After one year of secular college I was feeling discontent with my life, and interested in a potential career in Christian ministry. My parents drove me down to IHOP for the fire in the night internship (FITN). I really loved the intensity of devoting my life to God and praying in the night. I easily managed the nights schedule. After FITN, I can't remember if I joined staff or just jumped into the school. I think it was the school, but I assumed a posture of being staff. I know attended the monthly staff meetings-- I eagerly anticipated them. I couldn't wait to hear what vision/encouragement /direction from the pulpit was going to be given next. I always felt bolstered for the tasks at hand and confident that this was an amazing ministry to be a part of. Somehow, I continued on there 6 years, the whole time living well below poverty. I remember my monthly budget for groceries was $50. In order to stay within budget I shopped at discount stores and the farmers market (things I still do with delight today), and my diet subsisted of beans, vegetables, and rice. I was very thin, and later became sick with a chronic fatigue at the tail end of my time there.. I am thankful I was able to get medical help, supplements, and a our fuller nutritious diet when I returned home. I look back in shock that I lived on so little. I thought I was happy, but it took me a long time after leaving IHOP to be okay with buying myself things. In fact, I had a prayer time at my local church where a powerful woman of prayer broke off a spirit of poverty from me. Ever since then my mindset of how I viewed money completely changed. I am not saying I got a spirit of poverty at IHOP (though it's possible) but I am saddened to think that after 6 years at such a "prophetic" and "spirit-filled" ministry/community did nothing to confront that in me, and truthfully really only encouraged it in me. I am additionally shocked to remember that the is a food shelf ministry within IHOP. No it is not to bless and feed the surrounding community as you might expect, it's a ministry to those who work and live at IHOP. Povery is the norm, so much so that they have grocery stores and food vendors donate on a weekly basis food to feed ihop staff and students. "Mana 4 U" they called it. The community in IHOP's midst is hurting so badly they need a food shelf ministry. My heart hurts to even write that. I had heard back around 2011 that students and staff would try to sell their blood or plasma for a little extra cash. The blood banks stopped accepting IHOPPER donations because their nutrition levels were too low.

- Student and Staff2008-2013