I feel like so much has happened over the past few weeks and I haven’t had much time to “unpack” all of it (to use a ministry term) but I’d like to update you on what’s been going on. Why should you care? I don’t know, but I’m going to write it anyways.
Two weekends ago I participated in a trip called Sankofa through my school. “Sankofa” means “looking back to move forward”. North Park sets up yearly Sankofa trips where students travel around the country on a bus for a weekend and try to racially reconcile with one another. Every non-African-American student was paired up with an African-American student to be partners for the weekend. I’m not going to get into all the ins-and-outs of racial reconciliation (you can google it) but it was a powerful trip. We left at 8:30 on a Thursday night and returned late on Sunday and spent the entire weekend on a coach bus, minus one short night at a hotel. We traveled to Louisiana, Jackson Miss, Memphis, and Cincinnati. I visited a plantation, the John Perkins center, the National Civil Rights museum, the Stax museum, and the National Freedom Center. I explored Memphis, ate soul food three times (YUM!) and learned how to sleep well on a bus. I became good friends with my partner Ashley and saw racism happen against some of my friends while on the trip. We watched movies dealing with racial issues on the bus and spent hours in whole-bus discussions talking about issues… it was an amazing trip. I decided to go on Sankofa because I was beginning to believe that I had finished the process of racial reconciliation. This trip was less about racial reconciliation and more about just making new friends for me, but I still got a chance to examine myself and see all the ugly places were I still judge, where I still let fear infiltrate my relationships, and where I seek safety (which so often can be found by spending time with people who are like you in some way or another). This trip taught me that loving others unconditionally and without judging will be a lifelong battle with myself- but that realization makes it a little bit easier.
After I got back from Sankofa I didn’t feel too well and my asthma was acting up. After spending a few nights sleeping sitting-half-up on the couch and coughing up my lungs in a few classes I decided to go to the doctor. Turns out I had bronchitis, which doesn’t complement asthma well. Four prescription meds and a week later and I’m feeling almost as good as new.
A little while ago our laptop broke and we decided get a new one. We wanted to get an apple because our Dell had had so many issues and we wanted a laptop that would last us for the next few years. So we searched Craig’s list and found a barely-used iBook for half the retail value and bought it! In order to afford the new laptop we decided to sell our old one on e-bay and…
I volunteered to be a Polling Place Administrator for Chicago’s city elections. I made $500 being the “tech geek” for a local polling place. I had to train for 6 hours at UIC and work from 5am to 8pm on election day, but I made enough money to get the laptop! The elections were this past Tuesday, and I got to say minus a few long days at college library while at Wisconsin, this was probably one of the most boring days of my life. There were no technical problems the entire day to I basically worked from 5am to 5:30am setting the equipment up and worked from 7pm to 8pm taking it down. The rest of the day I sat at a desk. I couldn’t leave. There was no TV, computer, or internet. No one to talk to… so I read an entire book by 2:30 and half of another one by the end of the day. Luckily I made it through the boring day with the motivation of my new laptop.
Also on this past Tuesday I found out I got got into Fuller Theological Seminary out in Pasadena CA. I’m both excited and tired by this news. I am super excited on one hand- I have dreamed of going to Fuller and now I know that they want me. I got into grad school! On the other hand this means I need to continue the tired and stressful process of figuring out if we are actually going to go this next Spring. It’s been a stressful (yet hopeful) topic this entire year for Mike and I. I want to go so badly, but I also want to do what is right for Mike and I and I don’t know if this is right right now. So we’ll see!
Finally, I spent Wednesday through today at Willow Creek’s student ministries conference “Shift“. I went with Paul, the youth minister I am interning under. This was my first big ministry conference and I really enjoyed it. I heard a lot of good speakers and it was great to take of school for a few days (ironically from all youth ministry classes) and just sit back and learn (without all the reading, papers, and notetaking). I have to say that far and away my favorite speakers were Scot McKnight and Efrem Smith. Wow.
Finally, tonight I am helping set-up for, and tomorrow I am attending, the Urban Reload Conference. (yes, another youth ministry conference). It should be pretty sweet.
So that rounds out my two weeks. Exciting stuff, huh? It sure is!