"As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him..."
~Psalm 103:15-17a

Bits and Pieces 4

  • Dr. Chittick taught Creation, and did an excellent job.  He is so gracious and kind...even in talking about the people who argue against him.  There was a lot of evidence that he presented in class regarding Creation, the Flood, dinosaurs, the Ice Age, the age of the earth, etc.  Here are some of the main points from his class:

    • When you argue with someone, don't argue about the evidence; we all have the same evidence; instead, discuss worldviews.

    • "The correctness of an explanation can be discerned by checking it against reality."

    • "Time magazine says that humans and chimps have 98-99 percent identical DNA.  By using a percentage, it ignores the fact that there is still 125 million DNA base pairs that are different.  According to DNA percentages, mice are more closely related to man than are chimps."

    • He also talked a lot about how advanced ancient civilizations were.  For example, there is evidence of solar powered hot air balloons in Peru.  Nicotine was found in Egyptian mummies, but it was only grown in South America - evidence that there was trade over the ocean.  "Newer archaeological evidence from South America indicates early advanced skull surgery."  Also, there are 20,000 ton stones that they moved...compared to the 2000 ton stones that our best machines can move today.

  • Dr. Joey Dodson taught the book of Philippians.  He was a great teacher...entertaining (he has a great ping pong ball disappearing act), but also able to be serious and teach God's Word well.

    • "The heart loves what the mind thinks about; the will does what the heart loves."

    • "Before Paul talks to men about God, he talks to God about men."

    • "If I had only three years to serve Christ, I would spend the first two in study." (Billy Graham quoting Charles Spurgeon)

    • Don't look for validation from people; don't take your eyes off God; don't compromise to fit in with others; don't worry about what people say.

    • Realize that people are made in God's image, so we must treat them accordingly.

    • There's a difference between serving and being a servant.  Being a servant:

      • Embrace the ministry of the mundane

      • Ministry of interruption - allowing people to interrupt your plans/schedule

      • Holding your tongue - listen

      • Bear others' burdens.

    • If we're argumentative or if we talk a lot, we're probably not humble.

    • What Paul does as a leader, and what we should do:

      • Communicate

      • Appreciate privately

      • Recognize publicly

      • Encourage (not just by letting people know what they're doing well, but also telling them what they need to know)

    • Forget the past and press on towards the future...what's distracting you from pursuing God?

    • Paul still even cries for the lost - even though they are the ones who have been persecuting him; he has great passion and heart for the lost.  Do you love Christ?  Do you cry for the lost?

Traveling Home

Well, I made it home!  While school ended on Friday, it was much cheaper to fly home during the week, so I stayed at my roommate's home for a few days.  Her family and mine are friends from Ecuador, so we have known each other for several years now.  It was nice to hang out with her family for a while and relax.

On the flight home yesterday, I got into a deep conversation with a gentleman on the airplane.  I told him I was going to Bible school, which began a discussion about studying the Bible.  Apparently, his way of studying the Bible is to look at the parts that give good moral sayings or present some principles to live by and then ignore the parts of the Bible that he finds "hard to swallow."  We discussed whether Abraham was just hallucinating when he "heard a voice" telling him to sacrifice his son or whether God was actually talking to him.  He also brought up homosexuality as an example of something he can't believe...while the Bible says that practicing homosexuality is a sin, he can't believe that because he thinks that science shows that it is natural.  And since it is natural, it cannot be a sin.  Since that is such a complicated subject, I just tried to point out that other sins, such as disobeying your parents, are also natural and yet still considered sin.  I also had a chance to tell him a bit about my personal experience with God - how God has changed my life and how He has answered my prayers.  I don't know how much this conversation helped him...I pray that God will somehow use it in his life to draw him to Christ...but it was at any rate, a good experience for me.  It was the first time I've had a deep conversation like that while traveling...hopefully I'll have more chances! :)

On a lighter note, apparently you are not allowed to carry items without your knowledge in the airport.  An announcement in the Cincinnati airport alerted me to that fact...causing me to laugh aloud...and wonder how to know if I'm carrying things without my knowledge.

Bits and Pieces 3

So, I started putting up some things I wrote down during Brad Buser's class on Acts, and decided it really needed its own post.  So, here are the challenging quotes from that class.  Obviously it was a wonderful class - very challenging and I definitely learned a lot from it.

  • "You are not the supreme issue.  It's not about the people you are going to, either [in ministry].  It's about what God has said to do."

  • "At the end of your life, will you look back on how you followed God passionately, or on how your followed your own dreams and plans?"

  • "Is following God's will what you really want?  Or are you just curious to know it?"

  • "'That's just the way I am' isn't a good excuse.  We are new creatures in Christ.  Set that aside for the sake of the kingdom."

  • "What kind of example are you setting for the people around you?  Do you encourage them to pursue God passionately?  Or do you distract/discourage them?"

  • "What is your credibility?  You have to earn the right to share the gospel by the way you live your life so others see they way you live and will then listen to you."

  • "How much stuff do you really need?  How generous are you? ... It's not what you're giving, it's what you're holding back that matters to God."

  • "To whom much is given, much is required; what are you doing with what you have and what you know?"

  • "Will you have the courage to speak up for Christ even when told not to?"

  • "The centrality of the message is the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

  • "What are you going to give your life for?"

  • "Is everything in our your life subject to Christ?  Even your schedules and plans?"

  • "Learn how to respond rather than react.  Learn to speak without generalizations.  Learn to speak accurately.  Learn to compromise in non-essentials."

  • "How you look matters - how you carry yourself, your body language, what you wear, etc.  Everything about you is negotiable for the kingdom's sake."

  • "How do you respond to people opposing you?  Are you addicted to affirmation?"

  • "You can leave your family and friends for the sake of the kingdom - you have all eternity to spend with them."

  • "You don't have the right to have roots aside from those in heaven."

  • "You're going to give your life for something - what will you live and die for?  Don't live for yourself."

    Bits and Pieces 2

    I haven't been doing this weekly like I was hoping to, but here are some more things I've been learning at Ecola.

    • So, we had a class on missions.  It was wonderful!!  I learned so much.  But at one point he talked about marriage and how instead of looking for someone who is cute/handsome/beautiful/smart/funny, etc, we should be striving to form a "strategic alliance for the kingdom."  "With whom can I 'join forces' so that God will be most honored and His will most done?"

    • Suffering (from the Missions class with Dave Burdette):

      • Suffering does not equal a closed door; it just means that we are in a war.

      • How we face suffering is perhaps our most powerful witness.

      • We are only passionate about what we are willing to suffer for.

      • Do we make decisions based on the risk or danger involved or the glory that God will get?

    • "The 6.78 billion people in the world are made up of 10% practicing Christians, 20% nominal Christians, 30% reached, and 40% unreached.  There are about 24,000 people groups in the world today.  Of those people groups, 8,000 are still unreached.  But, the sad truth is that of all the missionaries in the world today about 90.% work with the reached or the reachable while only 9.6% work with the unreached." (Dave Burdette)

    • "You are a goer or a sender or disobedient" (Dave Burdette)

    • One thing that stood out to me from the Old Testament Survey class with Nate Foreman was about Israel:

      • First, it is in a very strategic location as a thoroughfare - everyone would have to go through Israel.  It is a very strategic location  for Israel to be able to tell the nations about God.

      • Secondly, it is a very weak place.  The Israelites would have to depend on God for everything, from protection (there are no natural defenses there) to rain (Deuteronomy 11:10-17).  It's all centered around God.  (In the same way, God uses the weak today [see 1 Corinthians 1:26-29].  "Rejoice in your weaknesses, because God can work through you, and He can be glorified.")

      • The religious cycle of festivals and holy days was also all focused around God.  The point was to remember what God had done for them and that God comes first.

      • Even in the animal sacrifices, the Israelites showed that their trust was in God - they were to bring Him the best of their flocks, showing that they trusted Him to provide for their future (which was tied up in their flocks).

    • In talking about pride in the Genesis class (taught by Dr. Bill Spear), he said, "People pretend they're pursuing the glory of God, when they are only pursuing their own glory."

    • He also said, "Stop asking God to get you out of hard situations.  He knows you're in them.  Ask Him what you can learn from the trials."

    • And later in regards to marriage, "In our relationships, we make up an idea of what we think the other person is or should be; then when we're married we try to force them into the mold we've come up with.  Try to be open and honest ahead of time so you get to know the real person.  Don't believe the lie that you can change him into the man you want him to be (or that God wants him to be)."

    Schedule, Classes and Homework

    So you might be wondering how this Bible school thing works.  I thought I would write up what a typical week's schedule looks like and also what classes we have this term and what the homework looks like.  You'll notice that we have two classes each week; each class generally meets twice a day - once in the morning and once in the evening.  Here's the schedule:

    • Monday:

      • 9:00 Devotions

      • 9:30 Test over the previous week's classes

      • 10:30 Break

      • 11:00 Class

      • 12:00 Lunch

      • 5:15 Dinner

      • 7:00 Class

      • 8:00 Class

      • 9:00 Dorm Meetings

    • Tuesday:

      • 9:00 Devotions

      • 9:30 Class

      • 10:30 Break

      • 11:00 Class

      • 12:00 Lunch

      • 1:30 Help at the Good News Club (my area of ministry)

      • 5:15 Dinner

      • 6:30 Singing/Worship

      • 7:00 Class

      • 8:00 Class

    • Wednesday:

      • 9:00 Devotions

      • 9:30 Class

      • 10:30 Break

      • 11:00 Class

      • 12:00 Lunch

      • 1:30 Class

      • (sometimes another class at 2:30)

      • 5:15 Dinner

    • Thursday:

      • 9:00 Devotions

      • 9:30 Class

      • 10:30 Break

      • 11:00 Class

      • 12:00 Lunch

      • 5:15 Dinner

      • 7:00 Class

      • 8:00 Class

    • Friday:

      • 9:00 Prayer Groups

      • 9:30 Class

      • 10:30 Break

      • 11:00 Class

      • 12:00 Lunch

      • 5:15 Dinner

      • 6:30 Singing/Worship

      • 7:00 Class

      • 8:00 Class

    Here are the classes we've had so far with the homework assignments, and the rest of the classes for the term:

    • Week 1:

      • Orientation

      • Romans (taught by Prof. Corey Miller):

        • Read through Romans at least twice

        • Write a 3-page paper reconciling Justification in Romans with that of James.  Lay out the key texts, reveal potential problems and attempt a solution.

    • Week 2:

      • James (taught by Bill Blank):

        • Read through James five times

        • Write a paper about your purpose

        • Look up given scriptures (from James and Matthew 5-7) and explain the similarities between James and the teaching of Jesus for each set of verses.

      • Matthew (Dr. Louis Barbieri)

        • Develop a lesson on Matthew 2:1-12; identify the audience, write an introduction, outline your main points, write a conclusion

    • Week 3:

      • Christian Life (Ken Smith):

        • Read a book of the Bible you have never read or haven't read for a while

        • Pick a verse from that book to memorize

        • Make a list of things you are thankful for

        • Make a list of things you are trusting God for.

      • Bible Study Methods (actually focused on Hermeneutics; Dr. Dave Reid):

        • Examine the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15

        • Write out points in favor of the conversion of an unbeliever in application today

        • Write out points in favor of the restoration of a believer in application today

        • Write your conclusion and the key factors in your decision

    • Week 4:

      • Missions (Dave Burdette):

        • Write a paragraph explaining the place adn purpose of Genesis 1 to 11 in the context of the whole Bible.  Do you agree with the position presented in class?  Why or why not?

        • Write a paragraph explaining one of the following:

          • Your basic reason for not being a cross-cultural missionary (if you are not planning on being one)

          • Your biblical rationale for planning on being a missionary (if you are planning on it)

          • Your biggest question/confusion/issue if you are undecided

      • Old Testament Survey (Nate Foreman):

        • Take 2.5 hours to get all by yourself and work on meditating on God's Word and praying

        • Write down what God has been teaching you here, where you are in life, who you fail to pray for

        • Re-write the experience - how it helped you and the highlights of it - and turn this paper in

    • Week 5:

      • Acts (Brad Buser):

        • Read the whole book of Acts

        • Find where Luke joins up with Paul

      • Genesis (Dr. Bill Spear):

        • List 10 aspects of the character and attributes of God that you see as you read in chapters 1-3 of Genesis

        • Write a paragraph explaining where you think God came from

        • Explain the primary reasons people will not accept God's plan of salvation and what those reasons have to do with pride and/or humility

        • Explain what we mean when we talk about the difference between having faith in God and having faith in faith

        • How many chapters of Genesis you read

    • Week 6:

      • Creation (Dr. Donald Chittick):

        • Summarize and evaluate an article from Institute for Creation Research

      • Philippians (Dr. Joey Dodson):

        • Write a letter to a fictional friend who is an undercover missionary in an undisclosed location in Asia encouraging her as persecution is increasing and there is increased pressure on her from the government.  Also, there is some division between two of the leaders in the church.  Use Philippians as your model and email this friend your prayer for her and the church as well as a note of encouragement and advice.  However, since the government monitors all her emails, you must be creative and not speak in obvious Christian terms.

    • Week 7:

      • Ecclesiology (Dr. Brad Harper)

      • Soteriology (Dr. Keith Krell)

    • Week 8:

      • Eschatology (Dr. Keith Krell)

      • Doctrine of God (Dave Jongeward)

    • Week 9:

      • Life of David (Darrin Ratcliff)

      • 1 John (Mark Canady)

    Well, I just previewed this post...it's really long, and I probably wouldn't read it if it were on someone else's blog.  But, just in case anyone really wants to know what goes on over here, there it is.  And if you actually read the whole thing (especially if you aren't directly related to me), I'm very impressed.  You deserve some kind of prize.  I hope to post again soon with some things I am learning from the classes as well as write about some of the "extra-curricular" things I've done.

    Cannon Beach

    Here are some pictures I've taken over the past week or so.  Enjoy!!

    [gallery columns="2"]

    Bits and Pieces 1

    I've been learning a lot over the past couple weeks, and I want to "vent" a bit, so will be trying to write down what I'm learning in some posts like this. There usually isn't enough to write a whole post on, so a "bits and pieces" post will work best for it.

    • We as the church have begun to really realize our need to care for orphans in the world - through adoption, foster care, etc.  But how much do we care for the elderly?  We see the evils of children growing up in an institutionalized environment, but what about the senior citizens who live in group homes or state run nursing homes?  Who cares for them?  We are told to care for the orphans and widows, but it seems like it's so much easier to care for some cute little kids than for some old people who have so many health problems and dementia, and other "weird old people problems".  I'm talking as much to myself as to anyone else; I get really excited about adoption: several families in our church have adopted, my family has adopted, I would like to adopt once I'm married and starting a family.  But I don't do much to care for the elderly; I need to do more in showing love to this people group.

    • Monday night, the teacher said that when Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the gospel, He didn't say anything about coming back.  Not everyone who goes out to make disciples will come back.  This really hit me as I think about what God has for me in the coming years, and praying about possibly going into full time ministry, either here or overseas.

    • Also on Monday night, he pointed out Ezra 7:10 in talking about God's Word.  It gives a great summary of how we should approach God's Word: "For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel."*

    • Tuesday morning we discussed prayer; this was really convicting.  We saw Jesus' example: after a long day, Jesus was physically and emotionally spent, and yet He got up early the next morning to go off alone to pray (Mark 1:35).  Colossians 4:2 gives a good summary of how we are to pray: "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving."*

    Now all I have to do is put all of this into practice!  :)  Please pray for me, that I will be a doer of the Word and not just a hearer.  I don't want to come away from this year with just head knowledge of what the Bible says, but I want my life to reflect God and to glorify Him by doing as His Word says.

    *All quotes from the Bible are from the English Standard Version.  I just started using that version once I came to Ecola, and have really loved it.  It's nice to read over passages I am familiar with in other versions and see a different way the text could be translated.

    School, Work, Ministry and Fun!

    So much has been going on that I don't really know where to start.  Well, to start with, I left Indiana on October 7th to make my way to Oregon.  I had a wonderful time visiting my aunt, uncle and cousins for a few days.  It was a very relaxing and enjoyable time, just hanging out on the farm.

    On Sunday after church they drove me down to Cannon Beach, Oregon, where Ecola Bible School is, so I could register for school.  I moved into my dorm room, said goodbye and started getting to know my new roommates.  One of my roommates, Rebecca, is an old friend from Ecuador...we haven't kept in touch much (the last time I saw her was probably seven years ago), but it was nice to know someone here.  All three of my roommates are really nice.  Tina and Rebecca are the more outgoing, fun-loving ones, and Laura is quieter, but definitely warming up.  We all get along together really well and enjoy hanging out together.

    After dinner on Sunday night, and a time of getting to know some other students and staff, we all took a walk down to Haystack Rock on the beach.  It was about 9:00 by that time, so it was dark and we couldn't see it very well, but it was a nice walk.  Monday morning, school started.  We had two classes this week: one on the book of Romans, and the other was an Orientation class.  We have one of each class each morning and each evening.  Corey Miller taught Romans; he was from Lafayette, Indiana.  He studies philosophy (I think he has a PhD in it or is studying for one) and is a former Mormon, so he had some interesting perspectives as he taught through Romans.  He had us read through Romans two times before class Tuesday morning, and then write a three page paper on Justification based on Romans 3-4 and James 2.  One of the main things he emphasized was reading Scripture in context.  Not just in that specific section of Scripture, but through all of the Bible.  He had two favorite sayings.  One was: "Context, context context!"  And the other was: "A text ripped from its context is just a pretext for someone's proof text."  It was really great for me to learn (and have to put into practice) how to look through Scripture to find out what a passage means.  Another of his points was that our focus should not be on trying to follow the Law...trying to make sure we do what we're supposed to and not do what we aren't supposed to...but that our focus should be on God and loving Him.  If we are doing that, we will naturally follow the Law.  The Law is there to help guide us, but it should not be our main focus.  Next week, our two classes will be on Matthew and James.

    Each student is required to be involved in at least one hour of ministry each week.  This week we were given the various choices and had to sign up for at least one.  I have signed up to help with a conference for disabled people.  The conference will be at the end of this term, but leading up to then, we'll meet each week to pray.  Then during the conference, the volunteers will stay with the people coming to help them however they need help.  (They will have some attendants coming with them, but we may need to help out a lot, too.)  The other ministry I will probably do is teaching at the local Good News Club.

    I am also working at the Cannon Beach Conference Center.  (Ecola Bible School is a "retreat" group that stays at CBCC.)  I will probably work 10-12 hours a week in housekeeping, serving food (putting food on the plates), waiting on tables, dishes, etc.  Each week will be different, depending on what groups come in.  Thursday was orientation, Friday I was trained in housekeeping, and today I worked in housekeeping (cleaning out a couple dorms), and serving for dinner.  So far I enjoy serving the most.

    Believe it or not, there is actually still time for some fun activities.  We had a dorm activity night on Wednesday; our dorm and another dorm got together to color over sized coloring book pages and talk.  We got four nicely colored posters for our room from it (Toy Story, and a couple of cute little animals)! :)  Thursday night was a Retro Party, so we all dressed up in our retro outfits and hung out at the coffee shop.  Tina, Rebecca and I have also played ping pong with a couple other guys.  So far it's been more entertaining and more of a workout for our abs (from laughter) than anything, as Rebecca and I are both pretty bad at it, and the ball goes all sorts of places besides the table.  It's all fun, though.

    Tomorrow (Sunday), I'll be going to Cannon Beach Bible Church.  A lot of the students go there, and it seems like a good church from what I've heard.  I haven't seen any of their doctrinal statements yet, but hopefully I'll learn more about them tomorrow.

    I'll end with a few pictures.  Enjoy!

    [gallery columns="2"]

    Trip to Virginia

    A few days ago, I returned from a week long trip to Virginia to visit Sally and Adam.  It was a nice relaxing time, just hanging out with them.  We were able to drive up through Shenandoah National Park one day, went to IKEA and the mall another day, visited with friends I made during my trip out to D.C. on spring break, visited historic Occaquan, played games, watched a couple movies and celebrated my birthday a few days early.  I really enjoyed getting to see their new place, visit the church they are considering joining, and see the area they live in.  I have a few pictures up from the trip here.

    This is probably my last blog entry in Indiana for a while.  On Wednesday, October 7th, I will be leaving early in the morning to fly out to Oregon for Bible school.  I'm excited about this new phase in my life, and also a bit nervous - partly because I'll be living so far from my family, and partly because I'm not sure I can get everything I need for a year into two 50 lb suitcases plus one carry on and one "personal item". :)  I'd appreciate your prayers as I transition to a new place and begin school and work, and as I take this year to dig deeper into God's Word.

    God's Great and Undeserved Love

    I've been following a "read through the Bible in a year" plan, and I recently read several psalms in a row.  This is rather rare, as I usually read one at a time or maybe two at a time.  I'm so glad I did, though.  The first one I read was Psalm 104.  This psalm describes God's creation of the world and His care for man and the creatures in the world.  The next psalm describes what God has done on behalf of Israel - how He remembered His covenant with them, rescued them from Egypt and provided for them during their journey to the Promised Land.  Now, I didn't study the psalms long, but just read through them thoughtfully.  But God's love and kindness and care for His people is very clear.  This makes the contrast of the next psalm so much greater, as it talks about Israel's rebellion against God.  Despite His provision and His protection of the Israelites, they grumbled and complained, they worshiped other gods, joined with other nations (thus learning their evil practices and directly disobeying God's instructions).  After all that God had done for them, this was their response.  (I can't help but think how often this is our response as well.  God protects us from one thing, we complain about something we don't have; God graciously provides for that desire, and we flippantly thank Him and continue on our way...as if we deserve it from Him.  And not only that, but we then deliberately disobey Him!)  After reading through these three psalms, I come to the last verses of Psalm 106 (verses 40-46):

    Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against His people [very just and very understandable...I don't think any one of us would have put up with it for that long!] and He abhorred His inheritance.  Then He gave them into the hand of the nations and those who hated them ruled over them.  Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were subdued under their power.  Many times He would deliver them; they, however, were rebellious in their counsel, and so sank down in their iniquity.

    Nevertheless He looked upon their distress when He heard their cry; and He remembered His covenant for their sake, and relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.  He also make them objects of compassion in the presence of all their captors."

    What a great and awesome God...He shows compassion and love even when we are in direct rebellion against Him!  What amazing grace and love!  How can we ever thank Him?

    The End

    Well, tomorrow is my last day as secretary/intern at KSBC.  It's kind of a bittersweet time, as I am looking forward to what's coming next, but I will definitely miss doing what I do now as well as all the people I work with.  I think the hardest part of leaving is not being able to hang out as much with all my current coworkers.  Sure, I'll see them at church and other events, but it's not the same as working side by side.  The other thing I'll miss is being able to go to staff meetings where I can hear how God is working in people's lives...and laugh at all the jokes and side comments of the interns and pastors.

    So, after tomorrow, my official last day of intern/secretary, I will be working as a nanny.  I'll be watching two kids (newborn and preschooler) from 7:30-5:30, Monday - Friday.  It will definitely keep me busy, but I think I will enjoy it and it works out great as I need a summer job until the fall, when I will be going to Ecola Bible School.  Ecola is out on the coast in Oregon and is a one year Bible certificate program.  It's the same school Mom went to when she graduated from high school.  And I found out after I applied that a friend will also be going to Ecola!  It will be nice to have someone I know out there (even though I haven't seen her for 7 years or so).  I have other family and friends out in Oregon, too, which will be nice for the holidays in case I can't afford to fly home.

    There's definitely a lot of change coming up.  Besides all this change in my life, Sally just got engaged and will be getting married in September!  And then moving to Washington D.C.!!  That will be a big adjustment for our whole family.

    Through all of this, though, I know that God is working out His plan and that He will use these circumstances to stretch and grow me and teach me to trust Him more.  It's hard to let go sometimes and let Him take control instead of me trying to control everything for Him.  Which seems really stupid, since He does such a better job of controling things than I do. :)

    Trip to D.C.

    Over Purdue’s spring break, I had the privilege of traveling with a group of international students to Washington D.C. This is the most popular activity that SLCF International* offers. There were twenty international students and three Americans, including my dad and myself, on the trip. It was my first time ever to visit D.C. so it was quite an experience.  We only had three and a half days to tour, so we crammed a lot in, but it was well worth it. We left early Saturday morning, traveled all day and arrived in D.C.  in the evening.  While we were there, families from a church hosted us, two or three students in each home. Their kind hospitality to complete strangers really impressed the students.  After church on Sunday, we were supposed to go to the Arlington National Cemetery, but since it was raining, we visited the beautiful United States Botanic Garden and one or two museums instead.  On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we visited many more places: Arlington National Cemetery, Ford's Theatre, the Capitol building, the National Museum of American History and also the many memorials and monuments.  In addition, we were able to visit with a Representative from Ohio.

    While we had a lot of fun visiting all the various tourist spots, the most important parts of the trip were the times spent in the evening Bible studies in the pastor's home and in discussions with the students. As I sat in on the Bible studies, I was encouraged by the many questions that came up and the discussions during dinner afterwards, indicating that the students were really thinking about the Bible’s message. Besides the times as a group, I was able to talk with one student in particular. What a joy to be able to talk to her about the simplicity of the gospel and how all that is necessary to do is to believe in Christ and trust in Him alone for salvation. I was also able to talk to some students and explain what God's Word has to say on a variety of topics. I am looking forward to continuing our discussions now that we are back in Lafayette. Please pray with me that the interest shown in God’s Word would remain high as these students continue to investigate the Good News of Jesus Christ.

    Since I have so many pictures, I put them up on Google's Picasa Web Album, so if you want to see them, go here. I will probably add more later.

    *In case you don't already know, SLCF International is the group from our church that works with international students at Purdue.  I have a one year internship with this group.

    Beautiful Day!

    Today was such a lovely day outside! It's so nice to have these days - even when you know it's going to get cold again the next week - as it gives us hope that spring is really coming.

    I was so glad to be able to spend some time outside today: a long walk with Maria and Shep in the morning and then some time out in the barnyard later.  Days like today are when I love living in the country.[gallery columns="2"]

    Creation Museum, Lantern Festival & LD

    Wow.  This blog is beginning to look like my diary.  Long intervals with nothing written interspersed with long entries where I try to catch up on everything that had happened in the meantime.  I'm afraid to put up another post summarizing the last couple months.  I would probably have a drop in my readership as it would bore all my many readers to death.  But so much has happened in the last month or so, I want to at least give a very quick summary of some things I learned/enjoyed/did.

    First of all, it was fun to go ice skating with my two sisters.  It was Maria's first time, and while she fell quite often, she did a really great job and improved quite a bit by the end of the night.  Her favorite part of the experience was watching me fall down (only once, mind you) and laughing hysterically about it - then and whenever she remembered it for the rest of the night.

    I also made a couple hundred chocolate chip cookies with my office-mate and fellow intern, Sarah.  Let's just say that it helped point out our different approaches to things.*

    Over MLK weekend, I traveled with a group of international students to the Creation Museum. It is a really great museum, full of interesting facts and amazing displays (one of my favorites was the contrast between the beautiful garden of Eden before sin came, and the room right after sin came, where everything was dark, ugly and painful - it really helps to see the effects of sin like that) and they do a really good job presenting the gospel. Not only did I enjoy it myself, but I enjoyed interacting with the students while we were there as well.  And I had fun feeding the camel...in the bitter cold.

    The next weekend, I judged at the homeschool Speech and Debate Tournament. Between judging one round of debate Friday night and two rounds each of speech and debate on Saturday, I was pretty busy.  It's really fun, though, to hear all the different speeches (especially the humorous - some very funny ones this year!) and to try to follow the debates and remember the little I learned in debate class years ago. I couldn't get out, though, without hearing the popular Casey at the Bat poem.  Seems like every year there is at least one of those. I also judged my first Lincoln Douglas debate...really hard to follow.

    Last weekend was the Chinese Lantern Festival our church hosts.  I was in charge of decorating and being scorekeeper.  Being scorekeeper is a kind of dangerous job...for some reason, people don't like it if you forget to mark the points they earned or if you accidentally give their points to a different team.  Thankfully, I came out unscathed.

    Okay, I eased my conscience.  Now I will resolve to keep my blog up to date...and hopefully will actually have time to follow up on that resolution.

    *Do not read anything bad into this! We appreciate and enjoy each others' differences!

    New Year's Day

    So, you are probably all wondering what Beth does on New Year's Day. You were celebrating the holiday with your family and friends and suddenly you thought, "I wonder what Beth is doing today? What does she do to celebrate New Year's anyway? I know, I'll check her blog later tonight to see if she wrote anything about her day!"




    Or not




    But I'm going to tell you about my exciting day anyway.  :)

    Okay, well it probably isn't that exciting, but I enjoyed it.  Besides, I think I should write on my blog more often, and this is what's going on right now.  You don't have to read this, you know.

    But if you are still reading and really want to know, here goes:

    First thing this morning, at 8:00 AM (which is usually sleeping in, but is early since I went to bed at 1:30 last night, er, this morning), one of our foster kids woke me up...she didn't stay up late last night.  So, I got up to get her and myself ready for the day.  After breakfast (yummy pancakes, compliments of Dad), I spent some time in the Word and doing laundry (not at the same time...).

    Then, to start out the new year right, I went out for a walk/jog/run with Maria on her bike.  We didn't go far, but it was far enough for me.  :)

    After lunch I headed to campus for a Bible study with a student.  After that came the really fun part of the day: moving Sarah into my office and rearranging the furniture!!

    To begin with, picture a smallish office with plain white walls (except for the yellow sticky tack stuck in various places on the wall, remnants of some former poster that has been long gone), a sectional couch that wraps around half the room, various boxes and bags with supplies, a desk and an empty bookshelf.

    After a couple hours of talking, moving furniture (including a really heavy desk that we had to scoot, one side at a time, across the room and turn around - this would be the second part of my excersise for the day - a really great workout; we figured that desk weighed at least 200 pounds), talking, setting out books and papers, talking (hey, we're girls; what can I say?), hanging up pictures and having a deep theological discussion, Sarah was officially moved in.  Yay!  Now I have an office mate!  AND the office now looks a lot greater!

    Now picture this: a smallish office, still with plain white walls (except for the spots where we accidentally took some paint off when we peeled off the ancient sticky tack) but walls that now have lovely pictures, a huge painted Chinese fan (covering up most of the peeled paint and ancient sticky tack spots) and Chinese knots hanging on them, two desks (neatly organized...or at least the tops are), a small end table with a Christmas basket full of pinecones and other appropriate decorations (some of which are cinnamon scented so the room smells better, too), a nice bookshelf with some books and small decorations and instead of a big couch, we have only two small chair sized sections of it.  The room looks so nice and cozy now!  And best of all, I have an office mate to share it with!!!  (We'll try not to spend all/half our time talking, I promise!)

    At home again, I did some more laundry, had dinner and then visited with a family friend who was in town for the weekend.  Now it's time for a bit more laundry (there's a lot of laundry in a family with eight people in it!) and then bed.

    That was my New Year's Day.  What did you do on yours?