Thursday, July 29, 2010

When God Writes Your... College Story?

A thought occurred to me one day.
You know, I have given God the pen to write my love story. I believe He is going to "write" something really good. I am waiting with anticipation and watching for His lead and direction. I am trusting Him without too much of a struggle. But there are other stories in life besides romance. Am I trusting God with my college story?
I realized that even though I had given my love story over to God early on, there were other things that I was still anxious over. Namely, college. The normal route of finishing high school on time and going straight to college or at least community college, didn't fall into place for me. When I was younger, I always thought I would go to college. My parents both went to college, and that's just what people who were good at school and wanted to make something out of their life did, right? Maybe not. I didn't believe in going to college just for "the experience". I really didn't want to invest any time and money unless I knew it was worth it. So I didn't enroll anywhere. True, a big part of that was some unfinished homeschool business. But I believe that God has been leading me even with that.

Last year, I heard about a school out in Colorado called Ellerslie School of Honor. It was started this year by Eric and Leslie Ludy, authors of When God Writes Your Love Story and many other good books. They were offering a 10-week summer course for this summer. I was very interested, but the dates interfered with our already-planned trip to Washington, and I knew it wouldn't work. Still, I couldn't forget about it. It really felt like God wanted me to go. Maybe next summer? Then they announced that because of the high demand, they would be holding another 10-week session this fall. That was when I knew God wanted me to apply. As I've been praying, I asked Him to make everything fall into place if He wanted me to go. And they have been. Even finances! So yesterday I submitted my application. It's in God's hands.

Are you giving God the pen for all the stories in your life?

Missions in Ohio

The second week in July, I went on my first missions trip. Location: Brimfield, Ohio. Our church's youth group does a trip every year, and this year I went. It was a great trip.
Why Brimfield? Our church's former youth pastor, Matt, is involved with a church plant there - Bridge Bible Church. The area is reported to be over 90% unchurched. Our goal was to show Jesus' love to people, and to take every opportunity to introduce them to Him. We did a lot of work projects, especially cleaning and landscaping the elementary, middle, and high schools. Some people served breakfast to policemen, lunch to firemen, ice cream to senior citizens and preschoolers. Some people got up early and gave out free coffee at an intersection, in the afternoons some people handed out water bottles (it was hot out!). We ran a VBS in the evenings - I helped with crafts. What pinatas have to do with a circus theme I do not know. A couple of the afternoons we did Backyard Bible Clubs in a low-income neighborhood. We didn't know we were doing that until the night before, and I found myself head of the Bible lesson team. That was a stretching experience - leading and telling the Bible story - but God is good and it ended up being one of the highlights of my week. We did a lot of door-to-door, handing out flyers with information on the VBS and church. Later in the week we collected canned food. Always we looked for open doors to start conversations and Jesus with people.

It was a busy, busy week. There were so many activities every day that it felt like 2 or 3 weeks instead of one. We were told to expect to be exhausted by Wednesday and it was so. One of the things I learned was how to keep on working and serving even through the exhaustion. "Do not weary in doing good..." Of course it probably didn't help that bedtimes weren't enforced... lol. Speaking of late nights, on the eve of my birthday, I wanted to stay up til midnight, but I didn't tell anyone that. Strangely enough, no one else wanted to go to bed either. A whole bunch of people, especially from our youth group (there were 2 other youth groups from Ohio there) seemed uninterested in going to bed. We were just talking and playing games... nothing to make me suspect... but I should've seen it coming. Once the clock struck midnight, they dumped a bag of balloons on my head and sang "Happy Birthday". :D Thanks, guys, you're the best. And then we all went to bed. My actual birthday was really nice too. They gave me two cards and a present, and totally coincidentally, we had cheesecake for dessert (yum!) and went to see a movie that night. Tony from Ohio's dad owns the theater, and we got to watch Toy Story 3-D for free! And then we swept all the theaters. :) I think that it was the best way I could've spent the day! I love our youth group. It was awesome getting to know them better.

One of the things that I was really struck by was the genuine focus on serving. At camp, it's really about discipling and developing your character. Here, the whole point was to reach other people. Except for meals, a brief nightly worship time, and debriefing (daily "what happened today" testimony time), every other planned activity was work. No mandatory fun and very little preaching and teaching. If you were going to come out of it having learned something, great, but it was going to be because you took the time and thought to learn it. Yet, we learned stuff. And we had fun, too.

Oh and if you don't like cold Spaghettio's out of a can for dinner, too bad. :P (That was our actual first dinner. Matt is not a detail-oriented person at all, and he thought it was hilarious. After that some ladies from Bridge Bible stepped in and made us good food. Yay! So we didn't have to "rough it" the whole week, lol)

PS: I got to ride in a hot air balloon! The last day of VBS we had a carnival, and there was a real hot air balloon giving rides. It was pretty lame in terms of height and length of time, but it was a fun experience!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A teenager no longer...

I dreaded my thirteenth birthday. I did not want to be known as a teenager - that disagreeable term that conveyed stereotypes of lazy, rebellious, selfish creatures. However, it couldn't be avoided, and I turned 13 anyway. Gradually, and with a little help from Do Hard Things, I realized that the stereotype didn't matter. My actual character did. Teenagers can be good or bad, just like any age person. Having said that, I am happy to announce that as of today, I am no longer a teenager! Hurray! Hang in there, my brothers and sisters. Be one of the good ones.

This is a pre-written and -scheduled post, as I am at this moment in Ohio on my first official missions trip! :)