This, ladies and gentlemen, is the first installment of a revolutionary idea called “That’s Why We’re Friends.” This will be an inside look of, what I feel, defines MNU: Community.
I am a Freshman in Lanpher. Without going into too much graphic detail, let’s just say it can get CRAZY! I mean come on, we’re dudes from all over the place, living under one roof, what’d you expect?
The picture above is my room which I share with my DAWG Josh Woodward. Josh looks like the complete opposite of me, but only until you put us in the same room and especially compare our senses of humor.
Today we’re going to take a deeper look into what makes a hall, a hall. It’s kind of like the church in how it it less dependent on the structure, even though it is very nice mind you, and focuses more on who resides there. There are around 25 guys on each hall. This gives way for growth, discussions and lots of diversity.
The diversity lies in where we come from, the personalities we have all developed and are now clashing. Some transitions go smoothly and others are like using your car key to open your garage or maybe a safe. But when it’s good, it’s awesome. You find people who, like Josh and I, who starting bonding on day one. We went to Se7en E11even bought some Hot Pockets, bananas, and milk to make cookie milk shakes with some meal-shake-yummy-formula I brought from home. Needless to say, that’s a bond never to be broken!
The discussions are a very special thing! They can be had between people whose faith is sound and thus creates growth or with people who are hurting, lost, and confused. I almost prefer the latter; it creates bonds that I believe God set forth to happen. Take for example a sonic trip. I took a guy on the hall who was relatively opposed to Campus Center and didn’t have a car. My view on this young man was once somewhat negative, ticked me off a bit, and hurt my heart to see him make the choices he was. He then blew all of that away. With a tiny piece of his past, his choices, his struggle. I obtained a view on a once God filled-fearing-and-praising young man whose priorities got mixed up. This made my heart smile because I began to see a need in him and a God who fit perfectly.
The growth is the best part. From the butting heads to the deep theological discussion it is produced. Accountability is established, encouragement is given, and love is displayed. For all this to happen a helpful verse is Proverbs 28:1, “The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as BOLD as a lion.” I believe to make community work you have to be bold. That’s where growth begins. This is my hall. Not the white cement walls, but the people that reside within them and the talks that bring those same people together.
From the sitting and planning out starting a revolutionary idea to having conversations about some weird, but bonding topics, I would not trade the community I have. It is molding me into someone who realizes more than he did before. It’s all a part of God’s plan. I pray that you would seek community around you, because community is the backbone of any meant-to-be-broken-yet-redeemed individual.
It’s that time of year isn’t it? The moment the weather begins to get colder, the coughing and stuffy noses begin to increase rapidly. Thats right, the sickness is coming back and the cold season is here, as expected. Many of us here at MNU have fallen victim to this evil health factor. I being one of them.
This has been enough of a stressful week already, and now this!? The aches and the pains, the sneezing and the sniffling, the coughing and the hacking, it’s all part of the endless circle of reasons we continually have to struggle to just get by. With finals just around the corner, and winter break immediately after that (WOO), our health is the last thing we need to be worrying about right now. We should be studying, doing homework, and psyching ourselves up for this big tests. HA who am I kidding? We would be procrastinating, hanging out with friends, and just simply being college students. Most of us can’t even focus on anything but winter break! But NOO! No we are stuck in bed, too achey to do anything, too sick to be around people for an extended period of time. These are the times when you say to yourself life sucks sometimes
But amidst all of the illness and all of the sorrow there is hope! There is a light that shines in this tunnel of sore throats and swollen sinus cavities! There is good in every negative and the good is plain to see once you look. Before we were all sick zombies we lived life as aimless procrastinators: Kings and Queens of wasting time and goofing off! We were lazy without cause, did stupid things for no reason, and there was simply no excuse. So remember you’re not alone friends! I am with you, and many others like myself. Just keep your heads up and look at the bright side: at least now you have a legitimate reason not to do your homework!
And this is one of my favorite poems by Shel Silverstein that I added just for fun:
Well this past week I was in ROME! So here is a recap of all that I got to do.
Day ONE: We arrived. Got checked in to the cutest B&B I have ever seen. Then we went out and ran into Auralian’s wall and then ate at a pizzeria. Each of us got a massive full sized pizza for only 5 euros!
Day TWO: We got up. Bought our Roma passes for transportation and discounts to all the places we wanted to go. Headed to the area of the Roman forums and passed Capitoline hill and Trajon’s column on the way. We got our first glimpse of the Colosseum and had our first gelato! Then in front of the forum we were approached and offered a tour. The girl was from England and the guy from North Carolina. We went with a guide named Fabio! On the tour we met this couple that was on a four month journey across the globe! They were from Australia and had been through Asia and now were in Europe. We saw the Imperial Forum, Palentine hill, and the Colosseum. Everything was so amazing. Later we picked a restaurant to have our Thanksgiving dinner at called ‘Wanted.’
Day THREE: We saw the Baths of Caracalla this day. They were massive! It was actually a complex and was more for social swimming…without swimsuits. Also we went through the Capitoline hill museums and that was really cool. There were beautiful paintings and sculptures and murals. Then we went to the Piazza Novana where the artists district was and bought some paintings. The Pantheon was next. It is one of the most well preserved buildings and you can definitely tell when you see it. After the Pantheon we went to the Trevi fountain! I threw in a coin and can only hope that the saying is true- that when you throw a coin in the Trevi you will return to Rome. For some reason I have had this attachment to the Trevi and I had looked forward to seeing it the whole time. And let me say- it was everything I had hyped it up to be. I was not disappointed. I loved it! We went to the Trevi multiple times during the week. That night we went to the Hard Rock Cafe Rome and had an American meal for the first time in three months! IT WAS FANTASTIC! I have a bacon cheese burger and french fries and a hot fudge brownie sundae. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
DAY FOUR: This was the Catacombs which was pretty cool but not my favorite place. The history and stories behind it is amazing though. We walked done some roads out on the Catacombs and that was absolutely beautiful. We were more out of the city so the landscape was incredible. We also went through an open market which was a lot of fun but very hectic as well. There were vendors trying to get you to look at their stuff and bargaining was kinda crazy. We ate a basement restaurant that night and witnessed a lady translate in three languages at the same time within ten minutes! It was so cool to experience that.
Day FIVE: This day was dedicated to the Vatican City. We ended up getting a tour for this as well and getting to cut thousands of people to get in! There were people that waited in line for hours with just hopes of getting in before they closed the doors. Inside it was so packed and getting around was madness. But it was so worth seeing all of the famous sculptures and painting, especially by Michael Angelo and Rafael. We saw the School of Athens painting and the Sistine Chapel! The Sistine Chapel is truly incredible. We then later cut hundreds of people on our own to get into St. Peter’s Basilica. Waiting in lines are for squares. When in Rome right?! We went to a little hole in the wall pizzeria by the Vatican for lunch and it was definitely some of the best pizza I have ever had! Then we had gelato on the Spanish steps after that. On our way back to the B&B we stopped by the Colosseum one last time. Hayley and I sang the song ‘This is what dreams of made of’ from the Lizzie McGuire Movie in front of the Colosseum! Probably one of my favorite memories- it was so much fun and a perfect way to end a wonderful trip!
And as for all of the little details and inside jokes/memories…What happens in Rome stays in Rome.
Learn something new today: Anatidaephobia is the fear that somewhere in the world there is a duck watching you.
As wonderful as Thanksgiving is, little did I know that this particular Thanksgiving would be above and beyond what I was expecting for the turkey holiday. After finishing all my classes on Tuesday, November 20, I was preparing myself for a friends-giving celebration that my roommate Kai and her twin Marshall had prepared for that day. The night before they had given both my friend Clair and I flowers, a handkerchief, and a beautiful poem they had written explaining that the following day would be a celebration of our friendships in which the whole day would be a surprise (hence the handkerchief). When the time came for our celebration, we got in our best attire and took off, ending up at Cheesecake Factory at the Plaza and then spent some good time walking down by the river after a trip to Latteland. It was beautiful out, the weather being perfect, and it was such a refreshing time getting to simply be with these good, good people. After spending some time in the Word and talking about God’s faithfulness through our community, we took off for the final destination, blindfolds on. However, unbeknownced to me, I was truly the only one without a clue.
The car stopped and Kai came around and helped me out. We began walking, her hands in mine as she led me forward, and she began talking to me about how thankful she is to God for our friendship and all that He has revealed to the both of us through us becoming so close. She then said, “But, the rest of today we are going to celebrate another relationship…”, and this was when I first realized that this day would look far different than what I could have ever hoped. She took off my blindfold and I was standing in front of two of my good friends right outside of my grandparents lovely little church where my parents had gotten married years ago. The setting was absolutely beautiful. We were standing in this beautiful garden area which was decorated with twinkling lights, picutres of Zach and I together, and mason jars with flowers hanging all around. They explained that before me was a timeline of Zach and I’s relationship separated into chapters that represented our growth together as a couple throughout time. Twine took me from chapter to chapter where there were adorable signs and pictures of us during that time dangling down from the twine. Friends and family who shared life with us during that specific chapter stood at the different stops, and upon reaching them, spent some time reminding me of that particular time in our relationship, sharing stories and talking about their experiences of us together. It was so beautiful getting to talk with some of my favorite people and reflect back on our experiences together that had brought us to this point. The twine eventually lead me inside where I found my sister and Kai, and after spending some beautiful moments with them, I followed it on through the sanctuary doors. Even though I thought that I was out of tears by this point, the waterfall came upon seeing him. I walked down the aisle of candles, finally making it to him, and he showed me a video that he had put together for me which included many of our close friends and family. He took me to the final chapter and read to me from Scripture, reminding me of his commitment to choose to love me every day throughout our lives together and that he knows my worth in the Lord. We spent some moments together there and he eventually walked me to a ring of candles, where he said some final words and got down on one knee. The rest was a blur, most likely because I said yes so fast, and before I knew it I had one amazing rock on my finger–SO SURREAL! We ran out the side door where friends and family were gathered and waiting. It so good getting to celebrate with people afterwards and be able to share those moments together.
It was wonderful having Thanksgiving that week and getting to spend good time with family celebrating all of God’s blessings. All in all, I shall never forget the day of November 20 in remembrance of the love God has revealed to me through this man. THE LORD IS GOOD!
There’s christmas lights up, the air is cold, the stores are beginning to supply their holiday sales; the Christmas season is almost here. Now that Thanksgiving is officially over the winter spirit is beginning to kick in, don’t you think? There’s talk of presents and family gatherings; there’s Christmas music filling all of the department stores and mall outlets; you can almost feel the excitement. What is it that makes Christmas stand out so much in the hearts of humans around America? Is it Saint Nicholas and his little elves? Is it the decorated pine trees or the vibrant wreaths? Or is there something more to this time of the year?
As you know, it is called CHRISTmas for a reason. This is the time of the year that we celebrate the birth of Christ the messiah, our savior, our father, our friend: Jesus. But yet those of us who do not accept Him into their lives still feel the joy of this time of the year. Why is that? Why is it that almost nobody can escape feeling of the holiday spirit whether they like it or not? The answer is simple: there is no one on this earth that can escape the love of other people when it is as strong as it is this time of the year. The love humans share for one another is inescapable, and all things good and loving can be traced back to God. Everything good comes from the father. So thinking in that sense it is safe to say that that’s why Christmas is so special to people: it’s the one time of the year when we can all feel Christ’s love through one another. But why can’t we, as Christians, do this all year ‘round? How come we can’t share this spirit every day?
That’s our job: to show the love of Christ inside and outside of CHRISTmas. This is the time of year when we get a glimpse of real happiness and real love. So I urge you to make that happiness about something other than just getting, and even giving, material things. Don’t focus on this that will fade in time, but store your treasure in heaven, as stated in Matthew 6. Jesus is your best friend, and He loves you so much that he died for you. Yeah, yeah, I know hearing that Jesus died for you can be cliche at times, but it never loses its truth no matter how much it loses its sting. No matter how many times we hear it, we need to resist hardening our hearts to it. This is the time of year we live, laugh, and love. But what will you live for, laugh at, and what will you love? I pray for everyone reading this to just keep Christ the focus of their lives, to live for Him, laugh with Him, and just simply love Him. And if He isn’t the focus yet that He would become the absolute center of your lives. Just remember these few things: There are many people in this world that love you; God loves you, your friends and family love you, and even I love you. It’s so easily to lose site of the most important things in a time of consumerism like Christmas. So go and live like you are loved, because that my friends is the most important thing in the world. Not getting presents
Hello there reader. Did you know that God is so awesome. Well just listen to this story.
I went to ICF this past Sunday with a girl that I became friends with here named Corinna. She picked me up and off we went to the celebration.- They call their services ‘celebrations’ because they want everyone to know that they celebrate the Lord. Upon arrival we are waved down by her friends in the front that had saved us spots. -CELEBRATION HAPPENS- After it gets over one of the girls sitting by my friend starts talking to me. We talked about what I was doing here and she asked me about America and what I missed and what I will miss when I leave. I found out that she had spend like three months over in North America. The conversation went on for a long time with her continuing to ask questions. She was so intrigued and eager to be talking to me but I didn’t really think anything of it. After awhile we finally split and mingled with other that were there. Later in the car on the way home Corinna told me that she wanted to tell me something. She continued and said that her friend that talked to me for so long told her that I was an answer to her prayer. I was totally taken back by this and asked why and Corinna told me that apparently the girl had been missing her time in North America and so she had prayed that day before for God to send her someone that she could speak English with. HOW COOL IS THAT! I was so excited hearing about this and I thought it was so awesome that I got to be someones answer to their prayers. Such an amazing thing to be a part of God’s work…and maybe not even know it!
Okay well nothing is gonna be able to follow that story so I’ll just briefly list a few random things that happened this past week in my Swiss life.
I chopped my hair off.
We fed a TON of bread to the ducks and swans on the dock of the Rhein.
Had a super awesome crazy girls night! – with facials and ice cream and a random dance party that was planned and the Lizzie Mcguire Movie.
Visited the island of Reichenau.
Had an afternoon of candle making in Gailingen. – So cool! (but takes forever)
Had a bonfire.
TOMORROW I LEAVE FOR…………….ROME! I will be spending our Thanksgiving break with Hannah, Erin, and Hayley exploring and soaking in the wonders of Rome for five days. It is going to be fabulous.
Learn something new today: A hippo can open its mouth wide enough to fit a 4 foot tall child inside. -Just a heads up for those of you thinking about getting a pet hippo. *Keep out of reach of children.
Have you ever worked with children? Do you have little brothers or sisters, have you babysat, or are you employed where you work with children? If any of those are true than you know how rough kids can be. All three of those are true for me. I have three little sisters, I’ve babysat many times before, and I have worked at a daycare/preschool for almost two years now. After working with children so much, I’ve gained a few life lessons that will probably stick with me forever.
I’ve learned that children, sometimes, just need to be alone. I’ve seen countless times when a child has gotten into trouble and all they needed to do was just go and be by themselves but a teacher would try to continually confront the child about the situation. All they need sometime is just to be by themselves. I feel like that is the same for us. We have all of these problems in our lives and we can’t just let go. We have to confront it and make sure its all better but we sometimes we need to step back, relax, and let things go. Or sometimes we are in a situation we can’t really handle and we need to just go be alone ourselves. We need that alone time to let things go, relax, and just ask God to help us out.
Another thing I’ve learned is that working at a preschool is tiring. Kids don’t listen 99.9% of the time, they always want to do there own thing, they think they know whats best for themselves, and they constantly hurt one another in striving to get what they want for themselves. Now what if I took the word “kids” out of the beginning of that last sentence and replaced it with “people”? It makes just as much sense half of the time doesn’t it? There is not a huge difference between adults and children. We think we can do everything ourselves, that we know whats best, but then God looks at us and tells us otherwise and we still don’t listen. How can we possibly know whats best for us? A lot of Christians know that we don’t know what’s best for us, yet we continually to neglect living like that. We need to learn to let go and trust in God.
The most important thing I would say that I learned after working with kids is that sometimes, it can feel hard to love them. I KNOW that sounds terrible but sometimes children can be really mean, they don’t listen, and they don’t want a thing to do with you. I do love every one of the children I work with, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes the just get into so much trouble it’s crazy! Then we have to discipline them, and then we have to tell their parents, and then we have to keep them from doing it again and it’s a never ending cycle of endless effort. This is the SAME thing we do with God. We are childish sometimes. We continually turn away from God and continually fall short. Do you think God thinks that’s very fun? Do you think He has fun constantly calling out to us and constantly seeing us get hurt or hurting one another? It’s not, and yet He loves us with all of His heart. There is no end to God’s love. Working as a teacher has really opened my eyes to that. God really does love us ALL!! And that’s really been on my heart lately.
Working with children has definitely pulled me closer to God. I can now see a SLIGHT glimpse of how God sees us sometimes (but of course I still can’t comprehend His thoughts or His love). Even though I go home exhausted most every day, in the end it is worth it. I get to see innocence at it’s finest, and it get to love that and allow it to be a part of my own life.
(sorry there’s no pictures, it’s illegal for me to have pictures of children from any public daycare/preschool service for anything outside of the daycare/preschool)