Wednesday, 9/30: Today, we had a lecture on time management and wow, it was good to have that refresher. Let’s listen to Benjamin Franklin’s wise words “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Put away distractions and go cross things off that to-do list! After the priorities are complete, do something productive/new/crazy/adventurous! Go for a run/hike, write a poem/song/letter, bake something yummy, knit a sweater, read a book, volunteer, get out in nature (& take some cool photos), learn a language, explore somewhere new (or even familiar). The possibilities are practically endless. You won’t regret spending time doing something like listed instead of scrolling through social networks.
Later in the day, Ella & I went to the Bible club at the nearby elementary school again. There were even more kids there than last week! It’s amazing to see God working in the lives of the children/families at that school!
Friday, 10/2: During the morning devotions time, it was my turn (along with Ella and Cliff) to share my testimony. Since I’ve told my testimony at camp the past 2 summers in front of the staff and to campers, it makes sharing it in front of a group much easier now. Regardless of how often I’ve done it or how I feel speaking in front of a group, sharing your testimony means making yourself vulnerable which is always nerve-racking and challenging. There are countless benefits to vulnerability, though, especially in a Christian community like the one I’m in at Tilsley. Vulnerability establishes trust, strengthens relationships, makes you relatable, humbles you, provides opportunity for introspection/reflection, gives others hope, can lead others to Christ, serves as a reminder that we are all sinners in need of a saviour in a world that idolizes perfection and humanity. So, be vulnerable (with wisdom and discernment, of course)! Your past, no matter how broken, could provide guidance and hope for others. Your present, no matter how mixed up & messed up, is a reminder to stay humble, rely on the Lord, and could create a closer friendship with someone who can relate.
Friday evening, Ella & I went to Elim Church to help lead a kid’s group. There was an adorable girl there with down syndrome who was so full of love and joy. It radiated from her and filled me with love and joy. From my experiences of working with people with special needs, I always learn and gain more from them than I could reciprocate to them.
Saturday, 10/3: Another Saturday, another day trip! A big group of us went to Clyde’s Falls, a hiking area with waterfalls not far from the college. It was definitely one of my favorite, if not my favorite day, that I’ve been here so far. It was so refreshing to hike, surrounded by the great outdoors, with great people. Hiking/spending time in nature always leaves me in awe of God’s beauty and creativity. How could such an incredible and beautiful earth come from anything other than an incredible and beautiful God? After reflecting on the wonderment of His creation, I am reminded to be in constant admiration (of Him).
Sunday, 10/4: A huge congratulations to the newly-weds Corey and Bethany Alfonso! I very much wish I could’ve been there to see the beautiful wedding! I hope that day was the best day of your lives. I hope and pray for you much joy, lots of love, and many blessings as you spend life united together, with Christ at the center.
This was the FirstServers last Sunday at Tilsley. Everyone at the church we’ve been attending, Roman Road, have been so welcoming and kind these past few weeks. Thank you! They were eager to wish us the best, keep us in their prayers, and stay updated on our adventures through getting our blog links. That was really encouraging and touching.
Tuesday, 10/6: Today, I met with an elder from Greenview Evangelical Church, the church I’ve been placed at for the next 2 months. This Saturday, I’ll sadly leave Tilsley and move in with a host family in Glasgow. As sad as it will be to leave Tilsley, I’m extremely excited for the next part of my gap year! The elder I met with outlined how I’ll be able to get involved at Greenview and I’m looking forward to all of it! I’ll explain what I’ll be doing in my next blogs as I experience it.
This week, I skyped with my aunt and uncle which was lovely. After expanding more on what I’ve already written in my blogs, when it came to the identity topic, my aunt expressed some concern and shared with me not to be obsessed over that topic and those questions. I nodded along and probably changed the subject, but what she said to me really stuck. It hasbeen on my mind too much and it’s led to selfishness and self-pity. The saying “let go and let God” was the answer to this conviction. After time with God and some journalling, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I do know who I am, both through what the Bible tells me (child of God- John 1:12; friend of Jesus- John 15:15; redeemed- Romans 3:24; set free- Romans 8:2; a new creation- 2 Cor. 5:17, the list goes on…), and through the interactions I have with the amazing people I’m surrounded by. I just need to let go of the ideal/my over thinking etc. and be still. Thankfully, through my aunts concern, I’ve done this. When I am just living (for God), I am being myself and have confidence through Christ. One of my favorite Bible passages also impacted me strongly during this time…
Job 11:13-19 –
“Yet if you devote your heart to him
and stretch out your hands to him,
if you put away the sin that is in your hand
and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
then, free of fault, you will lift up your face;
you will stand firm and without fear.
You will surely forget your trouble,
recalling it only as waters gone by.
Life will be brighter than noonday,
and darkness will become like morning.
You will be secure, because there is hope;
you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid,
and many will court your favor.
My mind feels so free (hence the blog post title) now that I’ve let go and let God, yay!
A random, impactful thing that happened while writing this blog post:
A song I sang in high school choir 2 years ago called ‘Baba Yetu’ popped into my head, so I found it on Spotify to listen to and sing along. I realized I had never looked up the language it’s written in/a translation of it. After doing this, I discovered that it’s the words of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) in Swahili! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baba_Yetu) Moments like this remind me of God’s constant presence and nearness. It’s a beautiful, captivating song, please give it a listen! (Baba Yetu – Peter Hollens on Spotify or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJiHDmyhE1A)
Thanks for reading!
Lots of love,