DR 2012 — July 1st (Journal #3)

1:45 pm
Church this morning was really fun! I understood much more than I thought I would, considering the Pastor (Noe’s brother) spoke REALLY fast when he got excited. 🙂 They have the congregation bring their offerings and tithes forward during the offertory song. I thought that was really neat and that we should do that! It brings the body together more and shows how supportive the community is.
Lunch was really good and after that I talked with J.J. He tested my Spanish memory verses from Romans and teased me when I messed up. 😛 It’s not like he had any memory verses in English to back himself up, though! 😉 It was pretty entertaining, anyway.
Kyle and I are going to write a song! 🙂 In Spanish, hopefully. We’ll see.

10:20 pm
Tonight at ministry in Hatillo I gave my testimony! I even gave it in Spanish. 😀 Es muy divertido! Kyle and I sang 2 songs in Spanish as a duet, too, instead of our group doing the puppets (this ministry was more geared towards teens, not little kids). That was pretty powerful, and the Dominicans really liked it. I liked that during their worship the words were on the screen this time so that I could sing along! A girl I met named Sylvia really seemed touched tonight. She hugged me afterwards when we said goodbye.
Father, be with those teens. They need You, especially during the summer when they don’t have a lot to do and could get into trouble.
Tomorrow half of our team gets up really early to go do the Foundation! 🙂 Help us to sleep really well!!

DR 2012 — June 30 (Journal #2)

7:10 am
Father, thank You for Noe and his insight. I am poor, Father. I feel inadequate to do what You call me to do. I don’t speak Spanish well. I can’t always relate to others. Give me words and the ability to relate with the people I meet today.
Abba, give me compassion and a tender, moldable heart to be open to Your will and to the people and situations I meet and see today. Give me Your love and help me to see them the way You see them. Break my heart.
Father, give me humility and help me to see Your big picture. Show me just a small glimpse of Your plan to put me in my place, to give me truth about who I am and who You are.
Thank You for Your love. Thank You for blessing me; continue to bless me and my life. I give my life to You for Your purposes.
I love You, Jesus!!

1:06 pm
This morning we started building panels for the chapel! I cut wood with Kiersten all morning; it was really fun! I really enjoy the building. It’s been a blast to learn more Spanish and get to know Crismery and the other girls, Perla and Ange. Perla and I traded Bibles this afternoon and tried reading verses aloud to each other! It was really funny to hear how she said certain words, and I’m sure I sounded pretty funny, too. 🙂
We have eaten really good food thus far and I think we’ll go get ice cream tonight!
Abba, thank You for new friends and beautiful language.

4:25 pm
We went to Tres Ojos Caves this afternoon; they were really pretty! I talked to Crismery on the bus there and back; my Spanish is improving quite a bit! 🙂 Tonight we will do ministry and have fun with kids! Yay! 😀 So excited!!

11:00 pm
Abba, thank You. Ministry was absolutely amazing. When we first arrived, there were kids swarming the bus. We played games with them and asked all their names. I played a hand game where they count numbers but skip numbers with “8” in them. I messed up the first 2 times because I didn’t understand how to play but I finally understood the 3rd time how the game worked and I ended up winning (with another girl)! Most of the little kids don’t know all of their numbers yet… that’s probably why I did so well.
Those people worship like I have never seen before! They dance and shout; the children shout at the top of their lungs! They have no books or screens, so they know all of the songs by heart. They have so little, yet they know that they have God. They don’t just sing the words; they sing with their hearts and truly mean everything they sing. Their joy is so apparent and visible on their faces and in their voices even though we can’t always understand the words.
When we did our mimes, they were completely silent and riveted on our movements. Everyone was mesmerized by them. Father, the weight of all those things, the signs I was carrying in the mime… I understood tonight. Abba, as Brandon (Christ) lifted each one off of me, I felt the weight lifted. I knew what it was to let You take the worries, cares, sins, and burdens from me. I know again intimately what it is to give You all and let go of these burdens and silly things that I meditate upon. Remind me when I do that to give it over to You. You are more than capable and willing to take it ALL for me! Amen, LORD Jesus.
As we left, the pastor said something that stuck in my mind:
“The President doesn’t come here. The mayor doesn’t come here. The government doesn’t come here. You came here. You are not here by chance. God sent you here because we need help. He always provides.” Thank You for sending me, Jesus. It’s a high calling, an honor.
Man, I LOVE my new Dominican sisters! Perla just stopped to say “hola” and give me a kiss on the top of my hair. 🙂
Goodnight, dear Abba. Te amo. ❤

NWC, Here I Come! Summer Prep Day and Registration

Wow, that was an adventure! So I went up to NWC on Monday to register for classes, have a prep coach session (I’ll explain in a minute), and meet some other freshmen and transfer students!
First I went to take my music theory IV placement test, which wasn’t too bad. Lots of harmonic analysis. 🙂 I’m pretty sure I tested out of that, but I will find out soon, I hope!
I went and got my picture taken for my student ID (say cheese!) and finished completing information about me for my ID so it will be ready for me in August.
They gave us lunch at round tables with some others who will be living near us so that we will see some familiar faces on August 23rd when we move in and start Orientation. Then they talked about the 4 pillars of NWC: Wholeheartedly Christian, Academically Excellent, Focused on Community, and Engaged in the World. I was glad that they talked about that because it reveals what NWC is all about and where there foundation is.
After lunch, I went to meet my advisor, Dr. Lange (my advisor might change later, but he helped me out on Monday). We sat down and first discussed my PSEO classes and AP tests before moving on to what I would be taking in the fall. Because I had already registered for my honors courses, we tried to work around those first. This didn’t end up working very well (we had to switch some courses around) but by the end of that half an hour I was okay with the schedule we had lined up.
Then I went to meet with my prep coach, Kai. She led me through theRock (online student website, basically) and answered any questions I had about first year of college. She was so much fun and my mom and I had a blast with her. We had many entertaining interruptions to our little “schedule” (which according to Kai has never happened in a prep session before!) but I really enjoyed the liveliness it brought to my NWC experience thus far. Kai told us stories about herself, her family, and fun people around NWC that I will, Lord-willing, have the chance to meet sometime in the next year!
This basically completes my Summer Prep Day at NWC. After coming home, I’ve spent the past few days fixing my schedule and changing it more so that now I am taking almost all of the classes I need to be taking and I am really excited about what I’m taking! Here’s the (most likely) final schedule:
10:00-11:05 Honors Speech (Glenny)
11:20-12:25 Honors OT Hist. & Lit. (Seevers)
2:00-3:05 Counterpoint (Danek) — MW only –> SO excited! Thanks to Dr. Danek for letting me go for it!

7:55-8:45 Class Piano II (Rogers) — T only
10:45-12:25 Honors West. Civ. (Miller)
12:40-1:30 Music Hour (Kolwinska)

Honors Seminar (Black) — TW
Plus a choral ensemble and voice lessons somewhere in there!

*One exciting musical side note — I went to Guitar Center after NWC on Monday! It was really exciting to mosey around in there looking at all the beautiful instruments and trying a few of them! I figured out about 5 chords on the ukelele (no idea which ones they were because I didn’t know how it was tuned at the time!) and then I played around with picking. Personally I like the concert ukelele best and if I were to buy one, it would definitely have a pick-up. I also tried out a banjo! Fun stuff, I never realized the banjo was tuned to a major triad (again, I don’t know which one, though I could go look it up!) until playing around with it. My mom was laughing at me because I quickly discovered how to play a I-V7/IV-IV-ii-V-I progression! Yay. Fellow theory nerds, that one was for you! 🙂

DR 2012 — One. Week. Away.

I can’t believe it; my team and I will be in an airplane flying to Santo Domingo at this time one week from today! We have prepared much and been in prayer for the people we will minister to and with… that they will be touched and that we will learn from them as well. We have practiced our mimes to the music that go with them. We have rehearsed all the songs that we will sing with the children (in Spanish!) and practiced with the big arm puppets on the rest of the songs. We have collected all of the supplies we’ll be taking with us (each of us are taking two checked bags — one for us and one filled with everything we’re taking to give away and minister with!). We have turned in our passports to our leaders so that no one gets left behind. We have completed all of the logistics and organizational details. Physically, we are ready for this mission. Mentally, spiritually, emotionally… I’m not so sure. I know that each one of us is at a different place in our relationship with Jesus. We each have different worldviews and presuppositions that we bring to this mission trip, some more similar than others. My prayer as we embark in less than a week is that we be unified — in His purpose, as a church body, as fellow believers and friends, as team members. My prayer is that we each let God mold and transform us into the people of His name that He created us to be. My prayer is that we are humble, willing to accept correction and even rebuke. My prayer is that we invest in each life we come into contact with as unique, image-bearing of our Creator and special to Him. Thank you, friends, for your support. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your monetary gifts. Thank you for your love. Amen, Abba, let it be. ❤

Questions, Questions… “Make College Count” Reflections #1

I got a book for graduation called “Make College Count”. In it the author discusses briefly seven different questions and encourages the reader to think more deeply about and discuss these questions, for they are foundational to these critical years and to life as a human being. Here are some of my thoughts on the first question:

Question #1: What kind of person do you want to become?

  • Christ-like — growing and transforming… patterning my character after His
  • Generous — sacrificial and pouring out LOVE
  • Pure — unified in mind/spirit/body; faithful to Christ as my center, my core
  • Virtuous — pursue godly character and attributes
  • Purposeful — having a responsible, focused urgency for His Kingdom and His will
  • Content — not seeking more than what I truly need; relying on Abba
  • Joyful — displaying the love of Christ and His grace in my life –> through the good AND bad *Philippians 4:4
  • Peace-filled — not anxious or worrying, but settled in my identity in Christ
  • Integrity — dependable, keep my word
  • A Dreamer — imaginative of God and His plans –> they will always be greater than mine! 🙂 *Ephesians 3:20
  • Humble — not seeking the approval of others, but of God; yet also grateful for the community of others and honesty in accountability
  • Teachable — moldable and shapable as He works in and through me
  • Patient — in helping others, giving them advice when wanted; in waiting on Abba
  • Thankful — for EVERY circumstance: trials, good times, sorrow, joy, rain or shine –> count ALL as blessings from the LORD * 1 Thessalonians 5:18
  • Passionate — about God, His People, His World… about the gifts He’s given me and desires He planted within my heart
  • Encouraging — always building up others –> BE the church! * Ephesians 4:29
  • Honest — not stretching the truth or known for cheating anyone, but known for TRUTH and seeking truth
  • Beautiful — as a person on the inside! Beauty of Character
  • Listening — caring and respectful of others’ needs and wants
  • Smiley — it brightens cloudy days and others’ moods!
  • Forgiving — not holding anything against others (especially if they WERE wrong) but extending grace just as Christ has given to me
  • Prayerful — in close communication and communion with my Abba and my Savior
  • Life-long Learner — read lots! expand my horizons of people, cultures, His world… theology. Always keep growing and refining my worldview!
  • Wise — make good decisions. Become a Proverbs 31 woman!
  • Brave — willing to go all out for Jesus! Do all that He asks of me.
  • Investor — use God’s resources and gifts to me wisely and well! Remember that every moment is an opportunity to invest in others’ lives –> for ETERNITY.
  • Creative — show His love and truth in new ways that highlight His nature (musically, verbally, in word, deed, and thought)

SA 2012 — A Memoir

(started May 17, 2012 and finished today)

Thank You, Jesus, for this year,
Thank You for my beloved class.
We have shared our joys and fears.
These nine months have gone too fast!

Kerryn, my dear preschool reject,
You’ve been with me from day one.
God has blessed me more than I could expect;
These years have been such crazy fun!
Alex, bosom buddy, friend,
Thank you for your loyalty.
This year will not be the end
‘Cause we’re both going to NWC!
Sarah, Washington calls to you
and who am I to say something else?
I will definitely miss you, too;
Remember the trip to Wisconsin Dells?
Tabs, you bring life to any group,
especially Philosophy with DanD.
How in the world will I stay in the loop
Without you there to always inform me?
Abbey, pretty Tinker-bell princess,
I love your pens and sticker books.
Vicky, luscious golden locks,
How attractive are your sexy looks!
Kiersten, running motorcycle-fanatic,
Be careful driving in the big, wide world.
And dear Sydney, miss word-smith,
Someday your book I might hold!
Taylor, the sanity in our hurricane,
thank you for your entertainment.
Schwy, whoops, I won’t call you that again,
Though your reaction to me reveals your amusement.
Heather, dear, I always know
That with you I can be crazy and wild.
Steph, my tan cheerleader friend,
I’ll never remember you as boring or mild!
Laura, plant and environment advocate,
Your style never fails to be
New and funky, colorful and cute,
Sometimes fancy, but always unique!

As I come to the end of this poem,
I’m overcome by thankfulness
For knowing you all and loving you much;
Father God, thank You. I’ve been SO blessed!!

DR 2012 — Getting Closer!

Our departure date is quickly approaching! I am very excited to see how God will use my team and I as we finish preparations and fly down to the Dominican Republic. I have recently been praying asking the LORD to continue preparing our hearts and the hearts of the people we will serve and with whom we will work. I know that He has already been working in my heart because I was VERY nervous about this trip over the past two weeks. This is very uncharacteristic of me (I don’t get nervous easily!!) so that made me even more apprehensive about the whole thing. I was not nervous so much for safety or the flights, but for the trip in general and doing His work. I felt a little lost and not sure why I was going on this mission trip after all. But as I continued to spend time with Abba and in His Word, I was reminded that there is a much bigger purpose that I (and my whole team) am involved with. Our telos (Greek for complete purpose) lies in God’s plan of Redemption for Creation, specifically those in His image — us!! He made us to glorify Him and be His rulers and His royal priesthood, offering up the sacrifices that creation gives to Him. He made us to love His creation and take care of it. He calls us to bear His image in all places and at all times. Being reminded of THAT…. that was what God used to assuage my fear and anxiety. Reminding me that this is a small (but NOT insignificant) journey in light of His whole plan took away the pressure I was feeling and brought back my excitement for missions, specifically this trip. As we complete our packing and preparation, please keep my team and I in prayer. Our team hasn’t met for a few weeks, but if I know my teammates, some of them are nervous much in the same way I was. Ask God to work in their hearts and minds. Pray that they trust Him with whatever their fears and anxieties are. Ask God to reveal to them His vision for His body and the Earth, just as He did for me.

I love you all, friends!!

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed,do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” ~Colossians 3:15-17

NWC, Here I Come! Honors Registration

Wow, THAT was fun!! I just got off the phone with my honors  department advisor, Dr. Black. I am signed up for three honors classes next semester in three different disciplines: Old Testament History and Literature, Public Speaking, and Composition (Eng), along with Honors Seminar. That should be pretty fun! I can’t believe how exciting college is going to be. I mean, if I had this much fun registering for my honors classes, how much MORE fun will registering for my music classes be?! 🙂

I’m also getting to know my roommates on facebook, which has been entertaining. We have talked about some pretty random things already! I was talking with a different friend about it the other day and he said, “I bet they have no idea what a surprise they are in for when rooming with you!” He explained himself, meaning that I am quite unique. Unique and crazy. That sounds about right! Crazy about God, Music, and People. 🙂 NWC, you’re in for an exciting 4 years with me very soon!!

DR 2012 — Missions Commissioning!

This weekend is Missions Commissioning at Autumn Ridge. Our church holds a whole service dedicated to the student missions trips this summer: Rochester, Colorado, and the Dominican Republic. Billy, our youth pastor, gives the message, the youth worship team leads the congregation in music, and the students going on all of the missions trips come forward to be commissioned by the congregation that they may support the students in finances and in prayer.

I am leading the youth worship team and congregation in worship this weekend. We have worked hard by God’s grace to prepare for this, so please pray that He be glorified in all that we say and do!

Thank you, friends!

ARC Grad Night Speech (Notes) — Class of 2012

  • Good evening seniors, parents, and friends! It is so good to see you all here, seniors, whether I’ve known you for 13 years or we have just met tonight. When Billy asked me to share parting words with you, I was so excited to be able to encourage you in this next big chapter of life. I asked Billy, “So how long do I have?” and he told me, “Oh, 5 minutes.” WOW. Okay….. let’s just say that I had been thinking a LITTLE longer than that because I had so much to say to you all! I have so many memories with you guys and so many things I wanted to remind you of as we continue on this scary and adventure-filled journey called life. I did, however, decide on what I most wanted to impart to you because I think these few things should be most important to all of us as disciples of Christ. Alright, here it goes…
  1. Make it a PRIORITY to find a church body and get involved! Christ is coming back for His BODY, not individuals. If we aren’t connected with other believers, we can’t be held accountable in the ways God designed, and thus we are succeptible to error and temptation much more easily. Christian college or not, we will grow in the way God created us to grow by being a part of a diverse (age-wise and culture-wise) body of believers. Research the churches in the area of your college if you’re moving away before getting there the first week to see where you may want to visit. Look for a place where you not only will grow, but where you can also serve. Using your gifts to edify the church is a high calling! Though you may not realize it, the church needs you. The church is Christ’s Bride and if we are not a part of His bride, we cannot have the kind of relationship with Him that He so eagerly desires to have with us!
  2. ENGAGE in the world! Look around you to see where God is working and ask Him how you can join what His people are already doing wherever you may be, or ask Him how you may be the innovator in His work! Part of knowing Who God is and what He is doing involves knowing how He has worked in the past. To know that, we can read Scripture, His Story of humanity and how He is working in and through His people. We can also read accounts of what God has done (and is doing) in His people in the time since Scripture.  We can read biographies of missionaries, autobiographies, blogs, magazine articles… the list goes on and on, and so much of this is very readily available to us — thank you, technology! These books may not be inspired, God-breathed, but they can still teach us more about Who God is and how He has worked with His people. Another great way to become informed about God’s involvement is to ask others around you! Sharing your story of how God is working in and through you, and hearing about others’ journeys of life and faith not only teaches you, but builds a relationship with the other person and could even be the beginning of a life-long friendship.
  3. Start off well — begin college or work by living the way you want to live the rest of your life. These next few years will be hugely instrumental in shaping the way we think, act, interact, and spend our time in the decades to come. If you will be moving away from home, NOW is the time to form habits that you want to keep in the distant future. These decisions could impact future generations, because they could effect marriage, friendships, and children in the long run. Be intentional about how you spend your time and with whom you spend your time.
  4. Have an OPEN heart and mind. God may have something CRAZY in store for you! I know that He will work in mighty ways through each of you, some of which I may have a better idea of than others, but you have to give Him the opportunity to do that first. Oftentimes our ideas of what WE want to do for God can conflict with, and maybe even oppose completely, what GOD wants to do with US. Be flexible and moldable during this time of huge growth and change to allow the Holy Spirit’s work in your life. He may show you great things that He wants you to do for Him and may completely transform the picture of your future. You may plan to do one thing, but God wants you to do something vastly different. Be willing to let Him use you where HE wants you, not just where you want to be. Be available to be used by the One who knows what He made you to do and who He made you to be! Let Him take control of you, for He is a LOT wiser than we are, and what a comfort THAT is. God has greater things in mind for each of us than we could EVER begin to fathom. I don’t know about you, but I would rather be a part of that crazy adventure ride than try to build my own, which won’t end up to be nearly as exciting or fulfilling.
  • Well, we’ve come to the end of the things I was eager to share with you. If senioritis got the best of you and you missed everything else I said, hear me out on this last one. You were created to enjoy God and love Him. He LOVES you…. SO much. He watches over your every thought and action. He knows you better than you can ever know yourself, and I pray that is a comfort to you. Whether you are excited and thrilled, or terrified and freaking out about ending this chapter and beginning the next one, He will never leave you. Take comfort in Christ.

And finally, as Pastor Reggie never failed to ask, “Have I told y’all yet today that I love you? I love you guys!”

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