Thursday, October 28, 2004

Roooooad Trip!

HEY! It has been over three months since I have taken a decent road trip! What is up with that?! I think it is a new personal record. Seriously.

So tomorrow, me and two Arlington youth volunteers are trekking it across the Cascades to Moses Lake, WA! Woohoo! Moses Lake, YEAH!

Okay, Moses Lake, WA is not exactly the hippest road trip destination.

So, I'll take it for what it is--seven hours in a car. My cd's...and the breeze. oh. and rain. and expensive gasoline. And two days of training in how to be a superbly better youth minister! Yeah, road trip!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Quest for Christian 20-somethings.

I suppose growing up in Coshocton, Ohio has allowed me to develop a lot of patience in building friendships with motivated Christians my own age. I understand that in small towns, there are often very few responsible Christian young people, making fellowship with other Christians often frustrating and fact, for most of my time at home, I had one other close Christian friend my own age.

My time at Taylor changed that, in that now, I have about 35 solid Christian friends my own age, but, as it just so happens, zero of them happen to live in Arlington, Washington...meaning it's starting from scratch again and praying for at least "one" Christian friend.

And I do have several Christian friends my own age in Washington--in fact, I'm lucky enough to share an apartment with one of them! However--it still falls short of being a "community" of friends, especially when my roommate happens to be the only one actually living within 30 miles of me.

Within the past few weeks--this prayer of mine--for Christian fellowship with other 20-somethings is gradually being answered:

(1) My young women's small group Bible study--It's mostly girls from my new home church. Last night was my second time visiting with this group of people, and we have had at least seven 20-something women currently attending. Last night, we had a great time of fellowship and study. After our first meeting last month, I was apprehensive about my ability to genuinely connect with these young women, but after meeting again last night, I am excited to be growing in relationship with them! We only meet once every 2-3 weeks, but the time of sharing and fellowship is definitely encouraging and sustaining--and it is definitely a group of women that I am comfortable with and excited to know better.

(2) This weekend, I will be attending a Seminar for Youth Ministers in Rural Areas, and I will be accompanied by another youth worker in town who happens to be a single 20-something Christian woman. We haven't yet met in person, but our phone conversation yesterday was enough to encourage me that she will also be a source for fellowship in Arlington! She is excited to get to know me too, and she's already involved in full-time children's ministry in Arlington and definitely looking for more 20-something Christian friends in town...

So, all of this to say that my best friends are still scattered across areas that are not called "Arlington, Washington" but the potential for that dynamic to shift is on the horizon. I am being patient, realizing that forming solid post-college relationships takes a lot of time and intentionality--and at the same time, I'm praising God for these small glimmers of potential friendships here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Chicken Cut-Off Running Head.

ACK! That's what yesterday felt like, like I was a chicken head, running around, only to realize I had left my body behind!

But--all for a good cause. We opened "The Mud Hut" for two hours last night, and 40 kids showed up to hang out, play pool, foosball, air hockey and X-box....and one of our volunteers shared his testimony....and it was a crazy, crazy evening, but still enjoyable.

I lost a horrible game of foosball to a 15-year-old, yet fared the evening well in my "super-crazy extroverted mode" which I really haven't unleashed since the days of Camp Aldersgate...I guess that means I'm getting comfortable with this place and these kids.

It was awesome to think that a year ago, when I visited "The Mud Hut" I knew zero kids, and last night, when the kids walked in, I could identify at least half of them by name. A marked improvement, certainly.

I invited three new girls to Monday Night Bible Study, and I will be praying, praying, praying that the Lord would work out their hearts to come--IF that be His will.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Girls at AHS

Over the course of the last few weeks, I've gotten to know several girls at lunch that I really like and really connect with. I look forward to talking with these three girls, and over the course of the last few weeks, I have also discovered that each of these three girls has significant areas of prayer. One is considering pursuing Wicca, one is a devout Mormon, and the other one is possibly going to be transferred to her third school system this year. Each time I talk with these girls, my heart breaks, and I wonder how the Lord wants to use me to reach them.

So I pray, and I ask you to pray.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

i have my halloween costume ready.

i am covered in specks of white paint. i had no idea how covered i was in paint until the chiropractor told me it looked like i'd done a 50/50 job, getting half the paint on the wall and half on myself. i can't really disagree.

i spent the afternoon in "the mud hut" painting the kitchen in preparation for our halloweeny-type harvest party next monday. we decided it would be fun just to open the old YD coffee shop just for one night. plus, the bible study boys miss the bible study girls. so. as a result, i am now, apparently, already dressed in my ghost costume.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

"I'm a Child of the Living God"

So, I had an awesome weekend. For lots of reasons. One of them being--the amazing worship band at Hillcrest Chapel in Bellingham. I LOOOOVE this worship band, and I have had one of their songs stuck in my head for TWO whole days. In fact, you can go listen to the song at this link: Thank You. The chorus says, "I'm a child of the living God, and I know this life is not my own. I'm lifted up by the hand of grace, and I want this life to say thank you."

And so that's my prayer this week--Lord--this life is not my own...therefore, please conform my heart to your will and have my life be what you would want it to be.

Last night the Monday night girls and I started "Worship Journals," which I hope will be a spiritual exploration for all of us. I think the journals will help us find the way in which we connect best to God through personal worship--filling them with poems, lyrics, photos, or stories that really affect us, no matter whether or not they seem connected to God at all.

I'm beginning to realize how personal and creatively unique everyone's walk is--and--this week I'm going to be reading Sacred Pathways, written by Gary Thomas (of Hillcrest Chapel in Bellingham) which really explores one's spiritual journey and how one best relates to God....I'm excited to share with these girls how creative and diverse God is, and that they don't have to confine Him to ten minutes of devotionals a day and one Sunday morning worship service...these journals will be a start.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Wednesdays at AFM

My Wednesday evenings, for now, are spent most regularly at the Arlington Free Methodist Youth Group, called "E.G.P." (Experiencing God Project). I'm not a regular volunteer--I just show up to watch the 16-year-old girls (and one brave 12-year-old boy) play Dance Dance Revolution, and then I hang out with them during small group and worship time. I guess I go to Youth Group to continue meeting kids with whom I could eventually share the gospel--and that might seem odd--since it's in a church. BUT, out of the 70 or so kids in this youth group, maybe 10-20 of them are committed Christians. So for now, it's just another way for me to continue to meet and build relationships with kids in Arlington.

Last night, I ended up having three specifically good conversations with kids that I would title "fringe kids." It was very difficult to break through the shells of all three of these kids, but at the same time, they were three of the most amazingly rewarding conversations I've had with kids so far this year.

One of these kids, who had been ignoring me for the first five minutes of our "conversation" ended up talking to me a little about small stuff. After the main message, she all of a sudden turns to me and says, "You know, I don't think I'll really understand what it was like for God to sacrifice his only son until I'm a mother. Then I will really have a better idea of what it means to sacrifice something that means that much to you."

I told her what a great insight that was, and how that we probably will learn more about God's love after we have kids--and then I also added, "Please remember this all important order though: (1) husband, (2) kids." She laughed. I didn't laugh back--my list of "kids I work with who are significantly at-risk for being teen moms" is rapidly growing. Pray for them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Moldy Walls.

In an effort to effectively empathize with the entire state of Florida, Harrison County in Ohio, and my friend Hannah in India, I have decided to grow MOLD in my office.

Okay, I didn't decide this, but it just so happened that on Friday night, the basement of the office flooded, and my office is in the basement, meaning I arrived at work on Saturday morning to find soggy carpet. Apparently, when you have soggy carpet, you also have to rip off all the baseboard in order to not have mold grow up the walls. Unfortunately, the mold had already started, and I can see the mold even now from where I sit typing at my desk.

The carpet cleaner guy has hung strawberry air fresheners on my doorknobs to assuage the smell.

I'm certainly thankful that I lost exactly zero dollars of property and work materials in "The Flood: October 2004," and I laugh at the irony of spending two months cleaning and organizing an office that now has everything strewn about in boxes and is filled with dehumidifiers and carpet fans.

I'm not complaining. I actually find it to be rather adventurous. If the volcano were to spew lava my direction, I'd really feel loved.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Rock Day!

On Saturday, Bronco, YD Volunteer Greg, and I accompanied four Arlington youth to Mt. Erie in Anacortes, WA where we spent the day climbing up rock faces and rappeling down them. I'd never tried it before, and it turns out that I LOVE ROCK CLIMBING! and apparently, because 11 years of ballet gave me lots of flexibility and dexterity, I'm not too shabby at it either! Hoorah!

One of my students was really discouraged about her ability to make it all of the way to the top, and we kept encouraging her to stick with it. She didn't give up, and a half-hour later, she made it all the way to the top! Watching her overcome fear and uncertainly was definitely my highlight of the day.

Rock Day 10/09/04 Posted by Hello

Rock Day 10/09/04 Posted by Hello

Photos from Rock Day 10/09/04 at Mt. Erie in Anacortes, WA. It was my first time climbing and rappeling, and apparently all of those years of ballet paid off to make me an excellent climber! Woohoo! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Jesus loves yoga.

A few months ago, I clipped a photo out of "Backpacker" magazine. The photo showed a blonde-haired girl, standing on a yoga mat in front of her tent and all of her camping gear. Behind her were snow-capped mountains and tall evergreen trees. She was standing in "exalted warrior", a yoga pose in which she had her head and arms lifted towards the clouds.

I clipped the ad out of the magazine and pasted it in my journal, scribbling the caption, "My Prayer Life" underneath it. Because that's how I want my prayers to they're being exalted right up to God from this beautiful locale, while I'm isolated on a mountaintop with my camping gear. Just me, God, and yoga.

So last night, I had a brainstorm for my Monday Night Group. "We can do yoga!" I thought..."and...we can talk about prayer!" So we did talk about prayer, and we talk about how we can listen and speak to God, and how we should be reverent, and then, we did the P.M. Yoga video together, where, if our heart is in the right place, we could, really be listening to God and showing him reverence.

And I was thinking about how awesome it would be to spend these next few months with my girls exploring the variety of ways in which we should and could worship. This week we did yoga. Next week we're baking cookies. The week after that, maybe we'll paint something, and then go hiking, and then write poetry, and then sing, and then, and then, and then.

Brother Lawrence writes about how to "Practice the Presence of God," by making prayer a continual flow outward from our spirit--a continual flow from our day...and I'm curious to see--can these girls find and seek God just by practically understanding how He is a part of the miniscule pieces of their day and how something as simple as mopping their floor can glorify God? It's too early to say if it will become something really reverent and worshipful or if it's merely a good "hook" tactic to get girls to Bible Study.

I do know that three girls I talked to today who didn't make it to Bible Study last night said, "How did it go? I'm sorry I missed!" "It was awesome," I said, "We did yoga and talked about prayer. Next week, we're baking cookies!" "That's so fun!" they said, "I can't wait to come!"

Monday, October 04, 2004

Yeah, Volcanoes!

I got an email from Dad this morning saying, "Call your mother to reassure her and I that you are not about to be bowled over by lava!" (that's a paraphrase, by the ways...)

Anyways--if anyone happens to share Mom and Dad's concern that I could perhaps be in harm's way, be not discouraged! Mt. St. Helen's, for all its rumblings, is still 3-4 hours south of me. In 1980, they did get ash this far north, BUT, that was when 1/3rd of the Mountain was blown off, and I'm pretty sure that's not a risk.

It is a bit exciting to be contemplating a volcano exploding near me, making me feel very much like Pierce Brosnan or another disaster movie counterpart. Unfortunately, I don't know if my life is QUITE that interesting. At least, I hope it won't be.