Monday, November 24, 2014

The Great Turkey Adventure

This past Tuesday Night, we held the Second Annual Thanksgiving Potluck at the Mission.  Students sign up to bring a dish to share - Pinterest creations, family recipes, Smith's pies, etc. - and we all gather together to eat and laugh and celebrate the holidays.  This year, I was blown out of the water by the amount of food students brought and the creativity and time students poured into their dishes.  One girl, Courtney, brought AMAZING mac 'n cheese, and our guy, Ty, brought HOMEMADE pumpkin pies.  What?? How awesome is that??

Well, Bryn and I signed up to bring the turkey.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I, Sarah Worland, probably the least gifted culinary student around Albuquerque, volunteered to cook a turkey.  Honestly, I was banking on Bryn's kitchen skills to offset my lack of them. Anyway, I went home last weekend and thought I would gather some tips from my mother (Carol Worland - Master Chef Extraordinaire).

Saturday, I casually brought up the fact that I was bringing turkey to the potluck. Our conversation proceeded as follows...

"Have you bought your turkey yet?" - Mom
"Umm. No." - Me
"It should have been thawing about, well, yesterday." - Mom

GREAT.  Thus commenced the Great Turkey Adventure.  Quick thawing in cold water for 8 hours, pulling necks out of fowl (ha) cavities, crippling anxiety that I was going to under cook and/or poison students.  All in all, the turkey actually ended up delicious (yay!)...after, of course, a few frantic calls between Bryn and I because the thermometer didn't pop out of the bird (boo!).

As I kept thinking about this though - and I won't lie, patting myself and Bryn on the back a little bit ;) - my metaphor-inclined brain kicked into high gear.  Was not this endeavor similar to this adventure God has sent me on with Young Life College?

In Isaiah 43:19, God says, "Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?"  This has been a verse that Russ and Jamie have had close to their hearts since they began the Mission 6 years ago in Albuquerque and has also been a comfort to me in the past year as I've set out with Young Life College.

There have been times this semester when I've felt way behind from the get-go...just like with thawing the turkey.

There have been times where I have been nervous and anxious about the logistics of Tuesday Nights or meeting new students or fundraising...just like I was afraid of under cooking the turkey.

There have been times where the thermometer hasn't popped up during the semester, when I have been waiting for God to show up, putting Him on my timeline and thinking certain situations should be "done" when I want them to be.

But from this November perspective, I also see a savory semester in my wake, seasoned not with rosemary or rubbed with olive oil but instead full of rich relationships, students renewing or growing in their walk with the Lord, and laughter - lots of laughter.  Sometimes, I think God asks us to jump out in faith, ask for some advice along the way (thanks, Mom!), and embrace the new thing that He's doing.  Maybe that's starting up Young Life College at UNM.  Maybe that's inviting a difficult coworker to lunch.  Maybe it's cooking a turkey.  Whatever it is, I do know that these new things God does often lead to thankfulness in us.  Thankfulness for students who brought food to share in the midst of a hectic week.  Thankfulness for the three guys who stayed for close to an hour after everyone had left to help clean up the house.  And thankfulness that God allows me to be a part of this incredible community forming and solidifying at UNM.

Happy Thanksgiving, fam.  Thanks for reading.  I pray that you have a full week, in so many ways :)


Monday, November 17, 2014


Dear Friend,

"Do what you are most passionate about."

What does that even mean. Just kidding, I know what it means. But when someone tells you this in response to your mid-college life crisis and you feel you must choose a major before you get kicked out of the University (FACT, they can kick you out*), "what does that even mean" seems like the appropriate response to say and to say with the appropriate amount of sass.

I know when people say this, they mean well but sometimes I wish this didn't sound so vague and cliche. I didn't know what I was passionate about in college. I liked a lot of things. I hoard collect a lot of things. But I would hardly say I'm passionate about Pez dispensers, bottle caps (not the candy. Definitely not the candy), ticket stubs, and other countries currencies. Or maybe I am. But they don't offer Bachelor of Arts in Pez or world currency, and these interests didn't help me pick a major with confidence. I changed several times due to the fear I was choosing wrong. But I didn't know what a wrong major really was and I didn't know what it would feel like to pick the right one or if feelings are involved at all.

May 17th, 2014 I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Communication. This way I could explain and communicate my thought process behind my several degree changes, my indecisiveness in life, and my lack of awareness when it came to my passions with certainty and effectiveness. It wasn't long after this I found out what I am passionate about. And I'm not sure how much of it has to do with my degree.


I couldn't simplify it to one but maybe because life wouldn't be life without all three.

One of my best friends wasn't a believer when I met him. He was up for anything and that is how he ended up at a Young Life summer camp. He had one friend and one crush going to camp and that was enough to get him to hear the Gospel for the first time. No previous experiences with Jesus, religion, bible teachings, etc. but he heard truth and responded "yes" to truth.

Another good friend of mind was raised in a Christian home - her dad is a pastor. I met her while serving at camp 2010. She loved Jesus and she put him in her speech, her drawings, and her music. It drew people in.

This one-of-my-best-friends met this another-good-friend-of-mine in May 2013. They saw each other 10 days of that summer, entered a relationship knowing (thinking) they would be apart for two years due to travel abroad plans, spent a year 5,125 miles away from each other, and now 7 months away from two years since first seeing each other, they are still together - growing closer to God and learning about Jesus.

I don't understand it. I would never do such a thing (never say never), but this is why I'm passionate about people and Jesus. Everyone has a story, unique to them and I love a good story. I'm passionate about Jesus because He makes the stories full of life. Only Jesus could change the heart of a kid the first time he hears the Gospel in preparation for the girl he will meet four years later so he will be able to lead her spiritually. Two different people, two different stories, two different backgrounds brought together by one God.

Lastly. I'm passionate about creating. It can be in any medium, I just want to create. I used to draw a lot. I painted once or twice, I've sculpted with clay, snapped some pictures, and now I also make films, but it wasn't the paint or the camera I loved but the finished product. I look at what I created and stand in awe. I believe I feel this way because I am made in the image of The Creator and He looks at the people He creates and stands in awe. Creation of the world is good but it wasn't until He created man that He said His creation is very good**.

I am more than excited that Sarah has asked me to help out with this blog for Young Life College, to share my thoughts and life with you all. This opportunity will allow me to experience all three of my passions since this community Young Life College has created is filled with people and Jesus and now I get to write for them. If you ever want to chat about these posts, life, Jesus, creating, or anything at all, feel free to come up to me on Tuesday nights and share a story or two.

in His grip,


-noun: strong and barely controllable emotion.
-"a man of impetuous passion"

*This is in fact, not a fact.

**Genesis 1:31

Monday, November 10, 2014

In the Midst

Dear Friend,

If I could, I would love to welcome you into my home, sit down on my comfy couch with you, hand you a cup of coffee (or tea - your choice, I have a rather impressive supply of each), and tell you all about the adventure I am having with Young Life College here at the University of New Mexico.  But, because we are spread far and wide, let me instead welcome you into this virtual sitting room.  Maybe you can grab a cup 'a joe from your own kitchen.  Regardless, I still have the opportunity to tell you about God's work at UNM.

I cannot believe it is November.  Our typical Tuesday Night gatherings have wrapped up, and we have a dinner at Frontier, a Thanksgiving potluck, and an ugly sweater Christmas party before Winter Break is upon us.  This semester has been a whirlwind of activity, growth, relationships, and perseverance, and in the midst of it all, God has been ever present.

In the midst.  This phrase keeps surfacing, in several different ways, in the things I am reading and experiencing.  Allow me to explain.

"In the midst" can mean that you are surrounded by something.  I have felt surrounded by God's faithfulness this semester as He has provided an incredible support network for Young Life College - that means you!  I covet your prayers and the work you are doing, near and far, for the students and the campus I love so dearly.  Thank you!

"In the midst" can give the impression of experiencing something.  I am in the midst of learning tough but valuable life lessons.  I am in the midst of knowing God in new ways.  I am in the midst of laughter, tears, and deep friendship.

Finally, "in the midst" can imply that someone is in the process of doing something.  God is in the midst of a great work not only at UNM but also in the entire city of Albuquerque.

And therein is the purpose for this blog.  My friend Josh and I want to share this Great Work with you as best as we can in this virtual sitting room.  We'll post on Monday mornings - maybe an update from the week's activities, maybe something we're discovering for ourselves - but please tune in. We are so excited to have you with us on this journey, as you join us "in the midst."


"The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." Zephaniah 3:17