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Point Loma Nazarene University Reflection

0 In Daily Life/ Point Loma Nazarene University/ Point Loma Nazarene University Reflection

I Graduated

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I knew it was coming. We all knew it was coming. Mel spent months randomly bursting out in tears over it. It was inevitable. Graduation would be on May 7th, 2016 at 4 P.M. in the Greek Amphitheatre, and there was nothing we could do to change it or stall it from happening.

It was a day that flew by in the blink of an eye. Most of the morning was spent being overly excited and having multiple ‘We’re graduating today!!!’ moments. Then the day became even more real when we put on our caps and gowns and met up with friends who had already received their diploma. Now it was my turn: to line up in alphabetical order, march down the steps into the Greek, and sit as I wait to receive my diploma.

The moment was an exciting blur. I remember my dad running down to give me more leis and then how complicated it was to get hooded when my hair and flowers were everywhere. Then I took a few steps, handed my name card to the lady reading out names, and time seemed to freeze for just a moment. I had forgotten about the hundreds of people standing in the crowds and could just barely remember how to walk. If ever I smiled from ear to ear it would have been in that moment.

Four years of college built up to this day. Four years of finishing my projects the night before it was due, four years of staying up late laughing with friends when we should have been asleep, four years of having the most indescribable ocean view. I always knew that the day would come where I would trade in my status as a college student for a diploma, but what no one warned me about was what would happen after graduation.

In the span of 24 hours you go from sharing an apartment with your closest friends to saying goodbye and not knowing the next time you’ll ever be in the same place at the same time. And even if I were to stay in San Diego longer it would never be the same. There would never be the same people or the same experiences. So I’m stuck in this place of missing Loma and wanting to be back but knowing that even if I was back it wouldn’t feel quite right. There will be moments where I am so incredibly proud of my accomplishments, but there will also be moments where I can’t fathom what it means to not be at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Mel described it perfectly. It’s like sadness is touching all of our core memories. The thought that I’ll never get to watch the sun set and hide below the ocean’s horizon from the balcony of 45 E. The thought that my wonderful chi dev ladies and I will never again get to goof off in one of our classes. The thought that I’ll never be in a community of people who seek to live like Christ and having the opportunity to worship alongside them. The thought of not knowing the next time I’ll get to see Clara or Sarah or Jasmine or Emma or Ruth or Becca or Caleb or Mel or any of the individuals who have made my four years in college so incredibly wonderful. These are the thoughts that have been breaking my heart lately. They’re the sad reminders I’m trying to navigate through as I transition into a new season of life.

But it’s going to be ok, and I’m going to be ok. At the end of Inside Out all the emotions realize that in order for Riley to feel better she has to experience sadness. There are going to be more feelings of missing Loma, but there are so many more delightful memories that I’m going to hold onto. I may never get to do this or that again, but I’m infinitely grateful for all the things I have done while at PLNU.

So even as I struggle to accept this new season of life, I’m reminded that God is always faithful. He has been faithful in the past and there is no reason He’s going to stop now. He was there for me when I left home and started college in San Diego, and He’ll be there for me as I leave home again and start a new season of life in Hawaii. It is going to be scary and difficult and sad, but God is pulling me into a beautiful new adventure.

2 In Daily Life/ Point Loma Nazarene University/ Point Loma Nazarene University Reflection/ To Jesus

Step Out In Faith

Recently I did something that completely terrifies me. It’s something I wouldn’t normally do, and it’s definitely something no one ever expected me to do. I ran for the Director of Spiritual Life position.

The Director of Spiritual Life holds an influential role on our campus. It’s a person who leads students closer to Christ through coordination and organization of Wednesday night chapel services. It’s a person who sets an example of what it means to live Christ-like. I wanted to be that person. I wanted to be intentional and work on forming spiritual life on this campus.

But I didn’t get it- I didn’t win. And it hurt. But it was kind of like stubbing your toe on a piece of furniture. At first it’s this frustrating pain of knowing you could have done something differently to avoid getting hurt, but then the pain goes away and everything is ok. I didn’t win, and I was ok with that.

For weeks I stepped out in faith. I trusted in God no matter how scared or doubtful or nervous I was. I trusted in Him when I had to sign the declaration papers, and I trusted in Him when I spoke in front of hundreds of my peers. I said yes to God even though inside I was so, so scared. I accepted my calling and followed God however far it was that He wanted to take me.

So yes I didn’t win, but at the end of it all, I did win. I won the love and support that I never saw coming. Friends texted me with words of encouragement, people responded positively to my campaign, and strangers voted for me. I won an experience I will never forget. Most importantly, I know that God is looking down at me smiling. There is not a doubt in my mind that He is proud of me.

0 In Daily Life/ LoveWorks/ Point Loma Nazarene University Reflection/ To Jesus/ Uncategorized

DR Congo Day 14

BaptismAugust 7

I was baptized.

As a kid my parents baptized me, but it was precisely that. I was too young to remember it and too young to decide for myself. But that doesn’t make it any less significant. I’m so appreciative to have been raised in the church and for having Christian parents. But this baptism was all my choice.

I didn’t come to Africa with the intention of getting baptized, but it has been on my heart a ton lately. I wanted to publically declare my love for Christ and my willingness to follow Him for the rest of my life. Getting to stand in the water surrounded by all of my team members as I was getting ready to be baptized was an unreal experience. I was being baptized in Africa and my heart leapt for joy.

Before I entered the water, Rachel commented that we won’t say “I Wills” and “I Dos” again until we get married. How crazy is that! The commitment we make to Christ is equally as significant as the commitment we make to our spouse. I stated my belief in Christ and vowed to follow Him for the rest of my life.

For some people baptism starts a complete shift in lifestyle. For me I’ve personally been following Christ to my utmost ability for the past few years. Baptism isn’t my pivotal life change where I stop doing the things I did before, but it was my public declaration of being a believer in Christ.

So why did I do it? Why did I decide to get baptized though I was already baptized as a kid? Why did I get baptized though I’ve already been faithfully following Christ? One of my biggest struggles as a Christian is sharing my faith with nonbelievers- especially my friends who aren’t Christian. All summer I’ve had the opportunity to be surrounded by other Christians. With them I feel comfortable praying before I eat or talking about the Bible. Being re-baptized was my decision to publically say to all those who know me that I am a Christian, and I am not ashamed to state my willingness to follow Christ. I know it’s not going to magically get easier when I’m surrounded by my non- Christian friends, but maybe now I’ll be more confident in expressing my faith.

This baptism was all about and for me. It was my decision to do it here and now. It was my declaration follow Christ all the days of my life. And now I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me next.

0 In Daily Life/ Point Loma Nazarene University Reflection/ Ramble/ Uncategorized

Thank You Hawaii.

Thank You Hawaii

My heart is torn. Tears flooded my eyes as I took my seat on the plane. It breaks my heart to say goodbye. Goodbye to the amazing brothers and sisters of Christ that I have met. Goodbye to a community so beautiful physically and within their hearts. Goodbye to children who have taught me so much about Christ’s love.  Goodbye to an experience that I will never forget.

Summer in Hawaii exceeded even my highest expectations. Ten weeks flew by faster than anyone wanted it to, but not a minute went by that I wasted or took for granted. I went on adventures, I built relationships, and I grew in my faith in such a short amount of time.

In such a short time, I made friends who I loved and cared for so much that I didn’t put up my walls. I allowed myself to be completely transparent with them, and in return I have 8 new friends who lead me closer to Christ. 8 friends and a Papa who have made my summer incredible through super fun days, waking up before the sun, and watching movies galore. No matter where in the world we are, it will always be the HI 9.

In such a short time, I acquired a slave, a teenage girl who I trusted with my secrets. She never ceased to capture my most embarrassing moments and share my issues with the world. Though she teased me and never invited me to her parties, I cherished our friendship so deeply. If I could, I would have taken her with me. She kept wishing I would miss my flight, and because of her, I did too.

In such a short time, I learned about ministry from a woman who loves and trusts God will all of her heart. I saw what she did and how she did it, and I always thought to myself ‘how do I become as wonderful as she is.’ One day I hope to be just like her. I hope to have her endless energy and passion for kids. I hope to lead kids to Christ the way she does each and every day without fail. She has influenced me, she has taught me, and she has brought me so much closer to what God has called me to do.

Windward Church of the Nazarene holds a place in my heart so sacred and so special that nothing else will come close to or replace it. There I was able to serve and figure out what God wants me to do with my life. Thank you Windward for the opportunity to be an intern at a church where I felt the Holy Spirit working in me. Thank you Windward for allowing me to share my story as an encouragement to teens. Thank you Windward for teaching me that ministry isn’t just on Sundays, but at any given opportunity. Thank you Windward, because I know this isn’t the end.

Though I leave, I know I’ll be back soon. I will always pray and trust that God has the best plan for my life, but I’ll be crossing my fingers until the day He calls me back to Hawaii.

0 In Daily Life/ Point Loma Nazarene University Reflection/ Ramble/ Uncategorized

Thank You Barcelona.

Thank you Barcelona.

I’ve grown to learn that saying goodbye is the hardest thing you can do. Today I said goodbye to an amazing friend and world traveling partner, goodbye to a wonderful city where my many adventures were played out, and goodbye to one of the best chapter’s of my life. But I don’t want to say goodbye, I want to say see you soon. So although I’m leaving and may never have the chance again to return, it’s not goodbye. Barcelona I will see you soon, maybe not as soon as I would like, but I will definitely be seeing you again because you were incredible.

A semester in Barcelona exceeded all my expectations. I traveled and learned that sometimes you will have to sacrifice comfort for a cheaper hostel, but in the end you don’t remember the place you stayed, but the city you had the opportunity to see. I made an incredible friend. A girl who not only acted like my mother by keeping me from starving or getting hit by cars, but also a girl who could read my mind and someone that shares all my traveling experiences. But most of all, I fell in love with a city. I fell in love with Barcelona’s culture and history and chocolate with churros. I made a new home. It was amazing, and I couldn’t have wished for better. There is not a single detail of my journey that I would change because every bit of it was good, and the bits that weren’t were learning lessons. It breaks my heart to leave, but it excites me so much to be reunited with family and old friends…

Bittersweet, extreme bittersweet, bittersweet the size of an elephant, that’s how I feel. I want to leave, and I want to stay, and I’m sitting in the airport and still can’t face the reality that I’ve come to the end of my trip.  It is heartbreaking and so very drastic to just pick up and leave. To have packed my bags and know that within 24 hours I’ll be in a different country, different city, with a whole different set of people. It’s mind blowing to say the least. But I’m going home, and that does make it all the much easier. I’m going home to a bed with my fluffy comforter, a home where I no longer have to rely on germ infested public transportation but the gas guzzler that is my car, and a home where my family is excited to greet me. Barcelona you are and will always hold a special place in my heart and adventure, but it’s time to go home. I’m ready to go home.

So as I shut the door for the final time to my dorm room, all I could think was thank you. Thank you Barcelona for being welcoming and enticing. Thank you for providing the perfect scenarios for an unforgettable four months. Thank you to my aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews whose support for any decision I make is unending and strong.  Thank you to my friends who make me feel part of the equation even if I’m thousands of miles away. Thank you for my sister for reminding me that though I’m traveling and living the coolest life possible, I can still be a brat and I need to learn how to manage my money better. Thank you to my dad whose heart broke as I stepped onto that plane, but let me go anyways. Thank you to my mom who literally accepts every decision I make because she wants to push me as an adult. But most of all, thank you Lord. None of this would be possible without God’s guidance in my life. For he knows the plans he has for me. Plans to help me prosper and not to harm me. Plans that give me a hope and a future. Hasta luego Barcelona!

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