Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hola Miami

I headed down to Miami for Christmas, and was greeted by a nice 78* blanket of warmth, at night.  It was somewhat of an unplanned trip as I did not think I would be able to go down for the break, but God provided.  I got to enjoy seeing family and friends whom I had not seen in quite a while.  I also got to enjoy some of the foods not found around Waverly, such as "fritanga," pastelitos, cortaditos, empanadas, nacatamales and a few others.  It felt a bit odd being home, almost as if I were a visitor.  It was interesting to see Miami from a tourists point of view, everything seemed fresh and a bit more interesting then before.  Sometimes it is nice to take a step back from any situation, and take a fresh perspective of it.  You can see things never seen before, notice things that were not there before.  Going through the same routine over and over again can create somewhat of a blindness.  You learn to appreciate some things more, and learn how you can improve in other areas as well.  Many things changed since I left, some for the better, others unfortunately, for the worse, but it is all a part of life, nothing left to do but to pray.  I got to spend a lot of time with my family and share some of the great experiences of my first semester at ZMI. There was so much to tell and yet much of it was impossible to put into words, but I tried nonetheless.  It was sad to leave again as I was there for a quick week and did not get to see everyone I had hoped to see, but the journey must continue.  I have gotten farther than originally planned as God continues to extend this journey for another semester.  As this year comes to a close, I look back and realize just how God had been setting up everything to get me to this point.  He has truly taken good care of me and has been merciful, all I can do is be thankful and continue to put Him first, no matter the cost.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

a week of lasts...

Things come and things go, and now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Saturday was a difficult day to go through. It was a time for good byes, and a few "see you laters." The last of the graduates were leaving that morning, Bobby, Steph, and Alyssa.  I must say, I will miss them all dearly.  They made an impact in my life in ways that they may not even notice. Each of the grads in their own way was an example to me of different aspects and qualities of Christ.  Their love, dedication, and passion was a refreshing reminder of the beauty that God can do in and through people, young people.  This semester was special, not just for me because it was my first, but I feel everyone agrees it truly was, not because of us, but because it pleased God that it be so.  God moved in unexpected ways, poured out treasures in each person individually and as a fellowship.  Who are we that He was mindful of us...Was He preparing us for the times of revival, where His presence will be continuously manifesting itself? Perhaps, but one thing I am sure, the latter rain is greater than the former.
And what to say of the rest? The semester flew by so fast, too fast.  There were many new experiences, many new people, much to learn.  It is quite difficult to summarize everything into simple words, for many of the moments cannot be put into words. The classes brought many blessings, learning more about God and His word, digging deeper into His truths. The best part was, His spirit always moving to make these truths more than just head knowledge, making them seeds in our heart that will later give much fruit.  Every experience taught me something new, that will later be a great asset to any future ministry.  I am no longer a young man at the door steps of an epochal moment, for that moment has come and has begun. I was greeted by strangers, in a land unknown to me, entering a world I had only heard of, and now that the semester has gone, I call them my friends, my family, my loved ones; a land I now call home, a world that I have now seen with my own eyes. I am in great expectancy to see what God has prepared for me next, and also for the fellowship.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Coming to a close

This week, we decided to begin our "going away" celebrations for the 4th semester students.  Monday began with a simple ribbon decoration on their desks. Tuesday progressed with "snow" paintings on their desks. Wednesday a simple trophy, because they hit the mark ;) , awaited them. Thursday, balloons with colors from their home country, Canada, greeted them. Friday was sealed with a plethora of "post its" adorning the tops of their desks with random, loving, warm, messages from some of the other students. Now to plan for next week...
   This past friday, a few of us headed down to Elderwood Senior care.  We put on quite a show for them, a little different than what we usually do.  We started out by singing some christmas songs, which they seemed to enjoy very much.  Then Suzanne, Stephanie and Katie, did a special, singing/playing Mary's Boy Child.  Then some of the students did a small skit, which was very entertaining. The basic idea of it was: what if none of the shepherds would have dared to believe our savior was going to visit them that night? Interesting to think, how these lowly shepherds made such a difference even till this day, because they simply believed. Then Chris gave a great message about the importance of receiving Jesus in our lives. Pastor Paul Caram was telling us today how there was this elderly lady that was baptized being 102 years young, its never too late.  I know there were few there that did feel the need for Jesus in their hearts and I pray that they did or will make the the choice to say yes. We closed off by singing a few more carols and chatting with some of those that came out.  It was a true blessing to be with them. Afterwards, a few of us grabbed a snack and stopped at a random gazebo in town to enjoy Karen's new Rebel.  And that ended the night.