Here is my blog for this week. It is a reflection over my time here at the church, hope you enjoy 🙂

I have now been in Coeur d’Alene for 9 weeks and a lot has happened since I arrived. I taught Sunday School almost every Sunday, I co-lead the middle and high school mission trips, and I helped make Vacation Bible School (VBS) run smoothly. If time travel was possible and I could tell my past self all that I have done this summer, I would be in utter disbelief.

After completing my Freshman year of college, I felt a little disappointed. I was disappointed that I had not changed as much as I thought I would’ve. I grew up in public school and did not have many loyal Christian buddies and then I entered college and I became friends with other strong Christians. I had a realization that for the first time in my life I was not the most holistic person in the room. I felt inferior to their theological level. I wanted to speak up during discussions, but everything I had to contribute seemed to pale in comparison to their long-stringing metaphors describing John Calvin’s view of predestination. My pride was certainly humbled. The school year ended with more confusion than answers and I was drained, so I drove home and was comforted by my friends and family who helped bring me back to earth. Then after 3 weeks I said my farewells to my parents and friends and drove 7 hours to little Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I came with no expectations. I knew I would be working with the youth and children’s program, but the exact details were a mystery to me. Immediately, on the first day I was pulled from service and asked to help with the Sunday School. This was when I was told that I would be teaching Sunday School, co-leading a Vacation Bible school in a church with a new children’s pastor, and be a guiding voice in the middle and high school youth groups and mission trips. I’m not even going to try and pretend that I was strong and confident.

Now that I am on the other side, I can confidently say that the only reason I am still here and alive is because God has been gracious to me. I can 100% say that I learned more about myself and life in 9 weeks at 1stPresbyterian Church, Coeur d’Alene than 9 months in Spokane. People keep telling me how thankful they are that I was here this summer to help the church, but I always thank them in a state of confusion because I feel that I gained far more than I ever gave.

From teaching Sunday School, I gained confidence in my ability to teach and figured out my personal style of teaching. During VBS I discovered my love for little and older children. When I was on the mission trips, I lost my protective layer of pride and learned what it means to be a humble servant of Jesus, and what evangelism means for me. I cannot understate the influence from my host families who became dear mentor figures and close friends to me. Being in the church taught me how to love people with the best of my abilities and to find joy when working alongside drastically different personality types. The youth reinvigorated me to be the kind of mentor who runs in the Coeur d’Alene lake in overalls when all the signs are telling me “no.” From Coeur d’Alene I learned that life is steady and busy, yet there is beauty everywhere; I just have to take a closer look.

I am not the person I was when I entered the doors of 1st Presbyterian church on June 9th, but I can confidently say that Jesus put me here to serve and in return I gained everything I had been craving. Thank you for welcoming me into your doors, don’t you dare think this is the last you’ll see of me! God bless you all.



  1. Reply
    Shastina Blackston says

    We love you Sami! I know my girls will treasure the friendship and mentor moments you shared this summer! We are blessed to have had you, keep in touch!

  2. Reply
    Emily Rogers says

    What a wonderful testimony of growth! You have been a ray of sunshine, and you will be missed!

  3. Reply
    Carolyn Keefer says

    Thank you Sami for sharing your love and enthusiasm with all of us this summer. You have brightened up every conversation and contact that we have had and I know we will look forward to seeing you come through our doors often! May your coming year of school be filled with great joy and much learning and continued growth. Blessings to you!

  4. Reply
    Teel says

    I love your humility & enthusiasm! You always have a ready smile. The very best to you as you continue in college & the future. We’ll always be glad to see you when you visit! Take care!

  5. Reply
    Karen Schomer says

    It was wonderful getting to know you this summer! Thank You for your contributions to our church and in our lives. We wish you the best in your life adventure and many more of God’s Devine blessings 💕

  6. Reply
    Jackie Velez says

    Sami, you have been such a blessing to us for spending this time here and working with the children. We also enjoyed having you stay in our home for a couple of weeks and getting to know you. You certainly brighten up your surroundings. We wish you a great school year at Whitworth. We also feel certain that you have a great future ahead of you.

  7. Reply
    Charles Branch says

    Thank you, Sami. Your blog is a joy to read, just as you are a joy and blessing to us. You’re always welcome to return. Keep learning every day, for God wants us to develop an adult mind, while keeping a child’s heart. The best of futures to you…

  8. Reply
    Mary Ann Welsh says

    Thank you, Sami! Our church family has been blessed by you & the other awesome youth who have spent their summers interning here! We are so thrilled for your perspective, energy, & love of children to share with us & our youth. Keep up the great work & have incredible year!

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