Friday, April 24, 2009

Last Day of Classes

The campus has come alive. There are buds on the trees, daffodils opened to the sun above, tulips beginning to bloom, and birds excitedly chirping as if they were telling stories of their journeys the past months. People are walking with a spring in their step, while sporting clothes that have been stored away all winter. Smiles light up the campus, hugs are tightly given, and shrieks of joy are heard as friends greet each other like long lost relatives, having finally come out of the cave of winter. It's an 80 degree day...girls are laying out on blankets and try to look sexy as the boys throw frisbees and baseballs while trying to look buff. Couples of newly defined relationships hesitantly make their entrance into the outside world as friends on bikes and roller blades whiz by, looking sporty in apparel.

As the breeze gently goes through my hair, I am thankful. Looking back on the day...it was my last day of classes and the anticipation of graduation is now running full speed ahead. I had lunch with Amanda, a friend from freshmen year, and I asked her how she had changed throughout the past four years. We both agreed that we had formed a clearer idea of who we are as individuals and had become more open to other's ideas and viewpoints. Listening to other people share has strengthened my own convictions, yet, at the same time, has caused me to think deeply about issues. Though it is a continual process, I am content with who I am. I do not have the desire to be anyone else or be anywhere else. God has appointed me in this place for this moment, and content in this place, I will be.

Dr. Suess once wrote, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." I am so glad that these four years happened the way that they did and I am eagerly awaiting for what God has next. For now, my gown hangs in the closet as I attempt to concentrate on the two finals and two papers that I am facing this week. So, back to work I must go!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Uganda

Many people have been asking me about what is next after graduation. Well, I have no idea what this upcoming year is going to look like, but I do know what is happening a week from graduation...I'm going to Uganda!

Here is a more detailed version, in the form of my support letter:

God has certainly been working in me throughout my senior year at Hope College. He has urged me, through words of encouragement, to remember the passion that He has placed in me for reaching out to others. This driving theme has challenged me to have deep conversations with people as well as shifting my outlook beyond my college bubble. Recently, I went on a Hope-sponsored mission trip to Stinking Creek, Kentucky during spring break. Fifteen students traveled together to work on Lend-a-Hand farm, located in a remote and poverty-stricken region of Appalachia, to aid the community surrounding the farm through tutoring and hosting a carnival for area children. It was such a wonderful and rewarding experience.

As I began to question what was next, God turned my focus internationally. Derek Levendusky, founder of the Ugandan Water Project and Isaiah Six Ministries, asked me if I would be willing to go to Uganda from May 11-21, 2009. The Ugandan Water Project is a Christian outreach to the Ugandan people through provision of water tanks. The Muslims are giving water for free to villagers who profess Islam and then sell it to Christians, thus contributing to the growth of Islam in Africa. Derek’s project aims to provide water to Christians and villagers for free. More information can be seen at http://www.isaiahsix.com/.

As I thought about the prospect, God spoke to me through various sources, confirming that I should go on the trip. Derek will be speaking at a pastors’ conference in Kampala, the capital city. From there, we will travel to check on some of the wells that Derek and his team were able to install in August of last year, as well as check out some potential sites. Our team of four will have the opportunity to meet many Ugandans and share the love of Christ with them. Derek has asked me to give a talk to the village women on Biblical womanhood, an honor that will put my public speaking skills to the test. The idea of going to Uganda causes me to shake my head in wonder of what God has done—and what he is going to do through this trip.

Before I leave and while I am in Uganda, would you be willing to stand with me and pray for my team members and me? I am asking God for protection, provision, and power to be evident in this trip. Only God can soften hearts, keep his children safe, and raise up Christians to proclaim the Gospel in Uganda. I would deeply appreciative for your prayers during this time.

To make this trip possible, I am raising $2,000 of support. This amount will cover the airfare, food, lodging, and transportation within Uganda. Will you consider supporting me in this adventure? Checks can be made out to Isaiah Six or you could contribute online at http://www.isaiahsix.com/. Anything that you give would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for being willing to pray for me and support me as I step out into what God has for me. I will be sure to let you know just what God accomplished on this trip! May His blessings be with you.