~ College ‘n’ Chicago ~

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  • Bullet points of my last month in College in Chicago.  Enjoy!  🙂  (in no particular order) (p.p.s. The tone of this particular post shifts considerably all over the board… just bear with me and realize that I am really happy to be here and besides the long-ish section, I’m doing ok, and working through stuff with people.  I share my honest feelings at the time of the particular happenings without going into more details (the ‘boring’ stuff) about what happened afterwards.
  • My roommate is awesome.  She and I get along but we almost never see each other because of our completely opposite schedules.  We’re the ‘opposites attract’ situation.  Random fact: she falls asleep within 5 minutes of lying down!!  She’s amazing like that.  🙂
  • Chorale is AMAZING!!!  I absolutely love it!!  I can’t overemphasize how wonderful chorale is.  🙂  There are 31 of us, and although we are small, we have a very beautiful sound.  I’m most excited about some of the beautiful chords in a couple of the songs, as well as this one song we’re singing in Indonesian (it’s quite challenging!).  We memorize all of our music, though I’ve only memorized one piece so far (practiced over 14 pieces).  The chorale retreat really helped me get to know everyone – but I can’t share the initiation stuff or chorale traditions.  You’ll just have to join chorale to find out what happened. 😉  🙂  Every time I go to practice, I feel like I’m a music major and I fit in.  It’s a new experience to be among so many people my own age who love music like I do.  I’m not sure this will adequately describe what I do, but, when I sing a song I tend to add my own melody/harmony to it instead of singing the regular harmony.  At least, on more modern songs.  I don’t always do that to old hymns, etc.  But pretty much everything else gets something added.  The other people here do it too!!  🙂
  • I’ve got a babysitting job once a week for 3 hours with children whose parents are attending MBI.  Tonight there were around 7 or 8 children.  All of them were under the age of 3 or 4 (at the oldest) and most of them were on the younger side.  I spent most of the time holding a little boy named Benjamin and just holding him as he made himself cry for no reason.  After spending over 15 minutes trying to distract him, I simply gave up and just sat with him.  Oh, and I ate dinner and fed him his bread stick in little bits which did keep him quiet for a while.  I love working with children, though I was really tired around 2 hours into it.  I don’t even know how much I’ll get paid (or when, because of paperwork).  🙂
  • Hearing the radio during babysitting playing contemporary (pop perhaps?? no clue what genre) songs that I haven’t heard for over a month now.
  • Naps.  I can’t say I’ve really ever been able to nap in my life before (well, besides when I was a child).  But now??  Taking a nap is a common thing in college.  It’s a wonderful thing!  There’s nothing better than a short (or long!) nap to give you energy for the rest of the day. And no, coffee is not better than a nap.  The only thing not cool is when it ends in a nightmare that haunts you for the rest of the day… now -that-, I could live without.  =P
  • Everyone has their own specific favorite thing to eat in the SDR (student dining room).  For me it’s cheese. 😀  For one girl, it’s hot chocolate.  Another loves cereal.  One only eats salads.  One loves peanut butter with every meal.  It’s quite interesting and amusing. 🙂  We all tease each other good natured-ly.
  • *looks at tiny spider crawling up dresser*  Me: “I hate spiders.” (as I kill it with the nearest thing I can find)  Roommate: “For someone who hates spiders, you certainly don’t sound scared.”  Me: “It’s complicated.  I hate them, but I don’t scream or freak out… I would normally capture it and take it outside, but living in a dorm makes that a bit more complicated.  I’ll kill spiders I find in my room here.”
  • “You’re checking those out for pleasure reading???” *surprised voice of the librarian*  Me: “Yeah.  I love languages.” 🙂  I think I was checking out a book on Arabic script, a book on the Ukrainian language, 2 books on Latin (for singing in chorale, not because I’m studying that language), and 2 Linguistic books.  You know what I love about college??  I’m here.  I’m a college student.  I’m confident in that.  I can be myself.  It doesn’t matter if I don’t fit in.  It’s totally new.  Not that I don’t always try to not fit in… I do like to fit in, I’ll admit that.  But it’s so nice to not have to worry about fitting in all the time.  I’m in, already.  No one else can take that away.  🙂
  • College girl/partner in a weekly project: “Judgmental much??” (sarcastic/joking tone) after I had commented, “That man just walked across the street a minute ago.”  I mean, come on, he walked across the street while on his phone, stood on the other side and then walked back.  Who doesn’t notice things like that??!  😉  My response (admittedly a little miffed): “No.  I just notice details.  Besides, he speaks Arabic.”  (yeah, I know, that -totally- makes it non-judgmental if it relates to a language)  xD
  • Roommate: “You aren’t a city girl, are you?” -walking around for 45 minutes completely lost in downtown Chicago-.  Me: “Well, not exactly.  I’m from a suburb.  How can you tell I’m not from a city?  And you aren’t exactly a city girl either.”  I was genuinely curious to know what sets me apart from ‘everyone’ else (besides the actual fact that I’m not from there).  R: “You walk differently – smaller strides.  You ask constant questions about where we are and you look nervous.  You chatter. You notice everything.”  Me: *thinking: didn’t they tell us to be aware of our surroundings in every safety class I’ve ever taken?*  “Really?  How do people walk?”  *she demonstrates*  Me: “Oh, well, I have short legs, so of course I don’t walk like that.  It would be awkward.  Do people really not notice things like I do?”  (notice the constant chattering, haha)  She just shook her head.
  • So the noticing thing has come up a lot now.  I guess I’m observant.  And I’m happy to be that. 🙂  What fun would life be if we never saw anything?
  • Multiple people at different times: “Did you get my text/voicemail?”  Me: “No.  I don’t use my cell phone ever.  Remember?  I told you that.  I also don’t text.  Do you have my e-mail?”…  I think I’ve explained this to everyone on the campus (it feels like that sometimes).  I think I’m one of 5 people out of 1000+ who don’t text/use their phones ever (if they even have one).  Besides the bars never are high enough for me to call anyways so it is almost pointless (where as everyone’s more expensive phones get great reception here).  I’m a tiny tiny bit frustrated when people ask me if I got their texts/messages when I distinctly remember telling them specifically that I *almost* never use my phone.  I wasn’t kidding.  I don’t.  I don’t even remember to turn it on, so I’m sure next time I -do-, it will pop up with about 10 new messages and texts.
  • For part of a class assignment, I have to read the entire Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy).  Although I will admit to it being quite a long read, and not always the most engaging reading in the world, God’s been teaching me things through it (well, of course, what else should I have expected?  Even though not all of the O.T.  (Old Testament) laws apply to us anymore, there’s still much to be gleaned about God and his character and other things related).  Maybe I’ll put up some of my specific notes/thoughts sometime in a future post.  Sticky notes are THE best!!  🙂
  • It’s almost 2:30 in the morning and I’m awake.  WHY??  No clue, but I’m awake and it might have to do with the nap nightmare I had this afternoon.  It involved life sized ant/bug/THINGS/creepyTHINGS, and eating them, and them being bad and taking over, and me floating in the air (the only non-creepy/ok part), and other things.  It was just generally disturbing.  :\  I can usually put things out of my mind, but this one just pops up whenever I least wish to remember it.  At least it wasn’t worse.  I have had at least 2 much worse dreams before.
  • CPO!!  🙂  It’s so cool!  You can send people on campus notes/gifts/letters or send mail to anywhere else as well.  When you’re in college it’s really really fun to get mail!  Scratch that.  It’s ALWAYS fun to get mail and packages. 🙂  My parents surprised me and sent me (through a friend, and not through CPO, now that I think about it…) a box with all sorts of things.  I only expected a new (replacement) backpack (because my ‘new’ one broke within a week or two of using it), a personal item and a computer foot (my computer has 4 and they have fallen off a couple of times).  Inside, however, was a bag of gummy bears (totally unexpected!), a bag of trail mix, a bag of dried fruit (my favorite!), and a box of cheese crackers (and probably other stuff as well, but this was a couple of weeks ago).  ^__^
  • I’ve never had the opportunity to live with this many people my age or even spend most of my time with people my age.  So the first week (/2 weeks) was a social high.  It was crazy and I’m convinced that I was running on pure energy from people.  Then I sorta crashed and had/am having a “sensory overload”.  I had that at home, but at home… there were 9 other people, not over one thousand (ok, more like 100+ that I actually know personally, but still!  It’s a lot to take in all the time (virtually all the time)).  I think this point could get rather lengthy so I’m going to split it up into a couple of points.
  • First off, let me say this.  I absolutely love the dorm floor I’m on.  😀 The girls here are amazing!  There are around 30 of us (18 freshmen) on our wing of the floor and I know the huge majority of them and get along with all of them.  We all have bonded really well in the past 4 and a half weeks.  You know what’s even more exciting???  Unless you specifically request to be moved, you stay on the same floor all of your college time!!!  ^__^  That means I’ll be with most of these girls until we graduate!  How cool is that??
  • We’ve got a good mixture of girls.  We are studious but we also have fun.  So, I think it balances nicely.  There’s always someone asking about how you did in a quiz (since we’re mostly in the same classes this first year) and discussing what they’re reading/studying.  It’s not a competition, but we talk about it all the time.  We certainly aren’t lacking for social events though, either.  I haven’t even gone to most of them (don’t worry, I’ve hung out with people, just, not at coffee places).  Each floor is assigned a ‘bro’ floor.  We have an awesome bro floor (and yes, I started almost every sentence with the word “We”) and I’ve gotten to do 2 events with them.  We also eat all of our meals with them.  We don’t have to, but it’s fun having a specific place you are invited to sit in.
  • The girls on our floor are about 2/3 late nighters.  The other 1/3 go to bed early or aren’t ever on campus so I have no idea what their schedule is.  So, there are always people around.  ALL the time.  In class.  In between class.  In the hallways.  On campus.  On the bus.  On the streets.  In your room.  In the bathroom.  You’re literally with people almost all of your waking hours unless you purposefully sequester yourself off by 1) listening to music on headphones/earbuds, 2) physically disappearing into the library (which also has people in it, but they’re supposed to be quiet-er), or 3) locking your room door whenever your roommate isn’t around and just being alone.  The only think time (reflective thinking) for me is when it’s quiet and no one is trying to communicate with me.  When I’m by myself.  If you go to bed at 12 or 1 every night and you’re up at 6:30, around people all day, doing homework in your room as your roommate studies, or girls come in and out, etc., and girls make noise in the halls, and then you go to bed it is a cycle that never ends.
  • I’m an extrovert, and I love people.  But this is too much of a good thing.  So, if you’re a college friend and you’re reading this don’t think I’m mad at you or don’t want to be friends if I’m listening to my iPod once and a while between classes or I just don’t seem in a talkative mood.  I just need to spend some time thinking and I can’t do that if I’m constantly interacting with others.  The noise here can be overwhelming to me.  In certain classes (2, to be exact) the class consists of at least 70 students.  When we have a break??!  The noise just overwhelms me.
  • I want to hang out with you guys (friend).  I haven’t hung out much in the past, so I love doing that!  I love you guys, actually, college is amazing and I’ve met and am making some wonderful friends.  🙂  I do want to hang with you guys!  Just not all the time every day of every week of every semester of every year… you get the point. :p
  • I’ve never had this problem with friends before, but then again, I’ve never been in this sort of situation.  At home I could just disappear to my room and turn up my headphones all day because I was homeschooled.  I have classes every day all morning here, so I will be around people (guaranteed) at least half a day (which is good, and I like classes) for 5 days a week.  Plus chorale for 4 hours every week, and my PCM once a week for over 4 hours when you add up the travel time + actual service time.  (PCM – practical Christian mission)  Plus all 3 of my meals every day since I’m currently on the 20 meal plan.  Plus the campus groups I’m in, or looking to join.  Plus everything else – i.e. life.
  • I think I’m being over redundant because it’s so ridiculously early in the morning.  Remind me not to get myself started on a touchy subject again at this hour of the morning.  I think you’ve got the point.  I went from having a lot of time at home to myself (almost all of my time) to think and do things alone to being in an atmosphere where you’re expected to spend almost all of your time with people all the time.  And it’s rude if you don’t.  Well, I’m an adult now, and that doesn’t give me an excuse to be rude.  However, I can express myself and politely ask for space once and a while and respect (and be respected by) others.  We’re all on an equal level here (ish, ok, there are upper class men/women and I respect you guys, I just mean in general we’re all here as students).  Most of the people I saw at home were my elders/adults in my life.  I like to please people even when I’m frustrated, annoyed.  Though I’ve been told I don’t hide my feelings well, so maybe they’ve always known they just ignored my facial expressions.  Who knows.  xD  But, next time I need space I’m just going to admit that to whomever happens to be trying to talk with me at the moment in a kind way but completely dead honest.
  • My RA says I’m … oh, I can’t think of the word she used,… but if you combine outspoken and honest together, you get the idea.  I’m blunt.  I say what’s on my mind, without always thinking how it will be taken.  I think in black and white sometimes, or just spew out whatever I observe (see points far above this one).  I notice things and I haven’t learned the art of patience.  I just learned how to ask questions.
  • This blog post pretty much shows my point.  I’m overstimulated so little things (such as friends wanting to talk, which is a perfectly natural thing) bother me when they shouldn’t.  The other thing that bothered me this week was when 2 different people signed me off (or tried to) on an attendance sheet when I was right there next to them.  They meant nothing by it, and in fact were trying to help, which is awesome.  But all 3 times (no, my math is right, just one person did it twice because I didn’t comment the first time) I was very upset.  The first time it happened I was more surprised than anything.  The second time I was just shocked the person did it again and I said so and said (not so politely) that I would be quite capable of crossing my own name off the list at the next class.  The third person didn’t even have a chance to cross off my name because I sorta jumped all over her as soon as I heard her ask where my name was on the list.  I still need to apologize to her for that, actually, because she was a bit startled at my upset response.  I’ve already worked out the disagreement with the other girl, thankfully. 🙂  That’s another adult thing… apologizing, asking for forgiveness, and working through stuff.
  • It’s hard work!  College isn’t easy.  There’s always homework – reading, quizzes, book reports, essays and projects.  Dealing with this many people all the time is really hard for me.  There’s always conflict to work through in some way, shape or form.  They require a lot of us here at Moody and they keep us busy.  I love it, but I won’t sugar coat it.  🙂  I wouldn’t trade my experiences here for anything else.
  • Last, but certainly not least, is God.  Wow.  He’s teaching me sooo many things here!  I won’t go into them because that’ll be another long topic and this one is already over 2600 words long!!  :O  But in the first four weeks alone, I’ve seen His faithfulness, His love, His holiness, and His forgiveness.  Wow is all I can say.  God is at work here and I’m so glad He invited me to be a part of life here at MBI.  🙂  Now, it’s 3 am and I need to sleep!  (don’t worry, I don’t have to wake up until 9 tomorrow because 2 of my normally scheduled classes were cancelled), 6 hours of sleep here I come!!Oh, if you want to pray for me:
  1. Sleep.  I can’t seem to sleep well (if you hadn’t noticed).  My brain just does not settle for one reason or another.
  2. That I would clearly hear and understand the Holy Spirit’s guiding on my life.
  3. Continued growth in time management skills (I can always improve here, can’t you?).
  4. That I would be able to find a balance between building intentional relationships (another thing I’ve never really done in RL) and having some time alone when I can process my thoughts (besides bedtime).
  5. That my roommate and I would continue to get along well and be able to be honest about the things we disagree on.  🙂  So far, so good!
  6. For the general health here.  Sanitation isn’t quite where I’d put it (not in any part to blame on the college, the cleaning people are great!  It’s due to the people living here), so when one person gets sick it spreads very quickly.  I thought a family of 10 was bad.  A family of 1000 is much worse.  :p

Thank you!

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One of the girls on my floor decided to write this verse on my wall ‘white-board sticker’. 😀

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Lessons from Narnia

Tonight, my family and I went to watch a drama performance of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  It was done by a group of kids middle school aged.  Because they had such a large cast they split up the roles of the witch, the four Pevensie children and the dwarves.  Everyone did a great job and I was moved all over again by the allegory and by the history behind it.

C.S. Lewis wrote the Chronicles of Narnia series to show the message of Christ and portray the Christian worldview.  It’s an excellent seven book series that I highly recommend you read or listen to whenever you get the chance.  Even though it’s a children’s series, it’s message speaks to adults as well as children.

(SPOILER ALERT)

The four children, Peter, Susan, Edmond, and Lucy move out to the English countryside in an old mansion owned by a professor to escape the London bombs during World War II.  Lucy, the youngest, is exploring one day and she finds a wardrobe that leads her into the world of Narnia.  Later on, they are all forced to hide in the wardrobe when the housekeeper leads a tour around the home.  She had previously told them to stay out of her way and to stay out of sight when she gave tours.

The rest of the story follows them through Narnia.  It spans at least twenty years (if not more).  Edmond had also found Narnia (quite by accident) and met the White Witch.  She tempted him with Turkish Delight (his favorite sweet) and he agreed to bring his siblings to her.  He did not know her true intent of killing them all, he thought she was simply a strict but kind queen.

He escapes the group when they all find Narnia for the first time as a group, and goes to tell the White Witch where his siblings are.  He betrays them, and only afterwords realizes his awful decision.  But by then it is too late to take anything he said back.  What’s done is done.

A group of creatures following Aslan, the good ruler of Narnia, manage to rescue Edmond.  They just save him in the nick of time from an untimely beheading by the White Witch’s dagger.

It’s at this point in the story that it feels as though everything is going to turn out into a happy ending.  All of them are together, and Aslan is with them.  But, there is a land of the law that the White Witch reminds Aslan of (as if he needed reminding).

Every traitor belongs to the White Witch, and she is to kill that person on the stone table.  If a traitor is ever held back from her, the entire world will be destroyed with fire and water.

It is a law set down when the world of Narnia was created.  Aslan acknowledges the law, and makes a deal with the White Witch.  Unbeknownst to the children, who are very worried for the safety of their brother, Aslan trades his own life for that of Edmond.  He agrees to go in the place of the boy to fulfill the law.

The White Witch has a party with her minions and she beats, mocks, and humiliates Aslan before finally driving her dagger into his heart.  The great lion is dead.  She heads out cheering, leaving behind a hidden Susan and Lucy (who had followed Aslan at a distance).

Completely distraught, Susan and Lucy come out of the bushes and weep over Aslan’s body.  Finally resigning themselves to his death, they turn to head back to the encampment and tell the awful news to the others.  Suddenly (вдруг), a large cracking sound breaks the stillness of the morning.  Running back to the stone table, the girls discover Aslan’s body is gone!

From off to the side, Aslan walks majestically out and greets the girls.  He is alive!!  Shocked, they ask if he is real or only a ghost.  He roars and lets them touch him to prove his realness.  Speechless, they listen as he tells of an even deeper law than the one the White Witch spoke of.

If an innocent person dies for a traitor, the stone will be broken and death will begin to work backwards.  

I’ll leave off from the story now, and let you read the book to find out what happens to the children, Aslan, and the White Witch.

But what I’m after, are the very strong allegories to a historic event that happened about two-thousand years ago.  Jesus Christ came to earth and took on a human body.  He, like Aslan, was around during the creation of the world, in fact He spoke it into being. (1 John 1:1-3)

As His creatures, humans were made in God’s image.  But we rebelled.  We were traitors to God and we listened to the enemy.  According to God’s laws, any sin requires death of the perpetrator.  That is like the law of Narnia.  Blood is required to pay for the transgression (sin).

But that is where Christ stepped in and took the punishment that we deserved.  Just as Edmond fully deserved death, we too deserve death.  However, Christ (and Aslan) took all of our punishment and died in our place so that we might live forever and have a close relationship with God.

The best news, however, isn’t only the death in our place on the cross, but the resurrection that happened three days (by Jewish reckoning) later!!  Christ rose from the dead and proved that He defeated the power of death and sin over us (read the book of Romans).

Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we can believe, trust, and hope in Him as our savior.  Just like Narnia, He has defeated evil and saved His people from an eternal separation from God.

That being said, I hope you will read the real historic story of Jesus in one of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and then afterwords read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  And while you’re there, you should also pick up his book Mere Christianity.  It explains the basic beliefs we hold in a clear and concise way.

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas!!  🙂

I hope you spent this Christmas season with your family and friends celebrating the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.

My grandmother is still recovering from her insomnia, depression, and back pain, so we did not spend Christmas day at my grandparent’s home as we usually do.  Grandpa, however, did come and visit us on the twenty fourth to be encouraged and to share his gifts with us.  I was surprised he had gotten us anything, since he has been caring for Grandma for the past (almost) two months.  Thankfully, Grandma is sleeping again and has no more pain.  She simply needs to be able to think clearly again and get out of the depression.  We are hoping that will happen in the next month.

Last night was also our church’s candlelight service.  It was wonderful to celebrate Christmas with our church family, and singing ‘Silent Night’ while holding a candle is always fun  (though it was a bit more interesting this year as I helped my three year old sister hold one too).  🙂

Then this morning, my family and I went to sing Christmas carols at a nearby nursing home with some church families.  Seeing some of the residents sing with us was sweet. 🙂

Afterword, in the afternoon, the four oldest girls went to see Les Miserables with our neighbors.  It is an amazing movie!!  If you have not seen it yet, I highly recommend it.  Redemption, Mercy, Justice, Love, and Freedom are a couple of the main themes.  I was very happy to see that the director of the film kept all the great themes the book brought out.

Les Miserables poster

Since this is Christmas time I thought I would share a few of the similarities between Les Miserables and Christianity/The Bible.

#1 I’m sorry, I have not yet memorized the names of the characters…. so bear with me.  The main character, who was put in prison because he stole bread, gets out on parole.  He then finds himself at a convent of sorts and is invited in for a warm meal and bed for the night by a kind priest.  During the night, he steals as many silver objects as he can find and runs off.  He is basically throwing insults at the people who are trying to help him out of his predicament.

In the case of Christianity, we view Jesus as the priest.  We are slaves to sin, unable to free ourselves.  We even mock God and blame Him for our woes.  When Jesus came on earth two thousand years ago, people killed Him.  But even though we continued to hate Him, He gave us another chance at redemption—even after we have insulted him.

When the main character in the movie is captured by the local law enforcement agents, he lies and says, (to paraphrase) ‘The priest gave them to me.’  Of course, the men don’t believe him for a second and they cart him back to the priest.  But here is where the story takes a surprising twist.  Instead of taking back his silver, and having the thief put in prison, he says, (again, paraphrased) “You should have stayed longer, I wanted to give you these” (while handing him two large silver candlesticks).  He then remarks that the man should make a new and honest life from the precious silver that is now his.

When Christ gives us the gift of eternal life He doesn’t just give it to us so that we can continue in our old way of living.  He wants us to begin to follow Him and (with the Holy Spirit’s help) begin to produce the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  Although… we can’t steal the gift of Life from Him, like the man did in the movie. 🙂

#2 Much later in the film, the main character has the opportunity to kill the main law enforcement officer who has been after him ever since he broke his parole and became a mayor.  But, instead, he helps the man escape and shows him mercy—something the other man has never shown.

We deserve to die.  If we were only held accountable before God with the things we judge others by we would be condemned ten times over.  Jesus, however, offers us mercy and forgiveness.  I appreciate how the movie shows the difference between total justice with no mercy and justice with a merciful and forgiving spirit.  God is both loving and just.  It is a tough concept to grasp because we always want justice to be given!  If we are truly honest with ourselves, though, we should not want this all the time.  We justly deserve hell—separation from God forever because of our sin.  He loves us even in our ugliness and filth of sin, but He is just as well. He cannot simply say, ‘Your sins are gone…  I will ignore them.’  A just God can not do that.  But, a merciful, forgiving, and loving God can come up with a solution to the problem.

That is where Jesus comes in.  Because He is God’s son, He was perfect, without sin.  Because He became a man (while still being fully God), He could die for us and be our lamb offering (in the Old Testament Jewish sense).  His blood paid for our sins so that we could now come near to God and He near to us.

I could go on… the movie had so many excellent redemptive portions!!  I hope you will go see it. 🙂  The music is superb as well… and with all the emotions flying around??!  It’s an emotional film, and it will pull at your heartstrings more than once.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!!

Applying to College

When I was little, I dreamed about what I would grow up to do.  I didn’t realize how quickly life would fly by.  Yes, folks, I am applying to college for the Fall 2013 semester.  Let’s take a moment of silence to remember my childhood… *silence*

I’m afriad, you’ve caught me in a silly mood.  I don’t feel old enough for college, however, I do have several things I would like to do after I graduate–and college is one way I can prepare for them.

Over the past few months my future has been rather hazy, or as some people, like a bend in the road (i.e. unseeable until I arrive at the bend).  I knew (and still know) that God had/has specific plans for me, I just had no clue what they were, when they would happen, or what they would entail.

Two adventures this summer helped direct me towards my vocation.

First — My TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) 18-day certificate course in July.

Second — My 9 day trip to Ukraine.

At TESOL I discovered my love for teaching the English language.  I’ve always dreaded public speaking–even after being forced to attend several 1-day speaking classes.  So, I was almost shocked to realize that speaking about the English language to students was not only doable but also enjoyable. (of course in a good ESL classroom, the teacher does only 30% of the speaking)

I think I’ve struggled in the past with public speaking because I don’t know what to say or I urn out of things to say on the topic at hand (A rare predicament for me, since I never run out of words, even when I’m asleep).

Then, almost exactly a month later, I flew to Ukraine, not knowing what to expect.  What I saw there totally blew me away and stole my heart (in a good way).  I became deeply attached to the people I met and a strong love for the people grew quickly.  I saw many opportunities for me to serve them through my teaching and though everyday life on life service.

The orphans we visited also touched me.  When I go back to Ukraine, I want to spend more time with them and show them through my love, how much Jesus loves each one of them and how God is their heavenly Father.

Returning to the topic of today’s post, I’ve decided to apply to Moody Bible Institute–a small college in Chicago, Illinois.

Why?

1) Because they are a heavily missions minded college.

2) Because I would get a Bible Degree as well as a TESOL Degree.

3) Because they have a TESOL degree (something few colleges offer as a major).

4) Because I will be able to be close enough to home to visit on the breaks.

5) And finally, because the schooling will equip me to knowledgeably serve the Ukrainians (or anyone else God sends me to).

This weekend, during our neighborhood picnic, one of my adult friends made this comment to me.  “For some unknown reason, when you were 12 or 13 the thought crossed my mind, ‘She’ll be a missionary someday.'”

She can’t explain what made her think that, and I didn’t know about this until Sunday when she told me.  When I was 12 and 13 I had my entire life planned out (or so I thought).  I was going to become a librarian and then get married and have 12 children.  🙂

I still love libraries and children (though… 12 ????!), but now I have a heart for foreign missions.

Some of the songs we practiced in drama yesterday fit well with this post… so I’ll leave you with the lyrics.

~

The Bend in the Road

The bend in the road, unexpectedly it came our way one summer’s day.
And who could have known it would lead us here to you.

For a bend in the road can lead you to a place you’ve never known,
But a bend in the road can lead you safely home,
For a bend in the road can lead you to your home!

~

Avonlea 

(insert Ukraine for Avonlea)

Come away, come away to Avonlea.
Take my hand to this land of Avonlea.

Can you hear on the wind it whispers to me?
Like an old and dear friend,
it beckons me to travel where the flowers spill o’er the hillside to the sea.

For the young, for the old from afar going home.
No matter where I roam, my heart’s in Avonlea.

No matter where I roam, my heart’s in Avonlea.

~

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