Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Take My Life (Here Am I)

Wow.  It has been SOOOOOO long!  Things have been pretty crazy.  Lots of busy schedules and things to do.  But it feels good to reminisce through all the memories now! 

The song of this post is Take My Life with Chris Tomlin's spin on it.  SO GOOD!  Yes, Mom.  Listen to this song.  :]  Love you by the way!  heehee.  But really.  The song has just really spoken to me over the past couple of weeks.  We did it for our chapel, and the lyrics are just so powerful.  I want my life to be all for Him.  Let God use it for whatever He wants.  Here's the link:

So, the last time I wrote, I believe I was just about ready to go home.  That feels like so long ago now!  I am really gonna try to update this at least once a week from now on tho, if at all possible.  Going back home was so great tho.  It was fantastic seeing a bunch of my friends and family again.  The time felt really short, but it was so good.  I just loved hearing about everyone's life and how things have gone for everyone.  I miss hearing about the normal things in life.  Well, the things that used to be really normal.  So, the time with people was really, REALLY good for me.  Loved it. 

Also, before I go any farther, just let me apologize for rambling and telling pointless details from life here.  Since it has been so long since I last posted (which I am very sorry for), I feel like the memories are going to come back to me very sporadically.

But anyway.  A LOT has happened since visitor's weekend.  I mean A LOT.  The week after that weekend all of our sessions were about figuring out our personalities and what our spiritual gifts are.  It was a pretty eye-opening week.  I learned so much about myself and how that affects how I interact with other people.  It was actually the beginning of me understanding how I needed to change my attitude and view of a lot of things.  Basically, it was a really challenging and insightful week.  Great information to take in right before we left for Practicum. 

Before I get to that part of the last 3 weeks though, I can not leave out one of the coolest nights I have experienced in a long time.....THE LECRAE CONCERT!!!!  Yes, it was incredible.  Honestly, it is in the top 3 concerts I have ever been to, and I don't even know what other concerts are in the top 3, but Lecrae's is definitely there.  SO FUN!  But basically some really awesome people (Jean, Maggie, Rachel, Derek and I) decided that hearing Lecrae live was definitely worth $23, so we went to the Newport.  While we were there, I got to see my cute little sister (heehee) and 7 other people from random places in my life.  It was really cool.  The concert was beast.  Canon, Andy Mineo, Trip Lee and Lecrae all in one concert.  SO GOOD.  And the best part is, every single one of those guys loves Jesus genuinely.  They all gave part of their testimony or talked about how God has changed their life in some way.  It was so cool.  Lecrae was especially awesome to hear talk.  He is so sold out for Christ, it is incredible.  He honestly wants no recognitoin for what he does but wants all the glory to directed towards God. 

While Lecrae was talking, something really awesome happened.  Basically, God used Lecrae to speak directly into my life, in a way that I am still trying to figure out.  It's a hard thing to explain, but if you want to know more about it, feel free to message me on facebook or something.  Nothing like it has happened to me before, so it was just really awesome.  God just used him as a tool for confirmation.  SO AWESOME. 

But now, back to regular life.  The concert happened on Thursday night and Friday morning we left for Practicum.  In short, Practicum is just a week where the teams get sent out to different unknown cities and kinda get a feel for what outreach is going to be like as a team.  Team Chile was sent to DETROIT!  Needless to say, me and Jean were SUPER pumped for this. 

Our team stayed at a Catholic parish (basically a lodging place that was connected to the church).  When we first got there, I will admit, I was kinda creeped out by the parish.  To me, it felt like the perfect location for a horror movie or something.  BUT, after a day there I realized I was being way overly dramatic.  The place had a lot of character though :] 

In Detroit, our main outreach location was a place called Focus: Hope.  Its a nonprofit organization that is basically fighting poverty and racism.  On Sunday, the FH had their biggest event of the year: a fundraiser walk.  So on Saturday, our job was to walk the 4 mile coarse and pass out flyers to people, houses, and businesses.  While we were walking, we got to talking to a lady and her 3 boys.  They told us about a "musical" that their church was going to put on that night.  Not having anything to do, we were like.....yeah!  We will go! In my mind, this musical sounded like an outdoor little performance put on by the congregation.  ........Nope.  Not what it was at all.  So, here is what I was expecting, which led to the approach and appearance I left the house with.  Basically, I looked like a bum dressed in red gym shorts and a t-shirt.  We pull up to the church, and I realized how off my expectations were.  As we parked, I saw two VERY NICELY dressed people exit their cars.  I'm talking decked out.  .....Yeah.  Not the greatest feeling for me.  As we walk into the church, we are directed to the FRONT ROW.  THE VERY FRONT.  Not only do I look like a hobo......but I am sitting IN THE FRONT OF THE ENTIRE CONGREGATION!  And another little tidbit......the church we were attending was solely African American.  So, just to remind you: red gym shorts, front row, Caucasian.  Not only was I taken offguard with all these details, but I looked like I was trying to be disrespectful.  Not a good feeling.  Also, the "musical" they kept talking about was not what I consider a musical in my head.  Basically, it was a talent show for amazing praise groups from around the area.  The music was fantastic.  The people who performed had serious skill in the area of singing and harmony and such.  But the term musical really did not give the service the right feel.  AND, since we were in the front row, we could not tell when other people sat down.  So on multiple occasions, we found ourselves to be like the only people standing and clapping away.  Then one of us would glance back and quickly sit down while trying to get the attention of the rest of the team as discretely and quickly as possible. 

Looking back, that story is very comical and funny.  But at the time, especially in the beginning, it was pretty uncomfortable for me.  It turned out to be a really awesome experience tho. 

Also, as I scan back over what I have already written, I realize this post is enormous.  So I have decided to briefly go over what we did and maybe include some stories if I think they are worthy of mentioning :]

So on Sunday, we had to be at Focus: Hope (FH) at 7am to help blow up balloons and kind of decorate the campus for the walk.  It was quite the operation, but we got done pretty quickly.  We set them up around the place and then did random odd jobs like fill trashcans with bags and set up tables and stuff.  As more volunteers arrived, our job became very......vague.  Basically, we spent more time locating people and asking them if they needed help then actually helping, but it was ok.  I've kind of come to the conclusion that God had us there to help tear down everything after the walk.  So that is what we did.  When the other volunteers were all leaving and going home, we stayed and carried chairs, tore down tables, picked up trash, and just any other thing that needed to be done.  Bill (the main coordinator we had at FH) was so happy for our help that he took us out for pizza afterwards.  It was a lot of fun.  Really good to talk to Bill and hear about his life and relax after a long day. 

Monday through Wednesday we were given random jobs around the campus of FH.  We packed up a whole room full of old VHS tapes according to the year they were recorded, loaded the boxes into a truck, then unloaded the truck, carried the boxes up a flight of stairs and stacked them into a tiny room/huge closet.  We worked out a warehouse and swept, loaded "buggies", made boxes, tore down boxes.  Lots of random things.  It felt really good to help out and do things that needed to get done. 

Along the way, we met a really phenomenal person.  His name is Denny, a 57 year old cancer survivor and lover of Jesus Christ.  The man is a BEAST.  His story is just so awesome.  It points to the total greatness of Jesus and His grace. He was such an inspiration to us.  Hard worker and totally sold out for Christ.  On the last day we had with him, he brought his guitar, and we found a small room in the warehouse and just worshipped Jesus together for probably 30-45 minutes.  It was incredible.  One of the coolest experiences of the whole trip.  Just a great guy. 

We also helped out around the parish a little.  We moved a bunch of donated clothes from the garage to the basement of another building and set up tables and moved furniture.  Just really odd jobs that needed to get done.  It was nice to talk to Paul and Larry while we worked. 

I dont know.  I feel like I am not doing the week justice in telling you what we did, but it really was a FANTASTIC week for my team and I.  We got so much closer as a unit and just really saw God working in some very cool ways.  So thankful for the opportunity to go there.

On the last day in Detroit, we had free time so we decided to go into downtown.  It was a lot of fun.  We walked around the city, along the river, and just kind of explored.  Took a tour of the Renaissance Center which is the headquarters of General Motors or something like that.  Got to see Bumblebee from the movie Transformers!!  And a bunch of random other cars that my teammates think are cool :]  As you can see, I dont share in their enthusiasm for cars and motors and engines and transmissions and rims and spark plugs and......

Also, I would just like to add one more little story from the trip.  I am happy to report that I fearlessly stood up for my Buckeyes on a packed bus in downtown Detroit.  One of the proudest moments of my life I would have to say.... :]  Ok so maybe not quite that fantastic....but it was still pretty great.  But what can I say?  I got the Buckeye pride in me :]

Its really hard to sum up everything that has been happening in the past couple of weeks into paragraphs and sentences.  And its even harder since so much has happened and so much time has gone by.  I will do my absolute best to not go this long without posting.  It actually is a little stressful to tell you the truth.  Sorry its so long.  I wouldnt even read it if I werent me, so if you get through the whole thing.....I commend you :]

Thank you all for your prayers and support!  God has been so faithful, and I have just been so blessed by everyone back home.  I love receiving letters and emails.  Its just good to hear about home and the lives of all you guys.  Thanks again!  Love and miss you all!  Praying for you all.  God bless! 

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