Archive for the ‘Grace Experience’ Category

A Dane, A German, and a Thermal

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Karl here, from Aotearoa (New Zealand), and crikey, the past weekend was intense!  (I should note that New Zealanders don’t actually say ‘crikey;’ I think the Aussies make up way stranger phrases…)  Last Wednesday I went to a barbie where rather than hotdogs and burgers on buns, we feasted on sausage on toast.  At the said BBQ, I met Hauke and Soren, who are from Germany

Yes, this is Middle Earth.

and Denmark respectively.  I had planned to hike around the port hills near Christchurch by myself, but they asked that I join them on a ‘tramp’ at Arthur’s Pass, as backcountry as New Zealand gets.  Of course, I could not reject such an offer!  Much to my demise, I only packed one extra set of light clothing, minimal food, and a sleeping bag.  When we were soaked by a barely successful river-crossing, warmer clothing would have been invaluable. I spent the next three hours chattering my teeth and rubbing numb extremities.  Fortunately, my sleeping bag was dry, and we were able to sleep in a hut.  The next day we hiked up to a cable car over a stream, which was both interesting and exhausting.  While one of us sat in the car, the other had to crank a pulley to get them across.  Since the sun was out, we let our wet clothes dry, and we sorted out lunch.  Six hours, sore feet, and bruised knees later, we arrived back in Christchurch and civilization.  On our return, we stopped at Burger King, and never has a Whopper tasted so delicious! New friends and gorgeous views aside, I learned more about myself and about life on my first true trek into the wilderness than I could have imagined.  I surprised myself at how far I could push myself, physically and mentally.  I realized how much potential an individual has when he makes a commitment, and how exponentially that potential increases with the support of comrades.

Waimakariri River

I cannot lie, at home I have not been the most active, but I know my limits now.  I know that when I can’t feel my toes and fingers, I can still press towards a goal.  I know that when I am faced with a difficult river crossing, there is the promise of a warm bed and roof over my head on the other side.  I know that I cannot focus on the details, like stubbing my toe on a stone or pebbles in my shoe, or I will miss the beauty around me.  Yet, I cannot be so goal-focused that I forget to enjoy the path and camaraderie.  I think the same lessons very much apply to my spiritual life: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:14, ESV)  I can’t wait to go hiking again!

Karl Johnson, U. of Canterbury, N.Z.

Listening to: Mumford & Sons Sigh No More and John Williams Star Wars OST

Just watched:  Road to Perdition and The Simpsons

Hope, Chapel, and Being Centered

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Well, the past two weeks have seemed to be a whirlwind to me. After the tragedy two weeks ago, the campus is still bouncing back. Praise God for His sovereignty and peace. He is just so good.

This past week in chapel has been amazing. I have seen God work so much on our campus, and the topics that were addressed and discussed were both very close to my heart. On Tuesday and Wednesday we had two speakers come in and talk about the topic of homosexuality. This topic is something that I know quite well. I have at least 5 homosexual friends back home, and 2 of which I am extremely close with. It always breaks my heart when my friends tell me that they are turned off from the church because of their unwillingness to love and support the gay community. I am so proud of Grace College for bring in speakers who have actually gone through the battle of homosexuality themselves, and have come to know Christ through it. I think it was so beneficial for the campus to have an opportunity to learn about the topic, and I am hopefully that everyone left those chapel days with a better understanding on how we can be Jesus and love others- even if they’re different.

Chapel today was something that God has been laying on my heart lately. We had a speaker from the non-profit organization, Broken Voices. Andrew talked today about finding our center. I know that sounds kind of like a term a yoga instructor would use, but what he had to say made total sense. He talked about how we find certain things to invest our lives in. These things may be the sports we play, the person we date, the place we live, our future career, among other things. We hold all of these things in the center of our life, and when they fail (which they will) our life crumbles. We are hurt and depressed, we are lost. Then we go to someone or something else. We keep trying to find our fulfillment and center through things that are not centered. It’s a vicious cycle, and I have definitely been guilty of it.

So here it is. We’re all looking for things to center our lives upon. The only constant center is Christ. He is the only real center. I want that. Desperately. I want my life to be soley centered on my Savior. When I have that center, I can help others find it. I can be, like Andrew said, a “center-er”. I’m making this my goal for this year. For today. For this week. For this month. I want to become a center-er. That starts with God becoming my center. I’m ready.

TGIF!

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

The Kea, a mischievous, mountain-dwelling parrot who eats windscreen-wipers!

“Kia Ora!” or “hello” from New Zealand!  It’s Karl again, and after the craziness of the earthquake, last weekend’s high-ropes course and concert, study is finally getting back to normal.  Or, as normal as it can on the other side of the world…  =)  I have found it intriguing that so many things in this country are opposite of Indiana and North America.  For instance, the water really DOES go down the drain backwards in the Southern Hemisphere!  Just ask a physics professor if you want proof.  Most people know that Kiwi’s drive on the opposite side of the road, but few realize that means looking right THEN left before crossing the street.  I almost learned the hard way…  Even drive-thru’s are backwards, because the driver is on the opposite side of the car!!  It’s also so strange to think that I wrote this 14 hours in the future of you reading it! Oh, and how could I forget that it is nearly spring here, and quickly approaching autumn at Grace.  Fortunately, there are some things that never change: like McDonald’s.  Just kidding!  It’s not as greasy as in the states!  But seriously, it is comforting to know that snowboarding is a popular sport here, Lord of the Rings was written by Tolkien, and the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.  Unfortunately, in a country where a quarter of the population (1m) do not claim a religion and nearly 54 thousand consider themselves Jedi’s, the spiritual state of that nation is a bit shaky.  But what’s more is that Jesus doesn’t change if you change location.  Last weekend I met some dudes at the concert who invited me to their church, and they believe the same salvation message I do.  We may not see eye to eye on doctrine, but their presence and friendship is still encouraging.  And last night, I had a pretty intense conversation about the meaning of life and religion with my flatmates; it was interesting to say the least.  But to God be the glory!

Karl Johnson, Christchurch N.Z.

Listening to: Catch For Us The Foxes by mewithoutYou

Just watched: Boy (a Kiwi film!) and The Expendables

Searching for the Good

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHdcyue0bSw[/youtube]

In all things, we are told to find the good and to praise God. Usually, this is pretty easy. In times of tragedy, it’s not so easy. Right now is obviously a tough time to find the good. Like many people, I tend to be more on my own in the good times, but rely on God when the going gets tough. I am finding myself desperately seeking God in this awful situation.

Just one problem: I haven’t found the good yet. I don’t even know where to look. I am struggling to find a reason for every aspect of the situation. From a Christian perspective, how can this happen to two good people? Being good friends with Jeremy, I am struggling to understand why such a good person has to endure something like this. From a logical perspective, how does it even happen? Right now I have infinitely more questions then I do answers. This bothers me. I don’t like not knowing things. Yet I serve a God who doesn’t always give me the answers I cry out for.

Sometimes in life there are things that we will never know, and that is simply the way God wants it to be. I have to understand that whether I know or understand anything, God knows and understands all. He is the only one who needs all of the information. I’m not in charge of the universe, I didn’t create, well, creation. I am not entitled to anything. I am beginning to gain an understanding of this concept. Yet practically, I am struggling to follow it. I am searching for the good still. I honestly don’t know if I will find the good, but I have faith that there is good and whether or not I know it, my God does.

-Aaron Pierce

It is well…

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

“Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.” – Horatio Spafford

This simple, yet classic phrase seems to be the theme of Grace College’s campus in this time. Having just experienced a tragedy that nobody should ever go through, we are trying our hardest to push on.  With the death of a student, it is difficult to live on as if everything is normal.  How do we find solace?  Perhaps merely in realizing that through God alone can it be well with our souls.  Prayer and the Psalms have given me much peace.  I would highly recommend giving it a try when you feel as if nothing could be well with your soul.

In my life, there have been several triumphs and defeats.  For one, we held Remnant drama team auditions and had a pretty poor turnout.  I would like to have had about three times the students show up.  We are going to try to host one more audition in order to attract students who could not show up before.  We also won an intramural soccer game this week, but it was our very first win.  Unfortunately, that puts us at 1-3-2.  What is certainly a triumph through our disappointing record is that we as a team are very united.  Our hall always comes out to play, not necessarily to win. We have fun and we love what  we do.  I think that our unity is a great example of how the body of Christ should work together.  We go to the field together and strive on together, but we never forget how to lift each other up and support one another. Triumph.

-Ian Christensen

I FEEL ALIVE!!

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

G’day from New Zealand!  I should let you know I spent most of this Saturday enjoying a serene pine forest.  Lunch was lovely: a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich,a blueberry muffin, and cool, sweet, Christchurch water.

This is NOT me. ...Could be my mom....

I should probably mention however, that this particularly serene forest is named ADRENALINE!! When I wasn’t clinging to a tree trunk 20m (60+ft.) above ground, I climbed swinging logs or a highwire, with only a waist harness to catch my falls!  As the Kiwi’s would say, I’m not “too keen” on heights, and let me tell you, when the wind picked up in the afternoon, I may or may not have been freaking out…  When you can look across most of the forest and ALL the trees are swaying, notably the one you are ATTACHED to, the adrenaline does start up.  I was on a “Nepalese bridge,” or four wires (one for the harness, two to hold on to, and one to stand on) when the wind really picked up.  There’s nothing quite like standing on a wire that is bucking and jumping with every gust that hits the trees.  The happy lady above would NOT have had that expression on her face had she been in the sort of wind we had today!!  Her hair would be frazzled, shirt would be pink, and I’m sure even with deodorant she would be smelling quite ripe by the afternoon.  After a week of watching movies and trying to make myself be productive, today’s outdoor activities were a fantastic change.  Thanks to the Arcadia Study Abroad program via Grace, I could conclude my week with adrenaline!  :)

Get the Zombie EP!

Tomorrow I’m going to a Parkway Drive and The Devil Wears Prada concert, and I am SO STOKED!!  If I didn’t mention it in my last post, I kind of love heavy metal.  In addition, I haven’t been to a show since June. I get the itch for ridiculously loud distortion and screaming if I don’t get to a gig every few months.  When I found out TDWP was doing a NZ/Aus. tour, I was elated to say the least.  METAL!!!

In conclusion, I don’t know how much adrenaline and metal have to do with studying abroad or New Zealand, but I’m here, and the experiences are happening!  I should also mention that Brennan Manning’s book The Ragamuffin Gospel offers a refreshing perspective:

“When Jesus tells us to become like little children, He is inviting us to forget what lies behind.  …Whatever we have done in the past, be it good or evil, great or small, is irrelevant to our stance before God today. It’s only now that we are in the presence of God.”

Cheers!  -Karl Johnson, Christchurch New Zealand

Currently listening to: Evergreen Terrace’s Almost Home and Stray From The Path’s Villains

Just watched: Mark Wahlberg in Shooter; and the tv series Samurai 7

A New Adventure

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Here it is…my sophomore year. I feel like the past few weeks have been the longest, craziest, and quickest days of my life. I got to Grace a couple weeks before the majority of the students arrived, and it was so strange having the campus and the dorms be soquiet. The halls seemed lifeless and boring without decorations and people crowding.

It felt weird. 

However, training soon began, and it was good to see some familiar faces. It was wonderful reconnecting to some, and getting to know others. I was exhausted by the end of the week, but I was absolutely anxious and excited for the freshmen to arrive and for the rest of campus to come back. Now everyone is here, and campus is full and beautiful and back to how I remembered it. There’s a slight hint of changing leaves, and I am getting ready for the beauty of a Mid-West autumn…it’s my favorite :)

Although campus feels normal now that students are back, I can’t help but realize how different this year is for me. I went from a scared little freshman who didn’t know anyone to a sophomore that feels far more comfortable and a lot less frightened. Still, I am a little intimidated. This year will take some adjustment. My friendships and relationships from last year have evolved, and I’m closer to different people now. I have a lot more responsibilities as well. I’m a Growth Group Leader, I’m helping lead for a local youth group, and I’m working my 2nd semester as an Ambassador. Wow, that’s alot. 

The great thing about Grace is that I have amazing friends and professors here that encourage me and keep me in check. I know that this year is going to be a world of “new.” New adventures, new friends, new classes,  new activities. There’s a lot to do, but I am so ready to see what God has in store for Grace and for my life.

Let’s do this.

-Colleen Yoder

Converted to Reimagine

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Reimagine is a bad idea. Why would Grace even think about doing such a thing?  These were my thoughts from day one, ever since it was announced last Spring. Why couldn’t they just wait one more year til after I graduate? Who wants to take summer classes? Why graduate in 3 years when college is so much fun? And worst of all, why should I have to do this applied learning stuff? So I spent 6 months being bitter about how awful my senior year was going to be. Anytime Reimagine was brought up, I cursed the very idea of it. And then in August I began to look for prestigious internships for next summer to get myself a better job the following summer when I graduate. So I applied to over 20 different positions in companies ranging from JP Morgan Chase to Nike to the NFL.  So what happened? Every single one I applied to, I was accepted into, and they all said the same thing: my work experience and references are what set me apart. Through a practical experience class, the basis of the Reimagine program, I was able to work for an NBA affiliate in Fort Wayne. I was able to put that on my resume, as well as two references that I got to know through this internship who work for the NBA. And then it hit me. I was accepted by these companies because of the opportunity I had through practical experience from Grace. This Reimagine program will allow every student to go through what I did: an amazing internship opportunity based on a Grace connection that leads to God opening doors that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. I know that without my internship in Fort Wayne, I would be scanning the want ads for a job next summer trying my best to hit minimum wage. And now? I have a multitude of positions to choose from. Now I’m a believer in Reimagine, I only wish it had started sooner so I had 3 years of opportunities.

-Aaron Pierce

The Last New Year

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

As my coworker Courtney read my title, she let out an audible sound of sadness.  “You should stay until I graduate too,” she said.  Honestly, I feel so conflicted about that idea.  My first notion is, “YES! I would LOVE to stick around Grace College for a few more years! I mean, I only transferred here last year, so I feel like I got ripped off anyways.”  On the other hand, life is exciting at this point. I have one more undergraduate year.  I’m about to either enter the job market or grad school. Woah.  I’m at this awkward developmental stage where I feel as if I could take on the world and do things on my own, but I also, honestly, feel like I could easily be exploited by this big scary thing called “real life.”   I’m not going to think about that anymore right now though.  We’ll get there later…

Being a senior in Beta is weird.  I think most seniors get the idea that they are too busy, too old or too cool to spend time with the Freshmen.  Therefore, I am the only one (I think).  I love it though.  The freshmen on my hall, Beta 3 north, are really cool guys.  And, foreign though it may seem, I think they actually look up to me and see me as a social and spiritual leader.  It’s a responsibility that is both encouraging and humbling.  My prayer for the year is that God uses me to work in the lives of these young men.  One of my favorite things to do is sit and talk to someone one on one.  I want to be used by God as a tool in people’s lives.  I really hope I get a chance to show His love this year, not only on my hall, but as an ambassador here at Grace.  I want people to want to come to Grace because they see Christ living in faculty, staff and students here.

On a lighter note, my hall is also pretty awesome at sports this year.  We took 2nd place in the brother/sister hall kickball event and won 5-o in the first intramural soccer game.  Look out, Grace College.  Beta 3 north is here. Yeah... We're that good.

- Ian Christensen

Students are almost on campus!

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Well, it is almost that time of year! Less than two weeks away from Welcome Weekend, when we welcome the incoming freshmen and transfers onto campus. Saturday, August 28th, is the big day, and we are gearing up for the excitement!
The summer has been one of change, with three new Admissions Counselors joining the team, the new 3-year option for degree completion, and many others. But the Lord has proved faithful, guiding Grace College through another year, and giving us hope the brand, new year ahead!
We’re thrilled to start another year!!

- John Franklin