new friendships that simultaneously challenge and encourage me.
It wouldn’t be a good blog without some funnies and lessons from the trip though…
1) There are THREE different locations of the Statesboro-Mexican fod fave restaurant, El Sombrero. The best one is the one that looks like the Taj Mahal though. Don’t be discouraged if you get lost, because they are all about three minutes away from the other, so you can quickly get to the El Sombrero of your choice.
2) Cookout has 40 different flavors of milkshakes AND you can combine them…I don’t even need to say how excited I was about that.
3) People in Statesboro are incredibly hospitable and friendly. One of our advisors there had us over for a low-country boil one night and it was not only delicious, but so wonderful to be in her home. My girl Dani from Maine was struggling with the whole concept of such a meal though. Hearing her attempt to say low country boil in a southern accent about killed me.
4) Also, I guess they don’t have Sonic in Maine because I took Dani to Sonic and she didn’t like it sooooo there’s that.
5) We stayed in a Hampton Inn during our time in Statesboro. This is funny because it was located on Brampton Avenue. So it was the Hampton on Brampton. I, at least, thought it was funny. So funny that our first day there I told a good-looking stranger to, Have a nice stay at the Hampton on Brampton! Who. Am. I.
6) At our info sessions, we all introduced ourselves and gave fun facts. So, when I introduced myself, my Texas pride got the best of me, and I excitedly asked the crowd, Who else is from Texas?!
CRICKETS. No one….and then one poor soul raised her hand, and was probably embarrassed to do so after I had just made a fool of myself in front of them all. Heck that girl probably wasn’t even from Texas, she just raised her hand to make me feel better about my failed attempt to connect with my audience. Lesson learned—not everyone is from Texas.
I learned one more big lesson at Georgia Southern too though.
At our invitational event, I had the honor of getting to talk to the women about my Chi Omega experience and what it has taught me so far. The three biggest lessons I shared with them were to dream big, love well, and choose joy. Not only did my time at Georgia Southern reiterate the importance of these three lessons to me, but it taught me a new one.
My experience at GSU taught me to never give up. There were days and nights when I just didn’t think we could get the amount of girls we wanted to get. There were moments when I felt too tired or too confused or too overwhelmed to try and talk to one more girl walking down the sidewalk. But my team would not let me give up. They were determined to reach our goal, and they were not going to quit until we made it happen. They didn’t just tell me to “suck it up and do it” though, they listened to me and loved me and motivated me.
My friend KJ is the best encourager I know. She has a way of being extremely genuine and personal in her encouragement, and she can read exactly when I need it. KJ, along with the rest of my team, was working their bootys off on this visit, and she inspired me to not give up no matter how many rejections I had received that day. I learned the importance of persevering and working hard at something that may have not been the most fun at times. I learned the value of communicating when you need encouragement or help and not being ashamed to receive it. When we lift up and motivate one another, it gives us the energy we need to keep going at it. To talk to that one more girl whose life may be changed by Chi Omega. We dreamed for a big ol’ charter class, and because we chose joy daily, loved one another well, and never gave up—we achieved our goal. It was worth every minute of it.
Now we have a charter class of over 200 outstanding women at Georgia Southern. That’s 200 more women whose lives will be changed for the better because of Chi Omega. 200 more women who will love and inspire one another to be the best they can be. And that’s 200 more women I get to call my sisters (ugh cheesy I know) who I already love so dang much. Welcome, Nu Kappa!