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Katie Linsey

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January 15, 2015

Blessed Semester Ever

January 15, 2015 | By | 2 Comments

My church has been doing a series called “Blessed Year Ever” to kick off the New Year. During this series, my pastor has talked about how, as Christ followers, we can ensure that 2015 will be a year of blessing, and possibly the blessed year ever.

This series, along with the mindset of “starting over” that the New Year always brings, has gotten me thinking a lot about how I want 2015 to look for me personally. I learned a lot my first semester of college and went through lots of new experiences, both good and not so good, that have taught me a lot. These lessons have changed the way I think, act, and the way I want to live my life in general.

If I had to describe my first semester in college in a few words, I would describe it as “amazing and overwhelming.” It was amazing for obvious reasons: new friends, community, and an opportunity to grow as a Christ follower. It was overwhelming because of the lack of balance I experienced. I had a hard time balancing my time, people I wanted to get to know, schoolwork, and many other things. Having to find that balance (and realizing that I will never fully find it) honestly changed me for the better.

I want to dedicate this semester to growing deeper in my relationship with Jesus and building stronger connections within the community at MNU.

I want to seek God wholeheartedly. I want to become bolder in my faith, listening to the Lord and being intentional in everything I do. I want to delight in the presence of God. I want passion and zeal and fire. I want to be so recklessly confident in what God is doing in and through my life that I listen to Him without second thoughts. I want to feel Him all the time, inviting Him into every aspect of my life.

I want to better understand what it means to be a part of a community of believers. I want to dig deeper in my friendships that developed last semester. I want to talk about the hard stuff. I want to encourage and push people to become stronger in their relationship with Jesus. I want to make new friends. I want to make the most of every moment I have in this community because it’s beautiful and I won’t have it forever. I want to make memories that I will never forget. I want to laugh and cry, going through the joys and sorrows of life with some of my favorite people on this earth.

MNU is a special place. I am confident that God has me here for reasons that are unknown to me now. Growing deeper in my relationship with Him and also with the community is something that I’m very excited about. I couldn’t think of a better place to be.

Praise God that a place such as MNU exists.

Cheers to second semester, Pioneers!

-KT

Mariah McCommon

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January 6, 2015

January 5th, 2015

January 6, 2015 | By | No Comments

Hey guys. This post will be a very serious one and forgive me it’s long. As my fellow bloggers have posted already, the MNU community lost a beautiful young lady who was a bright star shining on our campus.

Personally, I didn’t know her but I have seen through her friends that she was an absolute joy to be around and from her pictures she was always smiling. Although I did not know her, I do know how this goes and my deepest empathies go out to the community.

Today is the day in which we are saying our “see you laters” to the beautiful Quincy and it also happens to be the day after a student from my high school was shot and killed by the passenger while driving his car. The suspect has not been found, but the intense search will not cease until he is found.

During my four years of high school, a total of six students died and since graduation, two more from the school. Freshman year, a girl on color guard and a spritely friend to many was killed in a car accident. Sophomore year, not long after her graduation, the Homecoming Queen, honor student, and Sunday School teacher was hit intentionally by a car and was raped during her final breaths. The summer before my junior year, a girl in my class thought to be at a dead end with her life and ended it. She was so sweet to me in a class we had together and she was much loved by her friends and family. My final year of high school was hoped to be the year without any tragedies… second semester, my best friend and I befriended a sophomore in our gym class. We all sat at lunch together and were always laughing. She was incredibly vibrant and her smile could light up any room she was in. That’s the way she lived; happy and care-free. She was unfortunately involved in a car accident and was instantly killed. Approaching the end of senior year, an intelligent senior was killed in yet another car accident along with her father as they were returning home from enrolling in college. On May 18th, 2014, another student felt like his life was over as well so he ended it. He had just graduated that morning along with the rest of us.

The community is still experiencing these kind of tragedies. A young sophomore this school year lost her battle with cancer. And yesterday, someone I graduated with was shot. It has been difficult to wrap my head around all of this and there are truly no words or answers to express what has been going on. Although my words have been depressing so far, ultimately I want to provide hope to whoever may be reading this.

This life is temporary, I think we all know that. But the sting of pain still remains as we experience loss and various kinds of heartache. It’s alright to feel pain and feel sad, but it’s important to not allow it to consume you. After all, Jesus cried too (John 11:35). Quincy and these other students would want us to be happy. I’m sure of it. The lives they led and faith they portrayed is something we can all learn from and work towards. I believe seasonal depression is a thing and that is something I’m currently trying to overcome. It doesn’t help that everything seems to happen in the dead of winter. The tragedies we experience in life seem huge while it’s happening and maybe long after they happen, but the good news is that God is still and always will be bigger than the catastrophe. Peace rests in my mind knowing that they all are smiling down upon us at the right hand of God Himself. How cool is that? They are with Him right now and we’ll see them again. In all of eternity, we are just passing through this life and it will soon be a simple blink of an eye. God promises us through His word that those who love Him will receive everlasting, life. In Revelation chapter 21 God says,

“God’s dwelling place is now among the people,
and he will dwell with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.” (NLT)

Later in Revelation, God provides us with an epilogue that states,

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me,
and I will give to each person according to what they have done.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End.” (NLT)

I hope and pray that God comforts those who have been affected by these sudden misfortunes. He welcomes those who are weary and burdened. As for me, my strength comes from The Lord and will guide me through with the help of the two extremely strong communities that I’m so blessed to be a part of. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and continue to express all the love you possibly can to the people around you.

Verse

Haley Raydo

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January 4, 2015

A Bright Yellow House

January 4, 2015 | By | 3 Comments

Hello friends

Well if you are involved or know anyone in the MNU community, you possibly will know of the recent tragedy that has left many people with heavy and burdened hearts.  One of MNU’s dearest went to be with Jesus a couple days ago.  When heartbreak, tragedy, and trials come our way a mix of emotions rise.  There is confusion.  There is hurt.  There is anger.  There is shock.  All of which are logical and acceptable emotions.  In the past I haven’t always thought that my grieving mix of emotions were acceptable to God.  But that is simply not the case.  Scripture says that God is near the broken-hearted.  He is saddened with us.  Remember He once lived as us, and in the lowest of circumstances.

I was driving home from Oklahoma a couple days ago reflecting on the news of the recent passing.  My heart ached for my dear friends who are broken.  I looked out into the empty fields.  Gray sky stretched across the horizon.  The dead of winter made evident throughout the landscape.  Nothing seemingly “pretty” or “happy-looking” appeared in sight.  Until I saw this bright yellow house.  I thought it was kind of interesting, so I pulled over and took a picture.  I mean this bright yellow and cheerful, little house in the middle of no where, surrounded in a storm, in the dead of winter, just sat there.  It seemed resilient. And almost out of place.

That little yellow house would not escape my mind.  I reflected on it as I drove home and I felt the Lord made an impression.  That this house was joy, it was light, it was His people.  In the midst of a storm, in the midst of all things dead, His joy, His light, and His people were set apart.  They were bright yellow houses in the dead of winter.  That as trials come “the house” will not fall.  His people will find joy in his presence (Psalm 16:11), they will find his light, and they will be that light.  So as people drive and pass that little yellow house in the storm, they will be drawn to it.  Because it contains the joy of the Lord, it contains (even in the midst of tragedy and sorrow) perseverance, and it contains overwhelming comfort.

So maybe you are heavy burdened today.  Broken hearted.  I say to you: it is ok. It is more than ok to feel how you may feel.  The Lord draws near to that.  I can’t tell you anything new that you haven’t already heard, but I think the Lord says to you today to strive for comfort and safety in that little yellow house.  In the comfort and safety of our Savior’s arms there will you shine in the midst of the darkness, and there you will find joy.

I didn’t know Quincy as well as I wish I would have. Reading through endless amount of posts of the lives she had touched truly showed a legacy that is inspiring to all.  I urge us all to pray.  Pray for her dear and close family, for her roommates and friends, and for all those who grieve today.  A wise mentor of mine told me once that God moves when we pray because that way we know that it is Him that moves and works, so He receives glory.

Haley

Haley Raydo

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December 1, 2014

Diary of a College Student

December 1, 2014 | By | No Comments

I am a college student, and for that I am thankful.  But it is also a very stressful time.  I mean, I don’t remember a time where I was at a family gathering and wasn’t asked about school or my future career.  When asked about my major, I find an almost whisper and respond, “psychology.”  That single worded response elicits so many questions.  “What do you want to do with that?” “Do you know you have to go to graduate school to be a counselor?” I shake my head quietly every time-o  But secretly I am thinking “do you know how many times I have heard that?!”

Man… there are times I want to give up.  I am thinking about it right now as I type.  What would it be like, if I left? Found some job… maybe work in a church?  That is my dream.  I definitely would not have to worry about taking finals next week.  Cross an item off my worry list… I wonder what it would be like to have my own place… I would get a dog. Definitely.  Is this the stress that is talking? Probably.

I really do love college.  The people I have met will forever change my life. The things I have learned will forever change my narrow-minded perspective.  The stories I have will be forever told to my children, who with no doubt, will be sick of them by the tenth time around.  The relationship with Christ I have built, without a question, will last longer than “forever” but literally eternity.  That is something I treasure most about being a college student, particularly at a Christian school.  I have asked more questions, I have contemplated more ideas–that I am not sure I knew existed–, and I have stepped out into more boldness than ever in my life.  It’s a jumpstart.  It’s a jumpstart to my adult life.  My adult life that still has a considerable amount of time; I am just now reaching it.

This time in college, is stressful.  It is hard.  It is challenging.  Sometimes I wonder where I fit in.  Sometimes I wonder where God is.  I get homesick.  And I sure do not get enough sleep for what is good for me.  But it is a time where I have learned more than I could have ever imagined.   I am working on building a foundation for my life.  I am studying to be a better citizen, daughter, sister, future wife and mother, future career person and counselor, and a better daughter of Christ.  A better workman for His glory.  These stepping stones, are messy.  Life is messy.  It isn’t easy, but I am growing.  That is the ultimate goal, right?  To grow.  To grow in education and maturity, to grow into someone that has dreams and visions.  With an eternal perspective. Not set on the things this world offer, but what is really important.

So yes, I am not always in the best mood.  I fail daily.  I am not always the person I know God has created me to be. But I am learning.  Learning with open hands, with an open mind, with an open heart, and with open eyes.  To learn what Christ has already done and is going to do, and to be willing to follow it.  Maybe not everyone gets this same experience in college.  You definitely don’t have to have this experience in college. But this is where I am at.  This is where I am supposed to be.  I don’t think that way enough.  I will take in my learning and growing process.  It is messy.  It is scary.  And it is hard.  But it pays off. 

Thanks for listening

Haley

Luther Okeyo

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November 30, 2014

Thank You So Much!!

November 30, 2014 | By | No Comments

I know it’s a little late, but it’s been a weird week. I’m still getting over the fact that my football playing days are over. Well let me start over, we lost our playoff game last week to Southern Oregon University last week. It’s been an amazing season, and a wonderful career here at MNU. I have so many great memories that I can take with me for the rest of my life. I just want to thank some of the many people who were able to make all this possible for me.

First and foremost, I want to thank my family. Through thick and thin, they were right there to help me out. I wouldn't certainly be here without them. I love them all to death.

First and foremost, I want to thank my family. Through thick and thin, they were right there to help me out. I wouldn’t certainly be here without them. I love them all to death.

Coach John Diaz, for introducing MNU into my life, and helping me through the tough summer workouts, and making sure that I was always ready for whatever football threw at me.

Coach John Diaz, for introducing MNU into my life, and helping me through the tough summer workouts, and making sure that I was always ready for whatever football threw at me.

The former head football coach Jonathan Quinn for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to play football here at MNU.

The former head football coach Jonathan Quinn for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to play football here at MNU.

My freshman mentor, Kara Quinn. During my early years at MNU, Kara was there for me, when no one else could. She is getting married to this lucky guy, Chris Lindenmeyer. Fun fact: Chris was my RA my freshman year.

My freshman mentor, Kara Quinn. During my early years at MNU, Kara was there for me, when no one else could. She is getting married to this lucky guy, Chris Lindenmeyer. Fun fact: Chris was my RA my freshman year.

Last, but certainly not least, Coach Willmer. This man, has taught me so much in few months I've known him. He is more than just coach, he teaches you about life, about staying strong in your faith. I'm honored to have gotten to know him.

Last, but certainly not least, Coach Willmer. This man, has taught me so much in few months I’ve known him. He is more than just a coach, he teaches you about life, about staying strong in your faith. I’m honored to have gotten to know him.

I mean I could spend all day thanking countless people for all they have to help me get where I am today. I’m just grateful I got to do something that only 1% of all americans get to do. I was able to play college football. Now I get to follow my mom’s footsteps and become a college graduate. I just want to thank everyone who had a part in shaping me to become the man I am today. I want to thank MNU for providing a platform, most of all thank you God for guiding through this huge part of my life.

Now I just have to get used to just being a regular student now.

 

Haley Raydo

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November 24, 2014

Values: A Challenge for Thanksgiving Break

November 24, 2014 | By | No Comments

Hello friends

Today I was inspired to write a quick note about a sermon I heard yesterday in church. David Perkins came in and guest spoke for my church’s (Cross Points Church) missions month. This particular sermon really had me thinking and evaluating, so I thought I would share!

“Worship is a response to something we value most.”

This was a HUGE statement for me.  I value a lot of things.  I love my sports teams, I love my family and friends, I love Netflix (you can see my post from two weeks ago to fully understand), I love to read and write, I love to play the piano, and so much more! What happens when we value something?  We spend our time there, we spend our money there, we focus our thoughts there, etc.  Those things that I value aren’t bad things, however they sometimes get in the way of what I should value MOST.  I don’t want to worship materialism, or even my family! But if I put them at my highest value point, as I so often do, I am indeed worshipping something that is not intended to be worshiped.

If I spent as much time learning about and building a relationship with the Lord than I do watching The Office, or if I spent as much money (or some financial contribution) as much as I do to attend a Chiefs or Royals game, what would happen?  What would it look like?

I think the Lord has called us out to step above and beyond what we on a regular base give him.  I challenge you (and myself), as we go on break, spend time with Him.  If you normally spend 15 minutes a day, start there and slowly increase the time daily.  Next take the challenge to give money, if you are a student I understand the sacrifice… but I think that is why it is of so much value… it is a sacrifice.  Give money to your church, find a ministry or charity you believe God has given you a passion for, or (since this month is missions month at our church) help raise money for missionaries around the world.

It may seem challenging at first, but I think this will slowly change my priorities of what I value most.  When you find something with that high a priority of value, it becomes the standard and measure that everything else must be compared to.  That is the life I want to live! Take the challenge with me this Thanksgiving break!

Also this picture is from a worship night by Bethel Music.  How cool would it have been to be there??!!

Thanks for stopping by

Haley

Aaron Merrell

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November 1, 2014

Future Fears

November 1, 2014 | By | No Comments

Trusting everyone has had a fantastic week, and I hoping you’re all enjoying your weekend.  My weekend consists of hanging with friends for Halloween, spending some time at home, and performing with MNU Choirs tomorrow at 3:30!

This week, my brother gave me a great topic to think about: the future.

The future used to terrify me more than anything.  I used to think about my college plans, then about real life and grad school, and it would all get me terribly stressed out. Picking a school, picking a major, and from there a career, and where I wanted to go with that career eventually, and then about starting a family are unavoidable topics and they are every important to think about.  Though it is imperative that we remember to discuss these topics, we also need to remember that what’s going on currently in our lives is also a priority.

In order to train myself not to panic about the future, who would leave my life and who would enter, I had to stop placing so much urgency on those decisions.  Like I said, we need to make the decisions, but we won’t make the right choice unless we slow down and consider everything separately.  After we have considered this, we can think about the future and what the decision is going to mean for our future lives and families.

The future has become an exciting place for me rather than a scary one.  Just by calming down and taking a step back once in a while, I have realized how excited I am to graduate and start working, wherever I happen to move, whatever I happen to do, and whoever I happen to be with.  I know that if I put my faith and trust in Him, I will make the right decisions and follow his will, as I constantly work to make his will my will.

 

It’s all a process, but it’s not too much of a difficult one. Just continue to pray about choices, the future and ask God to make his plan clear to you!  You can find so much truth and evidence of His faithfulness to your present, which was once your future. just by studying his word, something that takes nearly no time to do every day.

 

Praying everyone has a blessed rest of your weekend and next week!

See you soon!

-Aaron.

Katie Linsey

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October 16, 2014

Metamorphosis

October 16, 2014 | By | 3 Comments

I’m a firm believer that God uses His creation to speak to us and teach us. My favorite thing to do is go out in nature and spend time in His presence. My heart always expects Him to show up, and He always does.

A few weeks ago, God used the idea of metamorphosis to remind me that I have been transformed. When I gave myself to Christ, I gained a new identity.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (ESV)

I was walking back from dinner one night with some friends and found a huge green caterpillar crossing the sidewalk. Long story short, it ended up in my dorm room inside a Starbucks cup. The next morning, I woke up to find it inside its cocoon.

That day in my Environmental Biology class, we spent the entire period catching and tagging Monarch butterflies. I couldn’t stop thinking about my caterpillar and how it was going to completely transform into a butterfly (or a moth) in a few weeks.

“How is that even possible? How does a caterpillar make itself a cocoon, live in it for weeks, and then come out with wings and fly away?”

There were so many questions running through my mind, and as I would stare at my caterpillar’s cocoon in my room, I couldn’t help but think that this is a metaphor for our lives.

The moment that I fully surrendered myself to Christ and decided I wasn’t going to live for myself anymore was the day that I was completely transformed. Sure, I looked the same on the outside, but not on the inside. The way I lived my life from then on was completely different… and still is.

My priorities changed. My friends changed. My schedule changed. My desires changed. My passions changed. Everything changed.

As I look at the cocoon in my room and then walk outside to see Monarchs flying around campus, I am filled with joy knowing that Christ has the power to transform us into new and beautiful creations. It doesn’t matter where you came from or where you are now. God has the power to transform anyone.

A lot of people think my fascination with nature is weird. I could watch bugs crawl around for hours. I love collecting leaves because I think they’re so cool. I enjoy laying down in the grass, not even caring about how many bug bites I’ll get. I’m not really scared of bees because I think they’re pretty. When I find something in nature that I’ve never seen before, I will most likely try to find out what it is… and it’ll bother me if I don’t. I think nature is an adventure.

I love nature so much because it’s the rawest form of God’s creation. I have come to know and understand Him more deeply by spending time in His work of art. He creates and cares for the smallest, seemingly insignificant aspects of this earth. I think that’s awe-inspiring.

My challenge to you this week is to set aside time to be in nature and let your mind wander. Talk to God and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Bring a journal and doodle or write about what you experience. Bring your Bible and read your favorite Bible verse. Enjoy the moment.

I hope you’ll set aside time to do this, and if you do, I want to hear about it! Feel free to leave a comment sharing about your experience. I promise you won’t regret it!

-KT

My caterpillar crawling on my homework. He’s so cute!

Metamorphosis 3

My caterpillar’s home. (He made his cocoon before we could transfer him to an actual bug cage.)

Haley Raydo

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October 12, 2014

Advice Session 4: Take Your Walk to the Next Level

October 12, 2014 | By | No Comments

Hello friends!

Now if you know anything about me you will know that I love to give advice.  I mean LOVE it.  That is in fact what I am studying to be (I am majoring in psych because I want to be a counselor).  I am really passionate about seeing people come into their own potential in what God wants to do in their lives.

So if you have read any of my blogs last year I did a few Advice Sessions so I thought why not? (shoulder shrug).

I wanted to give you a few things that have really helped me grow in my faith.  Obviously there are reading your Bible, praying, going to church– the basics– but these are the things that have helped me grow beyond the mediocre and what I would advise any one of my friends.  So here are a couple:

1.  Taking time out of my day to sit and be quiet.  I have so much noise in my life– talking and listening, classes and studying, working and interacting, music and my slight obsession with Grey’s Anatomy (don’t watch it if you want to be or continue to be a diligent student). Even when I am praying I am quick to talk and not listen and be quiet.  I think we miss out on God sometimes because we are not quiet enough or slowed down enough to wait and listen.

2.  Join a small group! Seriously they are great! I was in one my freshman year here at MNU and again this semester.  They have helped me grow so much in the last couple years.  From being able to being accountable and being consistent, to building community and fellowship–they are all important.  ALSO MNU has several great ones! Gert involved in that community aspect of this school!

3.  Surrounding myself with people who encourage me and bring positive and godly life!  Don’t underestimate the power of some godly friends.  Through any situation they are there and they are great.

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4.  Walk out in the gifts God has given you.  I think so often I am quick to pass up on opportunities, or I think God won’t use me.  Or I think I am only limited to a particular gift God has given– but then I put God in a box.. By praying and figuring out my gifts I have been given, and working on letting them develop by using them– I have grown so much more! Don’t just sit around asking God to fill you when He has already given you gifts and wants you to step out and use them to serve one another.

This is a piece of song I am working on (This is me trying to step out in the gifts God has given me) and it has to do with point of in not forgetting your first love.

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5.  Finally the lesson I am learning this year– if you do all these things: join small groups, surround yourself with good influences, walk out in service and gifts that challenge you and take you to the next level– but forget the very reason you will lose it.  Don’t forget your first love

This is just some practical advice from my own experience that has helped me take my walk to the next level.  Hope it helps you too!

Thanks for stopping by!

Haley

Luther Okeyo

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October 11, 2014

Once In a Lifetime Opportunity

October 11, 2014 | By | No Comments

Every now and then you get to do something extraordinary. Today I, along with the rest of the MNU football team have the privileged to play in the first annual NAIA Gridiron Challenge at Arrowhead Stadium. (YES! BABY, WHERE THE CHIEFS PLAY!!!) It’s also the first “Defeat all Cancer Game.” It was inspired by our offensive coordinator, Bruce Pielstick.

Bruce Pielstick, whose wife of 27 years succumbed to bladder cancer just seven months ago, came up with the idea to designate the upcoming game "Defeat All Cancer."

Coach Pielstick, lost his wife of 27 years to bladder cancer earlier this year. He was the one who came up with the idea to designate the upcoming game “Defeat All Cancer.”

This is a chance to not only play football, but it is a chance to affect people’s lives. There is an article on this game:MNU’s Arrowhead game declared ‘Defeat All Cancer’ game. Every player on the MNU football team who will be on the field today will be representing someone who has been affected or is still affected by cancer. We are going to be wearing colors the represent each cancer. Today I’m going to represent my aunt Taby Mutuku.

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This my aunt Tabi, and one of her sons (everybody calls him Jo Jo). She was diagnosed with Breast Cancer earlier this year. Luckily they caught it early enough and she had the surgery to remove the cancer last month. It’s amazing to see how strong she is and no matter what happened during this ordeal, she remained faithful and she better care of me than I did of her and I wasn’t the one who had cancer. Her courage was so amazing and through the grace of God, she was able to be healed and now she’s fully steam ahead.

As you can see from the video above, this is so much more than a game. It our chance to change lives, to show people that they are not in this struggle alone. That there are people who are praying for them, people who have been in through their struggles and through us, their fight with cancer has reached a whole new level.

As for the game itself, it still hasn’t hit me that we get to play at Arrowhead Stadium yet.

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The hallowed field of Arrowhead Stadium, there is so much history in this stadium from Super Bowl V and the star QB Len Dawson, the sack master Derrick Thomas, and to the Mr. Everything Jamal Charles. They all have added so much to this field, and today I get to make my little mark on this field as well.

Today we are going to the NFL player experience. We are technically the home team, so we get to dress up in the chiefs locker room. We get basically full access to the whole stadium. We go in through the players entrance, and the Seniors get introduced before the game. Also we are playing our rival Missouri Valley, They are the #7 team in the nation right now, and everyone is counting us out of this game. Hey, it’s a rivalry game and you never know what could happen in a rivalry game. We are going to shock the world today, all while changing people’s lives in the process. I still can’t believe all this happening but it’s going to be an amazing experience.