These past few weeks have been very difficult for everyone. Our world has been rocked in ways that many of us have never seen. For safety reasons, all the Fellows have been moved back to their homes and are beginning to embark upon the journey of “virtual fellows” online. This has never been done in the history of the Impact 360 Fellows program. We as Fellows have had many thoughts and emotions about this change. At first, we were disappointed and sad. This was not what any of us were expecting when we first started the program. We were leaving our friends, also leaving behind the classroom experience and even the independent life we had all come to love.

When we got home, the confusion did not end. The workspaces we had were different. Our family interactions changed. The privilege we had of community being available and active all day every day began to involve more effort. At this point, we began trying to find and start our new rhythms. Our daily routines and the rhythms we had developed and been practicing looked differently in a new schedule. Yes, we still had class and discipleship groups, but it was more up to us to decide how involved we want to be in the community and in what God still has to teach us.

For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

Psalm 66:10-12

If we will let Him mold us still, through these confusing, and even scary, changes, He is ready and longing to shape us.

One new way we have the ability to grow is by testing our character. In online classes, it is much easier for us to “check out” mentally. We can skip reading books. We can ignore what the speaker is saying. We can choose to isolate ourselves from the relationships we have cultivated for months. There are many ways to have our brains believe the mindset that the Fellows experience is over with, but that is an idea that is completely false and was planted in our minds for evil.

“James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:1-4

This experience we have been presented with is an opportunity for us to grow and develop our character. It challenges both what we have learned so far and our integrity, and it actually sets us up to continue to grow while at home and being thrust back into ordinary life.