Johannine Literature is the name of the class this semester that is changing the way I understand Jesus, his ministry, and ultimately how I can mirror his actions in my own life. Before this year, I had heard about how difficult this class was, and yes, while it is extremely time consuming at times, I have never become so passionate about learning something in my life. Although we have only covered chapters 2,3,4, and 5 in the past eight weeks, I feel like I have learned so much. Never before had I thought about Jesus performing the water to wine miracle as his first step to the cross, he had not revealed himself for thirty years before that! Never before had I understood the significance of Jesus reaching out to the Samaritan woman: a foreigner, a woman, and a sinner. Never before had I unraveled the story of Nicodemus to find Jesus hinting at eternal life providing us a better quality of life now forever. These are just some of the facts found in these chapters that my mind has been trying to wrap itself around for a couple months now. If you get a chance, read the gospel of John, it will change your life. I found myself so caught up in what I had learned, that when it came time to take the test I became stressed, wanting to prove that I was enjoying and benefitting from all I was being taught. At this very moment, after taking the class this morning, I am rejoicing in all that I have learned that will help propel conversations and understanding in the future.
Student Orientation Services
“Now that I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one anothers feet. I have set you as an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:14-15
I could not think of a better way that I could start my blog post about my SOS experience than our theme verse for our staff this year. Looking back, I can say that over the past half a year God has done a major work in my life concerning serving: what it is to serve and how you can live a life of service. The Student Orientation Services program at Biola has taught me how to serve the new students and the community and I have come out of this experience with a lot of growth.
Coming back to Biola after a tough summer was nerve wracking, but I was completely provided for by God through my encouraging, loving, and intentional staff that immediately made me feel like a part of something whole again. We had two crazy weeks of training sessions, a retreat, prepping for our students, and LATE skit practices. I think I can speak for a lot of other people by saying we were an extremely caffinated staff those couple of weeks, that extra shot of expresso definitely helped! Anyways, all the hours of training in the Spring and the Fall were building up to our Orientation Kickoff on August 24th!!!!
We woke up early in the morning, ran through the dorms and banged on all the doors of Horton to wake everyone up (yes, thats like my dream and it was awesome), and performed our skit in front of all the incoming students! Looking back, I don’t think anything could really prepare me for the initial meeting of my SOS group, it was so different than I thought it would be! Putting prayer request to face from all of the emails over the summer was absolutely amazing! Hearing their anticipations about the coming school year was really exciting because I truly believe in each one of their potential. Talking to all of the transfers this year was a great reminder of how lucky I was to transfer to Biola.
After the initial meeting of all of our students, the SOS leaders worked at various events throughout the week. We had a hang out day at the park, a great afternoon/night at Corona Del Mar, the Academic Commencement Dinner, Splash, and serve day! Personally, I loved doing the morning devotion with some of my group early one day…I feel like God really equipped me with a message to speak and a story to share :) Seeing my students immerse themselves into the Biola community is so great! And seeing my friends step into the leadership positions God has called them to was so so so beautiful.
My SOS experience would not have been the same if it were not for the 70 people standing behind me to encourage and push me, particularly this group pictured above. I LOVE MY CREW. Together, we learned how to be effective leaders and be truly vulnerable with each other about what was going on in our lives. I think I am truly in denial that SOS is over after the debrief retreat we just had, but after all is said and done I can happily say that I would not change a thing :) Thank you to Greg and Lexi for being amazing directors, the crew leaders for being approachable and there for us, and the rest of my wonderful staff for being the support I needed. Above all, thank you God for this truly amazing opportunity to serve the Biola community.
California List 2012-13
- Attend a Clippers game
- Camping at Joshua Tree
- Hike in the Santa Monica Mountains
- Pop over to AZ for some Grand Canyon action
- Red Sox vs Angels game in Anaheim!
- Explore San Diego more
- Lake Tahoe
- Skiing at Big Bear
- The Price is Right
- Try out for Xopoc at school
- See a show at the House of Blues Anaheim
- Cliff Jumping
- Do an intramural sport besides volleyball
- See Carrie Underwood (October!!!!)
- Go on a white water rafting trip
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5
Well friends, I am at about the halfway point of my summer. In 35 days I return to sunny California for another that I am sure will be filled with amazing experiences. Until then, I will continue to be working in New Hampshire at Camp Brookwoods and Deer Run.
Here at camp I work in the office as the Transportation Coordinator, and also help out with whatever they need me for, or in the store. Since coming to camp, I feel like time has passed very slowly. At first, I was very sad about this because of my tough transition back to the East Coast and because I missed my friends from school so much. At camp, I am living in the back of a cabin full of 11-12 year old girls, and I am surrounded by beautiful woods on Lake Winnipesauke. Each week they have some awesome opportunities like staff worship, staff ski, and staff ice cream for everyone to take part in..and I love that because I get to see the people I normally do not see on a day to day basis.
So, what have I learned from the Lord during this time? Reliance on him to get through each and every day. By offering my day to God for service each morning when I wake up, reading a chapter of Isaiah and Romans 5:1-5 each day, and listening to worship music as often as I can I have gotten through this much of the summer, even though I thought that I never would. I am excitedly anticipating the Fall, but I need to really stop and enjoy where I am now and take advantage of the gorgeous surroundings in NH and the amazing people that I am with.
A Free Moment
Working in New Hampshire this summer is definitely something that has caught me off guard…the change of scenery, the change of people, the change of lifestyle. Change, Change, Change. One thing that I have realized about all of this change this summer is how much I miss Biola. However, I know that this summer is going to bring something special…growth in my relationship with God and my pure dependance on him. I have already learned a lot in this difficult transition to summer. Most importantly, I have learned to look for God in the situation. I find myself questioning why I am here at this camp this summer, but reminding myself about the truths that God constantly repeats in his word.
One of the best things that I have been doing thusfar has been emailing my transfer students for SOS. Whenever I receive a response from one of them it reminds me of California, and I long to be there and see all of my friends again. Biola is truly on my heart, and I understand this now as I am over 3,000 miles away. At camp, I am the Transportation Coordinator. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in the office, but I am really happy to serve anywhere that I am needed! If you are reading this, I would love it if you could pray for me. That would mean the world to me.
This is a picture of my brother and I after the Celtics won game 4 against the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals! This is just one of the many fun things that I have been able to do since being home. I also went to a Red Sox game with two of my best friends from my old school, Umass Boston. For a late mothers day present I took my mom to see Beauty and the Beast at the Boston Opera House, and it was absolutely fantastic. I have been able to reunite with some old friends; I have been realizing how much older I feel coming back home this time, especially when I went to my brothers graduation from Shrewsbury High School. Currently I am sitting in bed writing this post because I sadly had my wisdom teeth taken out (chipmunk status) and they hurt a lot! Looking forward to when the pain will stop.
Summertime for me is always a time of reflection and meditation, and taking the time out of my day to pray. A lot happened over the past year that I am so thankful for, and I have definitely changed with the experiences that I had at Biola! I leave next week for a summer working in New Hampshire…do not know what to expect, but I am excited for this new adventure :) Today I finished up writing letters to a lot of my fellow SOS leaders. Since leaving school, I realized how big of an impact my friends have had on my life, and particularly these people! So it was great to just send some encouraging letters <3 I always get really happy thinking about California.
“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other”.”Walter Elliot (via melanietumbles)
Back for the summer
Being back home in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts is different this time. I feel like that past year in California going to Biola University has been a dream! Well, I flew back in on Sunday morning at 6AM (brutal flights) and I have been going through what one could call a reverse culture shock. I forget how different Mass. and California are…its crazy how two places in the came country can be so different! There are so many different trees here…trees so big that you cant see beyond them, whereas in California I can see for miles and gaze upon the mountains in the distance. Humidity is something that I forgot about, and definitely have to get used to! Compared to the dry heat that I have been living in. OH ANDDD I was home for one day and already had a zillion bug bites (how does that happen?!?!?). Living back at home I feel a little bit claustrophobic and confined, but hey, Im not living on a college campus anymore so what can I expect. Everything around me is familiar, but seems distant. Walking into my room for the first time was a weird experience as I saw all of my high school memories hanging on the walls, but I took some of them down and hung up some of my new pictures to make it feel more comfortable. I miss my friends and my community a lot, but my family and friends here are so great too. Although I have changed so much in the past year, they know my past and I am so grateful for their continued presence in my life <3
This summer I took a spontaneous job at a camp in New Hampshire. Mixed feelings are happening right now and I am feeling anxious, excited, and nervous at the same time. I only have two and a half weeks at home before I go, so I will be spending it with my family, friends, the Celtics, and the Red Sox :) One very important thing that I have constantly had to remind myself of is that God is still with me on this journey even though I am not in California anymore. My faith is something that I will never lose, and God is working in me this summer and has called me to do big things. I am actually really excited to jump into something new, it will be an adventure :) I will also be taking an online summer history class and emailing my students whose orientation leader I will be in the fall! I have a lot to look forward to despite the rough start. Prayer would be appreciated :)
10 Things I Never Thought I Would Have Done
Since moving to California and coming to Biola [in no particular order]
1. Go Bungee Jumping
2. Become an Orientation Leader
3. Drive to church in Hollywood every Sunday
4. Attend a red carpet award show
5. Swim in the ocean in December
6. Start a club on campus
7. Learn to drive stick shift
8. Become a Comm major with Soc. & Bible minors
9. Be denied food at restaurants for wearing Boston sports teams apparel
10. Explore San Francisco
This past weekend I went on a 20 mile backpacking trip through the Sespe Wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest. Well, lets just say that the journey was tough but it was definitely worth the reward.
This trip was put together for our last Adventure Club event, and we went camping! I could not have asked for a better group of people to have experienced this with. Its one of those moments where I got back to school and was thinking to myself “Wow, nobody here could ever understand what I just did except for the people who did it with me.” One of the best parts of the trip was Sunday morning where we each talked about what Adventure Club means to us, and how God has worked in our lives through the club.
To me, I have made some of the best friends I could have ever asked for. I never would have expected God to work through this club in a way that generated such a community that would feel like family! Also, I have learned that I am stronger than I may feel, and that I can achieve a lot more than I ever thought I could! This club has helped me test my strength, and stretch my mentality and leadership capabilities. Thank you God for providing me with this unforgettable year with Adventure Club :)
Amidst the trials of this life, God is present. This is one of the biggest realizations and encouragements to me this past week. Although we fail so many times, Gods anger is turned away and he comforts us. With joy we can understand this and praise and exclaim his goodness. Thank you God for being so good to me and finally putting my heart at peace with so many things.
This past weekend has been quite eventful! On Friday, I danced on stage in front of thousands of Biola’s students for one of the biggest events of the year, Mock Rock. Mock Rock is a lip synching and dancing competition between 8 different teams. I danced with my awesome SOS (Student Orientation Services) staff! Our theme was Romeo & Juliet. We had been practicing until VERY late every single night to prepare for this amazing night :) Honestly, being in Mock Rock was definitely one of the highlights of my semester…it was surreal! Sometimes I am still shocked by the amazing things that I am able to do on this campus :)
On Saturday, the Adventure Club drove out to Joshua Tree National Park to go bouldering and star gazing! It was absolutely magnificent. I have never seen anything like it before. I would definitely go back another time & I COMPLETELY recommend it to anyone to go there.
Well, its Sunday and I am in the Library trying to get some of my work for the week out of the way including a Doctrine Project on the Church, Research Paper on World Vision and Child Sponsorship, and a speech. Singspo is tonight (yay!) and I am about to have dinner with some of my favorite people. Life is good. 4 more weeks of school left until I head home..not sure how I feel about this yet, but I am going to live every moment to the fullest that I have left on campus this semester :)