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.

Advertisements

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.

~

Marvelous Memories! (part 1 of ??)

The next few posts will be a bit unusual.  I want to share some of my favorite memories from my time at TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and VOICE (Visualizing Opportunities In Character and English).  I was planning on writing one humongeous blog post covering every detail, but instead I decided to shorten it for you to make it easier (and more fun) to read. 🙂  Don’t expect much order to the parts, these are just in the order they come to mind.

With no further adue… Here are my TESOL and VOICE 2012 memories!

Memory 1: DRAMA!!

The day after we arrived we auditioned for the musical, “Queen of the Dark Chamber.”  To summarize the story (based on the true story of Christiana Tsai), Christiana grew up in China several years before communism.  Because of a sacrifice she made for her father, she was allowed to go to the missionary school (in China) to study English.  Mary, her teacher, lead her to the Lord.  They both ministered and witnessed to the people of China.  Later, when illness set in, they both headed to America.  In America, Christiana wrote out her autobiography titled, “Queen of the Dark Chamber.”  Of course there is more to the story than that, but I’ll leave the rest for you to find out when you read the book.

Each day, before practice, we split into eight or nine groups for role-call.  My group included: Danny, Aslan, Job, Grace, Helen, and Iris.  Every role-call was different and you never knew what to expect.  For the first day (when we weren’t yet split into our groups) we had to scream our name while running from an imaginary bear.  (a video of that role-call:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSiZDje3Tuc&feature (starting at 3:02))  Another day (now split in our groups) we lined up.  Then, pretending to be madly in love, we said the name of the person next to us and said our favorite fruit. 😀  It was hilarious.

For Act I,  I was an angel.  My fellow angels were: Winnie, Lily, Esther, Donna, Mary, Kelsey, Iris, and Flo.  We sang and choreographed our song.  I really enjoyed working with the 2nd sopranos in our fist song and the 1st sopranos in our second song.  There were several stressful occasions during practice because of high nerves, a short time span to learn everything, and selfishness/wanting my own way (on my part), but after several apologies we were able to do our best for God’s glory.

In Act II, Neighbor 2 was my part.  Caleb, Danny, and Natalie were my fellow nosy neighbors.  I had a lot of fun with this role.  My solo line (in one of the songs) was: “What do you wear in China?  Were your feet bound?  Was your hair in a queue?”  And then Neighbor 3 asks, “And what do you eat in China?  Things like monkey brains and doggie stew?”  Haha!  😀  That line always made me laugh (after cringing at the revolting misconceptions).  What I thought was the best part of being a neighbor was being able to witness to the Taiwanese soldiers in one scene and pray for China in another.  Some of my favorite lyrics are these *: “Yes, we will pray for China!  For the millions who need the Lord.  We’ll remember the church in China, that can’t freely worship God anymore.  And if your people in exile need us, far from home because of strife and war, we’ll obey however God may lead us.  To show them the love of the Lord!”

All of the students did an amazing job, and I really enjoyed working with everyone. 🙂  Four of the songs have been posted on youtube.  I put them in chronological order:

~Chinese New Year

~Prisoner of the Palace

~Enlightenment

~Prayer for China

* any punctuation errors are mine, since I wrote the lyrics from memory.

The Deadly Dramatic Dress Rehearsal

Yes, I realize this is several week late…  I have some explanations for that (mostly including the topic of this post and the topic of the next post (TeenPact).  Also, the fact that I will be taking my driving test this upcoming week!!  This only makes me slightly nervous.

On top of that, I have been preparing for my SAT and ACT tests which I’ll take later in the spring.  I found a great resource for preparing in advance.  It’s called Hack the SAT: a private SAT tutor spills the secret strategies and sneaky shortcuts that can raise your score hundreds of points by Eliot Schrefer.  I can’t say my scores have been raised, since I have yet to take the test.  I’ve found his tips and tricks to be quite useful in my practice tests, however, so I assume that they will also help me on the real test. 😉

Onto drama. 🙂  Yesterday (March 24th), was our first drama dress-rehearsal at the building where we will be performing.  We still do not have our 2 foot tall (.6 meter) stage.  I hope we will have one by the next rehearsal (in 2 weeks).  Instead of a stage, we had blue tape marking the stairs, stage, curtain, and “ocean” (the part of the floor that will be between the two stages–if you fall off you get eaten by the blue paint-tape fish).

We spent the first 30 of our 360 minute rehearsal putting on our costumes and wigs.  Before I go through more of the play-by-play I’m going to explain a bit about the general overview of the play (from my character(s) perspective(s)).  There are 18 scenes in the play.  Most of them are in France.  The rest are in England.  I am in 1/2 of the scenes (yes, I’m making you do the math 😉 ).  For 2/3 of my scenes I am a peasant.  The other 1/3 of the scenes I am a French aristocrat.  In 1/9th of the scenes I am English.

Starting the rehearsal with the first and last scenes, we slowly got into character.  By the 2nd try of the first scene, I became a poor French peasant and was able to (mostly) portray that fact to the world (well… the parents of the students who had nothing better to do with their evening than watch us make silly mistakes).

My hardest scenes were the trial scenes.  In these 2 scenes (one in England and one in France) I am a part of the court crowd, and I have to respond (with shouts and yells) to the attorney, the accused, etc.  The man being accused (Charles Darnay) does such a convincing job portraying his innocence and helplessness that I have trouble yelling the things I’m supposed to yell (for example: “Kill him!  Down with Evremonde!  To the guillotine!” etc.).  In the other trial I get to be part of the jury on stage, which is a lot of fun. 🙂

Another challenging scene for me, is the 3rd from last scene…  In it, I am in prison awaiting my death the next day (in 14 hours).  I’m still working on that scene, because it is hard to look depressed, while still looking in character and not totally bored.

Right before this scene, my friend J. and my friend H. and I were singing songs from Phantom of the Opera to help warm up our voices.

Afterwords I stayed to help clean up.  We pulled up all the tape, though a friend tried to convince me that we couldn’t pull it up until we had painted something (since it was “paint” tape). 🙂  Putting out the 12 tables and the 100 chairs was fun.  I also helped fold up the costumes and pack them away for our next dress-rehearsal.  I can’t wait!!

« Older entries