Hi! My name is Sara Pilling and I am a student at Presbyterian College. This summer I am a part of Leadership Project or “LP” and I’m making this blog to update people on my journey here (when I go somewhere with wifi).
The theme of this summer’s training is called “By Faith”. Throughout the summer, me and 100 other college students are working full time jobs, studying the Bible, evangelizing, worshipping, and growing in Christ, all while somehow relating to the specific theme of living “By Faith”. It wasn’t until the first weekend that I really got the first glimpse of this theme.
Part of being in the heart of Dyrtle, SC includes staying in a questionable motel right by the strip. I thought we were all in our own little safety bubble, with our very own security guard after curfew hours and doors that automatically locked. That bubble was quickly burst when the second Sunday morning, at 3:45 a.m., I woke up to the screams of my roommate and the entrance of Campus Outreach staff into our room, along with a concerned security guard. As I rubbed my eyes, I could see the lights of police cars pulling into the motel. I had no idea what was happening, until my crying roommate gasped out the words “He touched me. He touched me. Someone is in here”. We were removed from the room and answered questions from the police until around 6:00 a.m. The man broke into our room and a joining room using some type of crow bar, and only managed to get away with cash, but the security guard never saw him, so the likelihood of his arrest became slim to none almost immediately. My roommate only saw his shadow standing over her and then run into the kitchen, so no one knows what he looks like, or where he is.
The weird thing about it all was that I was at peace the entire time. I felt God with me in the dark as I was talking to the officers and I almost wanted to smile. I had been praying for His peace for awhile and it seems that He blessed me with it in the most crucial time. My roommates and I stepped outside and began praying Psalm 23. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me” rolled off of our tongues and I truly believed it. What I learned through this whole experience is that following God means letting go of EVERYTHING, including the expectation of safety, to follow Him. The Lord blesses us, but ultimately, what man intended for evil, God intended for good (Genesis 50:20). As the sovereign Lord, everything He does is fair and good, while we tend to think “well that doesn’t seem fair, so God must not have intended for it”. The truth is that the man who broke in our room led us straight to the Lord’s arms. I realized in that moment that I could not do anything on my own, so I threw my hands up to the Lord to catch me.
After that morning my mom emailed my pastor from my home church, Chris Warner, to pass on my requests for prayers. I read through his response and felt grace pour out from his words. He talked about his hope for the intruder to find Christ through his hurt. The words stopped my heart and I felt my stomach drop. I realized that as followers of Christ, and students training for evangelism, that we would have a passion for praying that this man would also find the Lord. Admittingly, that was not running through my head as I signed police papers and called my parents. However, following the Lord has never been said to be easy.
As I move on from this experience and get back into my routine here, I have found more grace to give and more of my life to completely hand over to the Lord. As it is written “he persevered because he saw him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27).