This book is completely, legit-ly free. In print form no less. Get it. Read it. ‘Nuff said.
May 10, 2013
May 8, 2013
This is a hard blog post to start because I’m not sure how to share, in written words, how I feel being gone from Ecola.
The last week was fantastic, of course, with Ed Underwood returning to teach “Colossians,” a three-day long Catan game, oodles of sunshine, one last bonfire on the beach where we star-watched and found glowing plankton in the sand, one last sunset on the beach… Thursday afternoon we had graduation practice and I sat behind my classmates as our director, Dave, explained how we would line up and when we would stand or sit. Less than 24 hours later I was sitting in the same seat as one by one, dressed in our best, we stood and walked onstage to shake hands and receive our diploma.
There was not enough time to say goodbye enough to everyone I wanted to as all of my things needed to be moved into the van, I had to finish cleaning my room, and there was a 5 hour drive back…and everyone else was also running around, some with much longer drives before them. I was fine just hugging everyone goodbye saying “see you again!” until it came to my friend Abigail, aka my Holmes, and she began to cry and oh gosh she just had to get me started…
It was so crazy leaving. As usual time goes by far too quickly. Several months ago someone was telling me that when we talk about how time flies and how everything goes by too fast, it is showing that we as humans were created to last forever. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has written eternity on our hearts. That is a slow, relaxing breath in and out to me because it is so frustrating to me when it feels like wonderful things such as Ecola are nothing but wind that slips through my grasping hand. I have to remind myself over and over to enjoy things as they are happening, in the moment. And when things flash by too quickly it’s great to remember these wonderful times are but glimpses of eternal times in heaven.
Anyways… these last 7 months have certainly stretched me, taught me, introduced me to some marvelous people and given
me so many golden memories. I came to Ecola tremulously wondering if everyone was going to be perfect and put together at this Oregon Bible school. I had a dream a bear gnawed on my hand making me late to the first day of class, ha ha! I soaked in our very first class on Creation. I had a pet wooley bear named Herbert, who died… and another one, which disappeared in my room and probably also died…
I started serving in the local Cannon Beach Awana where I had to learn how to be a leader to several dozen Hispanic kids that were overflowing with energy. In the commander, Cassie, I found a woman of service and selflesness that I wanted to emulate.
With every new teacher and class I was encouraged to live a radical life for Christ. Then a LOT of what I thought and wanted was challenged when I did not get into the overseas mission trip I wanted. That was the start of learning only God knew best where I should be and how I could best serve Him.
Then I became a hobbit, experienced the first Day of Prayer and the joy of praying for my friends, enjoyed some Mongolian Grill (a once-a-term treat), went to the Ape Caves, and for the first time cried when a teacher left…
The fall term ended with a 3 hour long time of students sharing the lessons they were learning, their testimonies… just more links between our hearts as we continued to become a family.
After the month-long Christmas break at home I returned to Ecola with my older brother! Poor guy had to learn 100 names all at once, but he fit right in. It was great being able to have him so close since he had just spent the last 3 years in Korea, in the army.
I finally stepped in the frigid Pacific ocean when I tried out skimboarding for the first time. I went on a weekend trip to Holmes’ home for a women’s retreat. When winter term came to a close I joined a team on a mission trip to Alaska, which was intense and rewarding and beautiful and not near as cold as I’d been fearing. After that I spent several days in Portland with my brother, then we hiked 30 miles around Oregon before returning to Ecola for the start of the final term. I couldn’t believe Ecola was already ending, but in a way I needed it to, since all of the classes were beginning to blur together – and it was time to take what I was learning and figure out how to live it.
A duct tape boat race, class in the sun outside, doing a comedy skit in the talent show with Holmes, playing Fugitive outside and a sunrise hike to Saddle Mountain were just some of the great memories of spring term.
These are but a few snapshots of the 7 months I spent at Ecola… O but a few… Was it worth it? My goodness, yes. I think I am echoing what every other student would say when I say that I was not expecting the close community that formed. The family that sprang up.
I now have friends all over the west coast (and a couple in Alaska. And John in Illinois ), that I will be visiting this summer and hopefully continually running into for the rest of my life, until we’re reunited in heaven.
But for now we’ve been pulled apart. And I’m home. And I would be lying if I said I am not missing it terribly.
It doesn’t help that I came down with a terrible cold (one of the last gifts from my Ecola family, ha ha!) – sapping most of my energy to do anything – and what energy I find goes towards job hunting. I have already had a couple job interviews and am hoping to have a job secured before another week goes by. wheeee….
I guess you know it’s a good thing when it’s hard to leave.
If you were thinking of attending a Bible school – if you weren’t! – I recommend Ecola. College can wait. What you think is life can wait. Go to Ecola.
April 28, 2013
Last week of classes. Last week of spring term. Last Sunday at the local church. Last week for Awana. For turning in homework. For walking to Haystack. For hanging out with these crazy brothers and sisters of mine. LAST WEEK OF ECOLA.
Oh goodness me.
As usual every day this last week has been jam-packed of amazing times with friends. My younger brother Kevin came to visit and got to sit in on almost all sessions of the classes 1 Timothy & Discipleship. He followed us everywhere so got to experience a typical week of Ecola which included: seeing the town, going to God’s Finger/God’s Thumb as seen on my last post, experiencing a beach bonfire and star-tripping, watching an Ecola Talent Show, playing some Catan, staying up late talking with people here, trying out some nighttime longboarding with most of the student body on the Seaside Promenade, helping out with a ‘carnival’ at the Cannon Beach Awana, having two classes on the grass outside because the weather was so gorgeous… and the list goes on.
That was my week as well, ending with a game of Fugitive after Friday evening classes. We were dropped off on the south end of the Promenade in Seaside and, in pairs, had to get to a bonfire 1.5 miles north without getting caught by second year students, who were patrolling in cars, bikes, longboards, and on foot. Abigail and I (or we have nicknamed ourselves, ‘Sherlock and Watson’) had a strategy called “run-and-don’t-get-caught”. Just kidding. We ran onto the beach and hid behind a log for about ten minutes, figuring the 2nd years would migrate down the streets as the students moved. Then we walked in the darkness by the shore… keeping our eyes peeled… stopping when the shadow of driftwood looked like a person and suspiciously examining it for movement… and we kept walking without event until we reached the bonfire. Turned out we had found the blind spot of the 2nd years, wa ha ha. So we had a rather uneventful time during the game, unlike those that chose to walk through the streets of Seaside and ran into a couple drunk people, saw a drug deal in progress… sketchy stuff like that and the reason why we were in pairs.
After Fugitive I slept for three hours and then drove with eleven other people to Saddle Mountain, a 2.5 mile climb. We started hiking at 4am with flashlights and headlamps (though the moon was full so graciously helped out a lot) and reached the top in perfect time for the sunrise. It was slightly cloudy but still beautiful, and it felt so good to be hiking again…
Well no more time for blogging, back to life. Some pictures below.
April 22, 2013
After morning class we spent all afternoon in the sun today and I thought I would share it with you.
It’s fun to see everyone’s rosy faces after an abnormal day like this.
This week we have the classes 1 Timothy & Discipleship, with our Spring Banquet on Thursday. Next week will be our final class of Colossians, then graduation on Friday. Wow! I am excited to go home but it will definitely be bittersweet leaving all of these wonderful friends…
April 19, 2013
It has been over a month since I went on a trip to Alaska – I can’t say that it changed my life completely, or that I was reeling from culture shock for weeks after – but it definitely altered my view on missions and what I want to do in the future. God corrected a few ideas of mine that needed to conform more toward His view, and definitely taught me some more patience and humility (seems to be the main lessons for me here at Ecola).
~On February 28th we had a packed day of 2 classes straight in a row (of Apologetics, too! Heavy classes that leave your brain spinning, taught by this guy that has 2 doctorates and almost a third. O.o !! Anyway…), then tests, then we packed sack lunches, loaded up the vans with our luggage, and headed towards Portland. It was fun hanging around the airport because the Haiti team was also there, so Ecola kids were everywhere. The Haiti team headed out a few hours before us but landed late the next day, poor guys…
Due to when the funds came in and when the tickets were booked, our team took four different flights to the airport. I was on the first flight and was so excited as we boarded the plane. I had not flown in over 6,7 years? So I was pretty excited as the plane rumbled and took off. It was dark so there was no view but I still love the entire experience of the airport, luggage, tickets, the ding of the ‘fasten seatbelts’ switching on and off, itty-bitty snack bags and complimentary drinks. It only took about 4 hours to fly to Anchorage.
There our ‘guide’ from Victory Bible Camp, Justin, met us with a 15 passenger van and a trailer for our luggage. He was a kind, younger man that had been attending the camp for years, met his wife there, and now they had two young, lovely girls and were full-time staff working at the place they loved. He would drive us around and take care of us at VBC.
To pass the time while we waited for the rest of the flights to come in, we drove through Anchorage and enjoyed some half-off appetizers at Applebee’s. The rest of the team arrived around midnight and we picked them up then drove to the camp which was about 2 hours away. Needless to say we were all pretty spent so we just unloaded fast, selected rooms and bunks, and fell asleep.
~ The next day we were introduced to the VBC staff and split into our teams of housekeeping, maintenance, and kitchen. From then on we were all busy at our various jobs. A women’s conference from a large, local church arrived that evening so Keri and I cleaned mostly early in the morning and late at night, during their sessions, so we had the afternoon free when everyone else was working. After the conference left the kitchen staff had very little to do but we were busy as all of the then-vacant rooms needed to be deep-cleaned. And maintenance was always busy as there was wood that needed to be chopped for the boiler, trucks to be un-stuck from the snow, and a house that needed to be completely renovated.
I was in charge of the housekeeping vehicle during our visit, which was a Chevrolet Blazer I named Petrie and got a wee bit attached to. I also got to use a walkie-talkie which made me feel important, wa ha ha!
~ And of course we did have our share of fun events, too! We went hiking, played in the snow, had a horse-drawn sleigh ride, saw a moose, discovered crosswords could be done, took a lot of photos in a taxidermist’s house, Late at night, even though we were exhausted, we still found energy to do something before devos & bed. We played broomball twice, played hockey in their indoor gym, had a few bonfires, went tubing down their awesome hill, tried out snow machining, had a movie night where we watched “The Avengers”…
The tubing was definitely my favorite. We grasped ankles to make a train and went down this hill where it was steep enough that you started slow and then gravity grabbed you and you went “ahhhh!” what felt like straight down, then leveled out and ‘wooshed’ far onto this snow-covered frozen lake, beneath the starry sky with shadowy mountain ranges in the distance. Just a bit of fun.
We almost saw the Northern Lights, too. There is a website that will predict the probabilities, almost like a weather site, and we were just on the outskirts of the area of “slight chance” to see the lights on the second weekend, before we left. When the lights are visible people call one another to spread the news, so Justin gave us a call that the lights were a bit faint, low on the horizon. We all hopped in our van and drove to the darkest outskirts of the camp. I did ‘palming’ just as I was taught at our local fair – you rub your palms together hard until they get a bit warm then put them over your closed eyes for a while. The heat will help your eyes adjust to the dark. So I was able to see a faint green glow just on the edge of the hills’ heads. That was enough to impress me because I could stare at that and marvel – wow, that’s just a tiny bit of these remarkable phenomenon where my God wildly paints for fun across the northern night sky.
~During our ministry we took one day off to travel to Palmer, where we visited a ministry called InterACT. Then several days before we had to fly out we returned to Anchorage early and visited several ministries called Parachutes, Covenant House, and the local Youth for Christ. All targeted the at-risk and homeless youth teens in Anchorage in different ways. It was also astounding to learn of the diversity in the city – there are around 93 languages spoken! I especially enjoyed visiting Parachutes, which is a drop-in center for youth right in the mall. They sell drinks and food and offer couches, computers, etc, with the goal of encouraging kids to come in and find a shelter and love they might not have at home. Right now they are also having a dinner/bible study called The Table, which meets every two weeks and is going through all of the Bible stories chronologically. I really liked the idea of Parachutes – it seemed like something that should be in every mall!
~After a late night stop for more 1/2 off appetizers at Applebee’s – sorta became the bookends of the trip – we flew out Tuesday morning. Yeah, more flying!
There is a lot more I could go into about our trip, but then this post would be really really long. And if you helped support me financially and/or through prayer, I’ve already sent you a letter. Thank you again!
Some pictures below of the beautiful wild state~
April 12, 2013
Connie Kendall is ditzy, energetic, and often pretty clueless of what’s really going on – but sometimes she does have some pretty good insights. There is an Adventure in Odyssey episode that has really stuck in my mind ever since I heard it. Little Jimmy Barclay was all grown up and had moved to the big city, and Connie came to visit him and see how he was doing. At first he tried to put on a show that he had a great job, was attending school and going to church, but eventually the truth came out that really he had a job taking photos for a sleazy magazine, was expelled from school because of his bad grades, had a bad girlfriend, and was not going to church. When Connie confronted him about the latter, his defense was that he was just trying to get everything fixed, and that once he got everything together and the distractions were out of the way, he would figure out his spiritual life with God. Connie’s response: “Jimmy, those things will never be out of the way!”
That sentence has really stuck in my head, a reminder that if we wait to spend time with God until this responsibility is finished or that school project is done or life just isn’t quite so hectic… well it’s just never going to happen. Unless you’re out of the blue hit by a car and paralyzed so you’re suddenly just sitting in a dark room alone for hours (which actually did happen to one of our teachers, but that’s besides the point…), life is never going to slow down or kindly feed you a couple free hours a day. It’s called making time for the One that made time and kinda really deserves at least a bit of yours. Actually really all.
So that sentence randomly jumped into my head yesterday, and I let it dwell in my mind for a while then didn’t think about it again. And thennnn… in our Minor Prophets class this morning we studied Haggai and would you believe it that prophet from 2,500 years ago talked about the very thing as Connie Kendall!
Context: In chapter one he prophesies to the Israelites that have returned to Jerusalem. This is 18 years after Ezra, after they started rebuilding the temple, and lo and behold they are still not done. In fact the construction has stopped. But the people have all finished their nice houses, and are working on their fields. But nothing’s going well. They plant, but harvest little – eat and drink, but never have their fill – earn wages but feel as though they’re just pouring them into a purse with holes (v6).
Haggai steps in with a message from the Lord that the reason why all that is happening is because His house is still unfinished.
“The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built,” all of the people were saying. They were too busy trying to grow more crops, trying to pour more money into their hole-riddled purses. There was no time to work on the temple! They were seeing the problem backwards. (When you’re up to your armpits in alligators, it’s hard to remember your goal was to drain the swamp!) You can’t fix things and get your life to a point where you’ve got some spare time to give to God – instead you’ve got to, in spite of the current problems and schedule that’s screaming at you and confining you and filling all of your vision, stop. And get away. And push out all the distractions. And focus on God. And the things of this world will grow strangely dim…
Well that was a long-ish blog post with a lot of commas. And yes, I will post Alaska pictures soon…
April 9, 2013
This book was about a true life circumstance that happened in 2005. Five Mexican fisherman set out on a fishing trip. When a storm suddenly arose and snapped the lines to their valuable net, worth a year of one man’s wages, they desperately searched for it for two days, exhausting their fuel supply until returning to land was impossible. Unable to flag down passing boats for help, they were caught by the westward Pacific current. They would drift for more than 9 months – 5500 miles – battling starvation, dehydration, storms, and an unrelenting sun, with no idea if rescue would ever occur. One of the men on the boats had a Bible – and a strong faith in God, which the other fishermen gradually grew to accept.
This book was also a true life story about the author, Joe Kissack. He worked his way up in the TV business and became a very successful man, very put together on the outside. However when no one was looking he struggled with drinking, depression, and drugs – which put together became the ruin of his career and almost the ruin of his family, his marriage, and his life.
How, you ask, do these two stories connect? Let’s hear the answer in Kissack’s own words, as he talks about interviewing one of the fishermen:
“His transformation and my transformation are the same.
He was stranded in an ordeal on the Pacific and came back a new man. I was stranded on my own desperate pursuits and came through them a new man… We both ended up with an authentic desire to be the men God created us to be. Through the life of Jesus [one of the fishermen], I’d seen an image of myself. We each came to a moment of brokenness, and what we found there was God.
And He was enough.
We are all the same.”
The author did a good job with the pace of the story – it never got too slow and the writing was clean and easy to read. It was easy to hear in the book the sincerity of his conversion – his faith was not for gaining back the public attention that he had lost, or a momentary fad, but it was clear from his words that he did repent (that is, make a 180). I especially enjoyed the part where he talked about correcting the damage that had been done in his marriage, as his wife had endured a long and straining time where her husband was a wreck. Kissack manned up and set forth to fix their marriage the right way, as he wrote:
“It was time for me to become the husband she deserved and the man God had created me to be. I knew I could profess complete transformation and talk about miracles all day long, but the only way I was going to convince Carmen that I had changed was to show her a new man. I didn’t pray for God to change her; instead I prayed for God to change me.”
On the critical side, I personally would have preferred it if the author had spent a bit more time talking about the fishermen and expanding on their story. The tie between their stories was not as strong as I was expecting, either – it felt as if Kissack had to stretch to compare his wealthy American life that was damaged by depression and drugs against the trial of the fishermen, who had to drink their own urine, fend off sharks, and literally had nothing else to read or hope in but the Bible. I also felt that while Kissack’s faith was genuine, he still seemed a bit self-absorbed, as throughout the book he gave his story more room and more attention than the fishermen.
This book was well-written and a quick read, but not interesting enough as I had hoped, or that I would read it twice.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Multnomah-Waterbrook Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.