by Robin Cumpston
Peninsula Fellows Leadership Team Member
Special Events Coordinator
I became a “quasi” member of the Fellows leadership team when Mark Shaw, our director, asked if I’d consider heading up the Kick-off and Graduation banquets. I say “quasi” member because my role is basically food service; nothing as important as mentoring or being a host family. Now, don’t get me wrong, food is something a lot of Christians consider an integral part of fellowship. But my role can be more about elbow grease than brain matter – especially when the guest list has 75 to 100 people. Our leadership team is composed of genuine born leaders but I consider myself a “worker bee.” Even so, I joined the Fellows team asking myself if I could really be a part of the team, or would I just do my part whenever the time comes. Here’s my short story how that unspoken question was answered.
It was the first or second leadership team meeting I’d attended, and as the team discussed what the fellows program would entail, I felt a nudging about someone that might be a good candidate for the program. I have a lot of ideas. Usually, dark or fearful thoughts crowd them and they get filed away into the section of the brain that collects cobwebs. First dark thought: Who am I to suggest a candidate? I’m just the food service personnel! The nudging: What if the Lord is really in this? Dark thoughts: This team is full of people much more qualified, much more spiritual than me who should be identifying candidates. Maybe I should just keep my thoughts to myself. The nudging: This someone is near and dear to you. Dark thought: Maybe it’s a mistake. And on and on the battle went until after the meeting I had just enough nerve to ask the director, “What about Kathryn Lott?” I think I must have spilled out several reasons why I thought she’d be perfect. The director said, yes, why don’t YOU ask her and tell her what YOU know about the program. Dark thoughts: Me? You’re kidding, right. What do I know – I’m the food service personnel!
As the days rolled on we (this includes my husband, who, by default and on a regular basis, gets to suffer through my fearful turmoils) needed to get in touch with Kathryn to see if she was interested – time was fleeting. Dark thoughts: What if it’s a bad idea? The nudging: What if it’s the right time in Kathryn’s life for something like this? Dark thoughts: What if she leaves her job all the way over in South Dakota and it turns out to be a terrible idea? She’ll have nothing and it will be all my fault. The nudging: What if it equips her and gives her new ideas and good things? We prayed and asked for direction and eventually, I stopped agonizing. And as we presented the opportunity to Kathryn, there was peace, there was ownership, investment, and a little more belonging than just being the food service personnel. Kathryn said that she would investigate, pray and consider it. So we prayed too that the Lord would lead her into the decision He desired what was best for her. After all – the decision wasn’t mine, it belonged to God and to Kathryn. It’s sort of like presenting the gospel to someone and then praying and trusting the Spirit to work.
We were overjoyed when Kathryn told us her decision was “yes.” We’d get a chance to see her again, help if needed, and know that we’d followed through (albeit with a lot of questioning) to help a young lady in the next chapter of her life. I count it as one of the defining moments of last year. A chance to help grow a program, grow a person, and grow in faith.
I beam whenever I see the Fellows at Peninsula Community Chapel or hear a report about how they are doing. Though the Coronavirus has derailed the prospects of a graduation banquet this year, the plans for a creative, virtual celebration are underway. While I know they are busy with lots of studying, serving, working, and growing – I think of all the ways Kathryn and the fellows are preparing to “Transform the marketplace by connecting their work to the eternal work of God.”
Yep, I’m the food service personnel on the team and I had the privilege of knowing and inviting a perfect candidate to consider the first Peninsula Fellows program and make our first year a wonderful success! Perhaps the Lord is leading you to tell a young 20-something college graduate about the Peninsula Fellows program? YOU might just be the best source for the next class of Peninsula Fellows!