Friday, August 31, 2007

headin' off to school!

When I flew in to Charlotte, NC two weeks ago, my cousin Brittany was heading out that same day to start her freshman year at Appalachan State in northern NC. It's sort of a mother moment picture. Crazy to think Brit is in COLLEGE!!

finding balance...

I'm through my 2nd week of classes and have already made some changes to my initial plans for the semester. I decided to drop a class, Theology, to lighten my load a little. One of the things they encourage at CIU is balance, to make time to really SOAK in what we learn, meditate on it and also have time to develop deep relationships with people. I was already cramming to get things done and wasn't seeing much of my housemate the beginning of the week along with stress and decided to make a change. I am not here to race through and get done as fast as possible. I want to savor and soak in the information, ministry opportunities and relationships that God has for me while I am here. SO, life is feeling more manageable right now.

I briefly mentioned in my last post that one of my classes consists mainly of doing a semester long ethnography (study of a target group of people, history, religious aspects, social, community, etc.) that we want to learn more about and share God's Word with. My group has chosen the Chinese students (20+) at a high school on CIU's campus. It's an international boarding school that has students from all over the world including some native South Carolinans.

This past Sunday we took the group of students to the Chinese Church in Columbia for the Mandarin service. They are allowed to go to a church in their home language once a month, reason being part of the International experience for them is to become fluent in English and immerse themselves in Western culture. This Sunday we are having our 1st "social" at their dorm house to get to know them on a more personal level and start building relationships with them. Each of us (4 total) will have 7-8 students in a group that we will spend time with throughout the semester on our own and in a larger group. This Sunday I will also be sharing my testimony with them as part of our time together. Please pray that I will share it in a culturallly relevant way and that seeds will be planted. We know of 4 students (returning students) who are believers but the oher 18 or so are not.

I am still loving being here and am looking forward to a Labor Day trip with friends down to Charlestown, SC.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I am HERE!! This past month has been a little crazy with travel but I am finally in Columbia and settled-ish into my new community! I have to say I love a lot of things down here but the HEAT and HUMIDITY I could do without. AC has become my physical form of salvation!! I have done a little outdoor early morning running but am opting right now to stay inside on treadmills where the AC is until my body adjusts.

Enough about the weather...I am living on campus in grad housing with 3 other incredible women. We live in a big ranch style house with more furniture than we know what to do with. I think we have 5 small tables in our living room. We rearranged some but it looks a little...well like college housing!

Kristin is from SC and went to USC downtown for her undergrad. She has more energy than anyone I have ever met. She is our social planner, we've already had two house parties in less than one week! By party I mean game night with anyone on campus who is interested in coming. Great way to meet new people.

Jenn is from Georgia and went to Tacoa Falls with Jenny and Kris Howell. How small world is that! There are half a dozen or so people I've met that graduated from there. She's awesome and has introduced me to other Tacoa people being a friend who loves bikes and put my bike together for me for FREE! He wants to work at a bike shop and was eager to piece my bike back together for me (for inquiring minds that want to know, he's married). I had it boxed at the shop back home and brought it down on the plane.

Krissy is from California and has been at CIU in the past so she has been a great source of "inside scoop" what is where, when stuff happens, etc.

I'm registered for 5 classes (15 credits) this semester which will definitely keep me on my toes. I decided to jump in heavy b/c I will likely be working all following semesters. I've tackled 15 at the grad level before but it's been 5 years so hopefully "school" will come back to me quickly! My classes include Genesis to Song of Solomon, The Gospels, Systematic Theology I, Understanding Cultures and Worldviews and Foundations of Spiritual Development.

Overall impressions about CIU? The staff are great. They REALLY ARE missions minded which is a new experience for me. People are PASSIONATE about the SAME things I am passionate about!! There are people who have been EVERYWHERE and had numerous cross-cultural experiences. I am blessed to have this opportunity to learn, be encouraged, challenged and to be a part of a community that is LIKE MINDED.

I went to a Chinese Church with another Anita this past weekend and will probably make that my "home" church for now. Anita and I are in a class together where we are partnering with two other guys (Asians) to do an ethnographic semester long project with this church. There is a lot involved, but I am excited about all the components and all that I will learn. My heart is for Asian people and this is a good way to get plugged in to their community in Columbia.

Internet is a little crazy here, frustrating actually but I will post pictures when all that comes together. I hope ya'll are doing well and that you are enjoying COOLER weather back in AK!! No worries, I do not have a southern least not this early in the game.