Today was the final, final deadline for outreach fees, and we saw about $15,000 come in this morning! One girl still has to get about $300, but other than that we're all paid up. It was nerve-wracking sitting in class watching the totals on the board change. This was a bittersweet day. We cleaned the classroom (and had an MJ dance party!) and dance studio that we've practically been living in for three months. Tonight was our "love feast" formalish Korean food dinner with dancing and cheesecake.
It's been a week of goodbyes as other teams and roommates leave. After the love feast we said goodbye to two students (we've now lost a total of five people.) who aren't coming on outreach as well as four staff and their kids. And another staff couple who are waiting on Visas and will hopefully join us in Korea.
It's hard to believe there's just one day left. Tomorrow and Wednesday morning will be spent packing, putting my extra stuff in storage, cleaning my room, doing laundry, and getting all those random last minute tasks done. I spent most of yesterday packing and figuring out what I'm getting rid of, what I'm storing, and what's actually going in my one medium-less-than-50-pounds suitcase. I'm not really good at packing light---let me rephrase---I suck at packing light, so I weighed my suitcase, before I even had everything in it, and it was way overweight! A big thank-you to my Mom who's always a phone call away, and not only figured out how to eliminate 10lbs of junk from my bag, but talked me through almost every shopping trip I made while I was here!
We got "prayed off" by Loren and Darlene Cunningham this morning. When they had all the teams going to Asia raise their hands it kind of hit me. We're really going to ASIA! To another continent, a two totally different cultures, thousands of miles away and we're leaving in less than two days! I'm so excited to go, for all the things Jesus will do through us, all the people we'll touch, through our show and otherwise. We found out a few days ago that we'll actually be spending 10 days at a disaster area church in Japan. We'll perform, cook meals for them and do whatever else we can.
I apologize for my lack of blogging in the last few weeks, obviously, I've been really busy, but I want it all documented, for myself if no one else, so eventually I'll write it up. (Maybe on the 8-hour plane ride!) I'll just end this post with a quick summary of what I've learned in my 12 weeks of lecture.
Looking back I feel like the rest of my life, or at least the next phase, kind of boils down to four things:
Jesus. Family. Leadership. Arts.
Jesus-letting him love me and figuring out how to love him back. Getting to know him better and better and figuring out our relationship. I've definitely learned that the way I relate to and learn about Jesus isn't exactly the same as anyone else's and that's good. Sometimes my best times with him are when I'm hanging out with lots of people, sometimes it's when I perform a dance, sometimes I'm laying in bed, sometimes it's while discussing a movie, sometimes it's during worship, sometimes it's when I'm doing my laundry. It's usually not when I'm sitting quietly outside with my Bible or shouting and shaking and jumping up and down and declaring things about him. But it's okay, because it's a unique friendship and it doesn't have to be the same as someone else's.
Family-I really feel like family is the key to most of the world's problems. When I look at all the lectures, I learned something about this pretty much every week. One week one of our speakers left early to be with his family, so he only spoke to us for one day. He summed it up by saying something to this effect: "If everyone doesn't have sex outside of marriage, and raises their kids right, it eliminates most of the world's problems: AIDS, foster care, divorce..." Getting away from the world I grew up in where most people were homeschooled and came from pretty stable and loving families, I didn't realize how spoiled I was to have such a great family. God has really softened my heart and I've discovered all these mothering qualities I never knew I had. People mention to me how they love that I love my family so much, and how I'll be a great wife and mother. All I can say is I hope I do as well as my parents have. But I also have a heart for helping other families. My heart just breaks for people who aren't loved in their families. We watched a documentary about sex trafficking in America this week (http://sexandmoneyfilm.com/) and it was sad, but it didn't really hit me until after we finished and were having prayer time. I just felt like most of the girl's who ended up as prostitutes were looking for strong male figures, or running away from messed up families, and the men selling and buying them were the same. During that prayer time I cried like I've probably never cried in my life. I think it's really appropriate that our show is about the prodigal son, totally a story of family, and even when we've prayed for things to specifically reach in Japan and Korea, family is what keeps coming to my mind.
Leadership-For one thing, I've definitely decided I don't like being under authority in some ways. It's something I'm working on, but I know that I'm designed to lead. This week Maria invited about 15 of us to be members in her arts company Heartbridge (Which is a super cool opportunity, and could include things like staffing a performing arts/film DTS in Amsterdam and going to the London Olympics. Pray for me!) because she sees as leaders she wants to rise up to do the work of Jesus in the arts. Also, due to some of the people leaving, our small groups have been shuffled around and I'm now a student leader. Yay!
Arts- Performing Arts is the main way I feel I'm called to share Jesus. It's what I love doing; it's what I'm good at, I think I bring some great things to the table. I just feel right when I'm on stage or even when I walk into a theatre, read a script, wear a costume, design something. As someone who's artistic but also really organized, I think I can be really helpful as a developer, producer, director, administrative person within arts.
All that being said, I have a lot of serious praying and thinking to do about my next steps. I'm going home through at least Christmas and doing Adventures in Narnia again. (I'm really excited to have gotten the two parts I've always wanted!) I'm looking at the performing arts degree program here, which is two years, one focused on Bible study and the other on worldview. I'm also looking at the film or acting schools. Doing Heartbridge, (which is a two year commitment) for Amsterdam/the Olympics or sometime in the future or doing something at some other YWAM. Or doing more things at home. I have a lot of ideas of ways the Christian arts companies in the area could join forces. And some ideas for family and arts. I definitely want to travel a lot. I'm so spoiled by all the different cultures here. And of course God could have some totally different ideas!
Side note: you may notice my grammar and English seem to be getting worse. Probably because I spend so much time with people who speak broken English. I’m told by the end of outreach it will be worse. I’m writing these blogs from the heart and quickly, and I’m not taking time to proofread. Or I’m just being lazy. So please ignore my lack of punctuation, fragmented sentences and extra apostrophes! Or just pray for my grammar to be restored! Haha. :)
Please keep us all in your prayers as we travel on Wednesday. Our first flight leaves at 4:30 PM Hawaii time. (7:30 at home.) And pray for all the poor flight attendants and other passengers that have to be on a plane with 50 performing artists for 8 hours!