How To Enter Senior Year

(Disclaimer: I speak recognizing my place as an incredibly privileged, upper-middle-class student. More on that later.)

1. With trepidation.

Because we’re human. And we’ve been waiting for this. I know that for me, I often think, “I’m never going to be 30,” or “Yeah right, people get married, but that’s never going to be me.” Throughout middle school, I lived in an “I’m never going to be a high schooler: that’s crazy.” Throughout high school, I’ve convinced myself, “I’m never going to be a senior—never going to reach the college application stage and face those beasts. That’s crazy.”

Here I am.

Time works real weird when we quantify and personify it like that, and so here I am, much too quickly, near the end of my high school career. Tomorrow is going to be my last first day. This is going to be my last HS fall semester. It’s mind-blowing to think that I’m at the ’12’ in ‘K-12,’ and simultaneous with the thrill of being on top and in sight of the tunnel-end light… is some variation of fear.

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Dear Satan

[inspired by post-Bolivia hardship]

Hello, I I I know you’re there I I I feel your tendrils snagging my lungs I I know you’re defeated that Christ is victorious I I STOP peel flesh off my lips with meticulous nails GO AWAY stop stealing the joy give it back! give it back I I I know it’s there it was glowing and bathing my brain with great warm waves, ecstasy, and I was drunk I I I know with Holy Spirit and perfect plan and fruition of months’ work and PURE joy happiness I I cling it back, scrape my nipples with wrists and the limbs clenching I CLAIM IT God help me, don’t you dare infect my light I I I hate your shrieking weight in my muscle-threads, you, yes YOU I SEE YOU try and stick your nozzles through my skull and pump in your self-loathing, inky, seeping oily everywhere I I I won’t allow it I I I got Jesus and the Father with their swords of flame and light and YOU WILL NOT WIN I swear it STOP my earlobes dragging my buzzing head into the dirt, beneath salt-crunched bone WHY WHY does it give you such pleasure to wring the veins?

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Day 9: Travels & Final Thoughts [Sucre Bolivia, 2016]

Hey friends!

Sorry this final update comes so late! It’s taken a while to recover physically and start to process this trip. It took quite a few hours to actually write this. This is a much longer update, fair warning… It only covers sentiments from the weekish after the trip, and even during that week things have been changing, so this is only an ad interim conclusion, if you will. I believe that God will continue to change me.

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7/16/2016

Saturday was a full day of travel, complete with customs in Houston and plenty of joking around/sharing pictures with each other. We arrived in the Austin airport around 6:40pm and Annie (David’s wife) was the first to greet us… and as our parents or spouses arrived there were the joyful reunions. Andrew tackled me and wouldn’t let me go during the entire baggage-claiming process. Love the guy. Continue reading

Day 8: Auf wiedersehen, goodbye! [Sucre, Bolivia 2016]

Hi friends!

Greetings from the Santa Cruz airport!

Today was full and bursting with fun, happiness, goodbyes, and sadness. It was a more relaxed day—the morning was salteñas at El Patio again (for breakfast!), then a trip to a different high place where we could see all of Sucre. It was a different vantage point from Sunday, and this time we had translator Esteban point out where in the city each of us had served—where each church was. We took lots of group pictures, then had a time of prayer together for Sucre and its people and all the churches we’re leaving behind.  Continue reading

Day 7: Final Ministries! [Sucre, Bolivia 2016]

Hi friends!

Today was our last day of ministry! The week has gone by so fast…

We woke up and ate/met like usual. The entire morning at Pastor Fernando’s church was devoted to discipleship training—that is, training the nationals to disciple the new believers after PG and I leave.

We explained the concept of ‘Yellow’ ‘Stories of Hope’ (for when a person doesn’t want to put their trust in Jesus just yet but is interested) and the ‘Green’ ‘Discipleship Stories’ (for new believers to start growing in their faith). PG made an excellent analogy—if a newborn baby is left by itself with no one taking care of it, it’ll get sick and probably die. So new believers need to be visited, discipled, taken care of. Similarly it isn’t enough to hand a new believer a Bible and say, “Read this!” That’s like giving a newborn a 12-oz steak. They can’t digest it. Continue reading

Day 6: Play ball! [Sucre, Bolivia 2016]

Muy bonito!

That’s my Spanish phrase of the day. What? Look it up yourself! All the puppies here are muy bonito.

The schedule today was much like yesterday’s—breakfast/team meeting at 7:45am, leave for churches at 9am, morning session, lunch, afternoon session, tea, back to hotel around 7:30pm, dinner, bed.

This morning, we learned how to use the eBall—a soccer ball with different colors that represent different parts of the gospel. The idea is to play, show, and tell. More on that later. Then we practiced a different Bible story with each other: the Pharisee and tax collector who pray differently, and Jesus loving on the children brought to him.  Continue reading

Day 5: Eyeglasses, eyeglasses, eyeglasses! [Sucre, Bolivia 2016]

Hola amigos!

(practicing my Español)

I can’t believe day 5 is over! It was an exhausting but rewarding day.

This morning we had a team meeting/devotional over breakfast. The passage was Ephesians 6:10-20 (if you’re following the prayer calendar on the Sucre page above, that’s the passage for today)—we talked about boldness in all we do, from knocking on doors to praying for our brothers/sisters to sharing the gospel even when we get home. Boldness ≠ obnoxiousness.

PG and I arrived at the church with our translators and Pastor Fernando like yesterday. We (and the nationals) spent some time going over the Bible story about the sinful woman who wipes Jesus’ feet and pours oil, etc. (Luke 7:36-50) and practicing sharing it with each other—the point of the morning was to go back to the houses we visited yesterday and follow up with new believers, by sharing ‘true stories from the word of God’, praying for/with them, etc. We also practiced with the Evangecube for the first time—it’s a folding cube that manipulates to show helpful pictures while you share the gospel.  Continue reading