Kalyn Brisby is about to begin her Junior year at Oklahoma Christian University. She is working on getting a Social Work degree so that one day she can start a program with similar goals as Fortress. She found out about Fortress through a Career Fair at OCU where we were recruiting interns. Ironically, Kalyn did not attend the fair, but rather saw a pamphlet that her roommate had grabbed and was intrigued by how closely aligned our values were with her dreams for her future career.
Kalyn, like other interns and staff, felt an inspirational fire one day at Fortress during worship time. Coincidentally, her church lesson that week had been about "having faith like a child." "That week at Fortress," she says, "the thought was really hammered home during worship time! Students were singing different songs, but all of a sudden, when "Set a Fire" started playing, the whole place exploded with the sound of singing children. All around me I heard, 'set a fire down in my soul, that I can't contain, that I can't control. I want more of you, God.' It was absolutely amazing to listen to such young hearts singing to God with such fervor. They may not fully comprehend everything that they were saying, but neither were they ashamed of what they were proclaiming either!" Kalyn believes that "we should all have faith like a child and not be ashamed of what we stand for, or to just say 'I need MORE OF YOU GOD!'" Kalyn praises God for the children at Fortress and for what they have taught her this summer!
Some very potent wisdom Kalyn has to share with newcomers to Fortress is to love and be fully invested in the work that you are doing here and with the kids. You have to believe in its purpose in order for it to feel like a successful job. Remembering that we're aiming for long-term goals for these students and that immediate change may not be evident will keep an intern in the right mindset for success. She adds, "Seek God every step of the way because He makes those unbearable days a little more bearable."
Kalyn recognizes that there are hard parts of this job. "Sometimes the kids won't cooperate. Sometimes it rains while we are on Urban Experience. Sometimes it feels like you're not making a difference. But those days that a kid loves what we are doing in class, or a homeless person exhibits so much hope and thanksgiving, or when our building is full of laughter and praise at worship, or when a child just runs up to hug you because they love you--those are the times that you KNOW God is working on and through you." She feels that every negative interaction or experience is matched with a rewarding feeling that you are doing right by God. When that happens, Kalyn is reminded that God has brought her to Fortress and is using her for His purpose!
The hardest part is having patience and keeping calm when you as an authoritative figure are being put to the test. We can feel that! These kids will try to make you crack, but we always remember 'love and logic!'
Kalyn would like to add that this summer's group of interns and staff has been the best she has ever worked with and she will be sad to leave at the end of this week!