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.

41st Graduating Class from Ecola

41st Graduating Class from Ecola

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.

~

Classic Ecola Kids

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.

hobbit! 001Then 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. SkimboardingWhen 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.

Duct Tape Boat Race!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.

The last couple weeks at Ecola were treasures. I was never bored, but was constantly stepping from one wonderful time to another. “Golden” is really how I want to describe it.

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.

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