At Frazer the volunteer year runs from February to January so I often think of my year beginning once the last production crew from the previous year has finished up. I don’t like to spend too much time blogging about me and my personal life, but I had a really awesome year in 2011 and I want to take one last look at it before I close its book.
In 2011 I had some really awesome opportunities. God moved me closer to Him and He introduced me to some great new friends, some powerful truths and He greatly enlarged my territory. I challenge you to read it and seek similar experiences in your own life that you would be blessed, be challenged and be encouraged to grow.
- At the start of 2011 I started a new Life Group. It was one of the richest experiences I’ve had in my spiritual walk since moving to Montgomery. As a part of that I met Kyle Reschke, who has become one of my best friends over the past year. He would later go on to become Frazer’s missionary on the ground in Haiti. The group read through the books of 1st Timothy and Philippians together and we read the book ‘Wild at Heart.’ We also went Kayaking, Watched Movies together and we played several games of Settlers of Catan (best game ever)
- Probably the single biggest thing that happened to me in 2011 was the opportunity to go to Haiti three times. Frazer started an initiative to help move a community of Haitians who are deaf out of Port Au Prince and into a community where they can become self sufficient. While I hope that my presence in the project has contributed to the lives of the Haitian Deaf Community, It has definitely been a challenging and enriching experience for me. I’ve gotten to know Mackenson Saint Louis, who is the leader of the Community. He’s my age and yet this whole community of over 150 families looks to him for guidance. I’ve been learning ASL ever since, to try to expand my discussion with him and the other members of the Haitian deaf community.
- I went to Catalyst again and this time had the pleasure of bringing several friends along. Catalyst is always an encouraging time for me, but I especially enjoy getting the opportunity to bring other people and have them experience the same bold teaching that spurs me on every year. One of the biggest blessings that came during that week was that I won an iPad in a drawing! I can tell you that I’ve used it numerous times in my ministry here and I would have never had it otherwise.
- I grew closer to God, to my family and to my friends. This may sound generic and cliché but I can honestly say that this wasn’t as true in 2010. The year before I was largely stagnant in my faith and at different times I had moments where I felt both far from my friends and far from my family. In 2011 I was blessed to not only gain new friends and family (in the case of my new niece) but also to grow in my friendship with all my friends and family.
- One of the greatest blessings of the past four years of my life has been to be the class sponsor of Asbury University’s Fearless class of 2011. Asbury has a long-standing tradition of electing two Juniors to sponsor the following years freshman. Sponsors pick the class’s name, colors, logo and advisors. We also act as the big brother and sister to the entire class. I got the smallest taste of parenthood as I watched the class of 2011 graduate. It’s always a gift to visit Asbury, but this time was especially meaningful. I finally had some understanding of what my parents mean when they say ‘We’re proud of you.’ I said that to the fearless class a lot; it wasn’t that I was proud of what they had accomplished as much as I was simply proud of who they had chosen to become.
- This summer I returned to something that I loved doing when I was a kid. I’ve been writing fiction. I wrote my first fiction book sometime long about 3rd grade. It was terrible. I kept writing until one day I just decided to give up. I remember hearing about an author who wrote her books by taking notes over a series of years. When I was in high school I started taking notes about characters and plot ideas. I’d occasionally return to that through college, but hasn’t been until this year that I actually started writing the resulting book. I don’t know that it would ever be published, but it has been a really great hobby for me.
- Finally this past fall I decided to do something that is totally outside of my comfort zone and I began working with a mixed martial arts trainer, learning Brazilian Jiu Jutsu alongside other techniques. At this point in the conversation I usually have to say, “Really – I’m not joking.” I’m not ‘training to be a cage fighter’ but it has been a fun new thing to learn and a really entertaining way to get in shape. My closest friends are probably tired of hearing me talk about it.
I just want to encourage you to take on things that are going to challenge you and encourage you. Take time to cultivate rich friendships with people who will pray you through things. Take a retreat and get to know God, better yet, to know His plan for you. Do things that are good for you. Waste less time with empty entertainment. Like John Wesley Said
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.