Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hi everyone! I know I have not posted in, like, forever, but now all that is about to change. I'm hoping to do a post at least once a week. They will probably show up on Mondays  so be on the lookout:) This post here is an essay that I wrote for my Daniel and Revelation class midterm. I hope you enjoy.                                


                      Daniel: chapter one.

In the book of Daniel, the first chapter, we discussed and learned many things of importance. To start off we talked of how the book of Daniel tied in to true education.  We discussed how there is a large difference between being schooled and having education. School is a place. A place where knowledge is conveniently placed before apt pupils and forced down the throats of dull ones. It is a place that seeks to prepare for later life the students that will have to go and live it. But is a head learning all that is required to give a well-balanced life? Or is it only focused on one part of the life ladder. The ladder that I have alluded to is the three runged ladder of education. Education has three main points. The physical, mental, and spiritual. In the physical plain it’s all about what feels good. School? Who needs that? Mcburgers? That sounds nice. It’s all about getting through life in the nicest way possible. They are the followers, the go with the flow people. Then there are the intellectual people. The ones on that second rung. School is all that they are about. They are the leaders. They sit and think and come away with answers instead of questions. And then there is the spiritual. The rung that combines the other to in the harmonious development. Without the other two it would be rather incongruous, like a super exclusive monk or something. Like I was saying. The place ‘school’ has focused mostly on the second and first rungs. A head knowledge. Something that will make leaders in the world. But we need leaders other than in the world. We need leaders in the church and ones who will take stands for Christ. That is what true education is about. Not just developing one of the three areas, but a harmonious development of all three. In this area of our lives we have so many things swirling around in our lives. So many things that could so easily bring us down from the heights that God means we attain to. True education provides stepping-stones to success in Christ.
    But true education can be kind of hard to find these days. Not many places offer it. But come to think of it, as long as you have a Bible you have true education. And most Christians have one, all though it’s getting shamefully less common that they read it. But when you do read it you will find true education, for the Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Deut. 4:6. Christ offers it without money and without price. Bringing Christ into the life will develop the mind in a most amazing way. And you will learn how better to use your physical capabilities for the glory and honor of the one who made you.
      In Babylon I don’t imagine that they had really and truly true education like we have at OH. Daniel and his friends got placed in the leading schools of the day where the Hebrew God was not acknowledged. But God himself was the teacher of Daniel and his three friends. They learned from Christ what really mattered in life. Yet without the other components of the three runged ladder, they would not have been of use where God needed them. Through His word and His servants He shed the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in their lives. They grew in knowledge and stature and favor with God daily because they allowed the Most High to be their first and best teacher.
      But, that’s all good and well only, if you know what to do with all the information I’ve laid out. I think it’s time for some practical application. First of I would say that we need to be a lot more grateful for the opportunity that God has given us to be truly educated. Here at OHA we have everything laid on the line for us and yet… well, we still just don’t seem to have it together. What was really sad was a few remarks I heard the other day. The young person said this. “When I was sent here I wanted to bring something that wasn’t allowed. I was told I couldn’t do that because every one at the school I was going to where Christians, they would obey the rules. Then I got here and I haven’t found one person who always obeys the rules.” HOW SAD! I am Christ witness to some one who has not yet given their life over to Christ and some how I have failed. We as a school have failed. Another comment “I know I should be eating but I’m not going to eat what I don’t like. Every one here hates the food” ok, maybe its not what we are used to, but complaining won’t help, and its standing in the way of one young persons journey. They are destroying themselves and using us as an excuse. I’m not proud of myself. I have such an amazing opportunity, and some how I’m not being the Daniel I always meant to be. Not standing up for my faith. Where have I fallen by the wayside? Another comment I hear. “My parents didn’t send my brother here because they love him. Basically I’m the unloved one so I got sent to the prison.” What kind of picture are we painting? What is our life testimony? Apparently it still has a long way to go yet. And I’m glad that God can make something beautiful from our mistakes. If we don’t use the God given teachers, then God himself must be our sole teacher until we are ready to let the earthly ones take their place again. God has a place for each one of us and It is my responsibility that I learn what that place is and how Christ wants to use me in it. If we think that this is captivity, then what was Daniel placed in? and yet is the book of Daniel full of complaints? Is he discontented and melancholy? No. He put his earlier training to good use and became a mighty man for God. Oh that we would be an army of mighty men, of mighty youth, ready to do God’s bidding at a moments notice and be always on the alert for how God would have us live, just as Daniel was.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Proverbs 14:26



(This is a speech that I had to write for English class a while back. I hope you enjoy it.)
I have a question for you. Have you ever struggled with fear? When you where younger it might have been fear of the dark, but as you got older it might have spiraled into a real fear complex. For me it started at age ten when a two year rejection started. It wasn't my fault that a couple of my friends decided to reject me, but I felt that it was and I became afraid. Afraid that no matter how hard I tried I might always be rejected. As I have watched people over the years I have noticed that many if not all of them have at one time or another struggled with fear. That is why today I will be speaking on the difference between fear and fear of the Lord and how we can change from the one to the other.
A little while ago I was faced with a frightening and challenging experience that deepened another part of my fear complex. My fear of the unknown. By this time I was just plain tired of my fear. I had lived in fear for the past 5-6 years of my life and I was ready to be rid of it. But I really didn't even know where to start so I called a trusted and godly family friend for advice. After I had explained the situation to her she told me this. “Kaitlin, these thoughts of doubt and fear you are having are not originating from you or from God. They are thoughts of the devil who is taking advantage of you in this way in order to take over your life. If you give him even the smallest little portion of your heart he will seize the rest by force. The only way to keep him out is to hand your life over the one who is the author of peace and trust and confidence. Keep your mind stayed on Him and He will direct your paths.” That made sense. But how could I get rid of this fear? How could anyone? It all seemed so impossible. I was slightly confused, so I started out on a search through the Bible and the spirit of prophesy. I will just share with you a few of the things that I have found.
Part of this new search routine I implemented was a nightly Bible reading. On the first night of the Bible reading I came across this verse. “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence and His children shall have a place of refuge.” proverbs 14:26. At that moment this verse became my motto. That was exactly what I needed. Strong confidence and a place of refuge. But If you will remember there was a certain stipulation to having the confidence and place of refuge. You had to fear the Lord and be His child. I was afraid, but what was the difference between my fear and the fear mentioned in this verse. I didn't even have a very clear idea of what the fear of the Lord might be. The answer only became clear as I was reading in the spirit of Prophesy one day. It isn't a cowardly fear that we have toward the Lord, but and entirely proper fear that regulates the christian experience. It is a fear that we will come short of the glory and majesty of God. It Is a fear born out of love. Just to illustrate this point, lets take a moment to imagine a young boy. This boy is sitting in a corner with a guilty look on his face. His fingers are sticky and one hand is hidden behind his back. The reason for these actions become apparent when we observe the stolen sweets in the hand behind his back and when we here the lads name being called by his father. The child knows he has done wrong. He loves his father and he is upset that he has disobeyed and will make his father upset. He also knows that his father loves him to much to let him get away with any wrongdoings. What would it mean if this boy hadn't disobeyed, but rather had walked in fear of his father? Well, it would mean that he would reverently obey his father in honor of His fathers wishes. Not because he was afraid but because he knew that his father loved him. Loved him enough to punish any disobedience. And the boy loves the father. So he walks as he knows his father would have him to. So, when we fear the Lord it is a fear that says, “I don't want to hurt you dad.” and also a fear that says, “I know that you love me so much that you wont let me get away with anything.”
But why would God want us to fear Him in the first place? Lets just take a moment to look at that. I think that this verse explains it best. “Oh, that there where such a heart in them that they would love me, and keep my commandments always that it might be well with them and with their children forever.”
Alright, so, not we know a.) A fear of God brings confidence and refuge b.) The fear of the Lord is a reverent obedience to His will, and c.) The Lord would have us fear Him so that He can bless us and future generations.
But now what? What is we know we need to fear god but we already have fear overtaking our lives?
Well, let me just say a little something about the habit loop. Their are three points to the habit loop. The cue, the action, and the reward. In the case, the cue would be something that comes up and arouses our fear complex, the action would be letting ourselves dwell on these thoughts and the reward is less then appealing. A big pity party. So all we have to do is get in there and change that middle step, what we do with that fear, and the rest should take care of itself. But how? Let me remind you of a Bible verse. It goes like this, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” We all know that David wrote this verse, but how could hiding Gods word in his heart keep him from sinning? It was because, as he filled his mind with things of God, the things of the devil began to be crowded out. Whenever he remembered a verse he was being reminded of what the Lord had done and what the Lord was willing to do in His life. It helped David, might not it help us? I mean, satan was the one who brought all these thoughts of fear in the first place, so it stands to reason that if we fill our minds with things of God and crowd the devil out, that the problem wouldn't be nearly as great and we would be much more able to deal with it. I think that one thing the devil particularly hates is someone who fills their mind with holy things. Why? Because it makes for particularly cramped quarters and the new tenants are not sympathetic to his way of doing things. Then He has to leave bag and baggage and go find a new home.
But why is refilling our mind so important? Let me bring your attention to a certain Bible story. Do you remember the parable of the man who had an unclean spirit in his home? He wasn't happy with the current state of things, so he sent the devil out and began house cleaning. Well, after a little while he decided that it was pretty good and he sat down for a rest. Meantime, the devil had been out house hunting. While he was thus occupied he came across seven more of his friends doing the same thing. They all wanted to see his old house that he thought so highly of, so they trooped of on a little side tour. When they got there they saw the beautiful empty house and the man asleep. Well, being very logical, they tiptoed in and set up camp before the man had a chance to wake up. When he did he was in a worse fix than he started out in. Lets transfer this story to our situation. Lets say that a few little thoughts of fear and doubt have taken up residence in your mind. You don't like them there so you send them away. Then you sit down all happy and self satisfied. You declare a little holiday from work in the Lords vineyard and prepare to take a spiritual nap. But while you are thus occupied those little thoughts go searching for a house. While they are out they come across more of the same and start telling them about how nice and comfortable that little house was. Well, all the rest convince the first that perhaps there is a little nook of that house still unoccupied that they could take possession of. When they arrive they find you spiritually asleep and you mind more empty then when they left, so they squeeze in and set up house keeping. Now we have a problem. But what if, when you kicked the naughty thoughts out, you had started praising the Lord and telling others what He had done for you. What if you memorized scripture and hymns. What if you prayed more than you texted? Why, then when those naughty thoughts came back, well, the house would be just to full and they would have to leave again.
But does this stuff really work? I mean we don't want to go to all the work to fill our minds and change our fear if its not really going to work and we will always be a slave to fear. Let me tell you something. After my first frightening experience, the Lord decided to test me and see how I would cope. Down the rode came another trial, straight toward me. It was a repeat of that rejection I was telling you about complete with an apparent refusal to forgive. At first I let this experience overcome me. I didn't understand what I had done and I just felt like crying. The devil was working super hard to reestablish his fearful doubting headquarters in my mind. I was rather slow to realize it, it took a couple of hours for the impact of what was happening to hit. But when I realized what was happening I decided to put my new plan into action. I started praising the Lord and reciting scripture. I chased all the fear and doubt away and kept my mind fixed on Christ. Praise the Lord, I was able to rise above the doubt and fear my mind was soon at peace. That situation has resolved itself, but it serves to illustrate what the Lord can do in a perviously fearful and doubting heart.
So my friends, I encourage you, what ever your fear may be, replace it with the fear of the Lord and the praises of His name, and you will find strong confidence and a place of refuge for you are His child.

Faithfulness
(these are just some random thoughts I had the other day. Not very poetic or anything, I know:)

what is faithfulness?
How would you describe it?
Is it like a rock, Solid and firm?
Or is it like the rain, refreshing from above?
Or maybe like the dew, refreshing from beneath?
Is it sort of like an ocean, with water never running out?
Would you say it was a mountain, never to be moved from its foundation?

You may describe it in all these ways and more.
But I could describe it in just two words: My Lord.
For he is like a rock, solid and a firm foundation.
He sends His Holy Spirit to rain upon us without fail.
He is like the dew, refreshing when there is no rain in sight.
His love, like an ocean, will never run dry.
He is a mountain, a strong tower, one that will never be moved.
Great is His faithfulness.

My YFJ experiance 2015














(just a heads up. if your name is misspelled, I am sooooo sorry!)

Wow! How much happiness, How many tears. How many glad smiles, and how many forced. How

many blessings, and how many unperceived. How many Joys and how many trials. How many lessons

learned, and knowledge gained. How many friends made and souls reached. I could never come to the

end of what YFJ and this summer has come to mean to me! Yet because of the many questions that

people have asked me about my experience, I will attempt to place it in a nutshell for you to read here.
First off, I'll give a little background to my leaving Arkansas and flying off to Washington. I had

never heard of YFJ. That is, until Leasa Hodges came and gave a little talk about it here at OHA/C in

the spring of 2015. When I heard about it I was interested, but didn't give it much thought as we live on

rice and beans, and certainly didn't have $700 for YFJ. Besides, I already had plans for my summer. I

was earning my way to Young Disciple camp and ASI convention. But God had another plan. It just so

'happened' that my dear Mother was asked to drive Ms. Leasa to the airport. How surprised was I when

I heard my mothers voice on the phone telling me all about YFJ and how I had been offered a

scholarship when Ms. Leasa hadn't even met me. I was immediately excited!
Yet money was still a large issue. Who has $800 dollars floating around for a flight to

Washington? Well, It just so 'happened' that my Daddy dear was able to find a flight for $500! And yes,

it just so 'happened' that I had $500 floating around! Well, not exactly floating around, but in the bank,

which I happen to think is better:)
Ok, great. But I had never flown before. Was I supposed to go by myself? That was kind of scary!

Well, as you can probably guess, the 'happenings' continued. Nathan received a call. A call from Vivian

Seiler, the assistant director of ASI YFJ. She asked if Nathan would consider being the dean of boys at

YFJ. The only problem was that Nathan already had several jobs lined up for the summer. But after a

few calls, he found out that he was not needed after all. So he was free to accept the position of boys

dean. Wowzie, so now I had the bestest big brother in the world to go with me on my first airplane ride

and to a place where I new absolutely no one.
Before I go further I must explain something. When I say “It just so 'happened'” I mean that it just

so happened that God just so happened to plan that it would just so happen to me. In other words it was

planned. :)
Anyway, first day of YFJ, and I was still slightly apprehensive. I had already been there for a few

days and I new two things I didn't want. Number one: Linwood church assignment. Number two: Laura

as my Bible worker. Well, as you have already discovered, God has a wonderful sense of humor. Yes,

you guessed it, I was both placed in the Linwood church and had Laura for my Bible worker. And by

the end of the program I learned that that was the church, and the Bible worker, that where best for me.

And I thoroughly enjoyed it!
My Bible worker was wonderful! On the first day of outreach she gave me and my wonderful

outreach partner, Lacey, Journals. Instructing us that we where to write in them all of our outreach

experiences to look back on when when we where having a down day. All the experiences, where we

saw God lead, where we new He had been there. I distinctly remember writing a list of prayer requests

in the back of mine. It wasn't a very long list, only two items. I wanted to see one of my Bible study

Contacts decide to get baptized, and I wanted to be used to reach out to some one. More about that later.
Living in the dorm at UCA was a totally new experience for me. I had never had a roommate

before and never spent much time away from home. My very first day I received my roommate. And

she was the best roommate I could have asked for. Vashti and I both wanted our sleep and both wanted

a tidy room. So our room was (almost) always spotless. When Miss Julie (our dean) came around to say

lights out was soon, our light where almost always already out and our breathing even and steady. Lets

just say we made life easier for the deans as some of the girls didn't like to go to bed on time:) But she

was also a great roomie in other ways. We got along grandly and had lots of long talks. Also her quiet,

daily devotions and her christlike life inspired me.
One of the students who came was having a tough time, I could tell. He was really struggling

with the Holy Spirit and was so miserable in doing so that he had quite the attitude. Within the first day, for various reasons, he was asked to leave. We thought that was the end of it. But in two days or so he

was back. He went up front and asked our forgiveness, saying that he had had a complete heart change

and that God had finally gotten through to him. But we could tell he was still struggling. It was then

that I really saw the unity, teamwork, and Christlikeness of that group of young people. They banded

together around him, assuring him that they forgave him and where praying for him. Then followed

days of fasting and prayer for him. It was truly beautiful. At the end we got to see him recommit his life

to Christ in baptism.
Their was one slightly crazy girl. Crazy in a good way I mean. She was happy and bouncy. But

not really my type. Then about halfway through the program,

she came back from her church site in tears. Like, really crying. We thought something terrible had

happened and we didn't know what to do. She asked Ms. Julie for a place to pray, and was led to the

front of the chapel, in the fading beams of light. There she poured out her heart to the Lord and gave

her life over to Him. It turned out that she had come for all the wrong reasons. She wanted close friends

and fun. But it turned out that nothing could fill that hole in her heart but God. And she finally realized

it there with Christ. Something had happened, Christ had touched her. We also saw that sweet girl

baptized.
I could go on and on, but I think I'll share one quick story of my own. We are told, that during the

meetings, we are to act like we don't know each other. We are to go mingle with the people. Talk to

them and make them feel welcome. But during church services we usually do sit together. Which is a

big relief for me as the effort of moving out of my shell and talking to people I've never met before is

slightly out of my comfort zone. On this particular Sabbath I walked in and was on my way to the front

row to sit with my friends. That is, I was on my way until I saw that one lady on the back row, all by

herself, and looking terribly alone and scared. That's when the battle inside me took place.
God: Look at that lady.

Me: Yep, I see her (as I continue in my way)
God: Stop

Me: (stops) Why?

God: Have you seen her here before?

Me: Well..... Nooooo, I think she's a visitor.

God: Exactly.

Me: Exactly what?

God: You know what I mean.

Me: But why should I go sit by her? For once I'm free to sit with my friends and for once I intend to do it!

God: Are you sure?

Me: Yes I'm sure! Well..... pretty sure anyway.

God: You really ought to sit with her.

Me: I know.

God: If you know, then what are you going to do about it?

Me: Well.........

God: You know what I would have you to do!

Me: Yes I know, but......

God: But what?

Me: Yes God, I'm on my way.

God: Thats better, I'm proud of you.

Me: Now if you will just give me the strength...

God: But of Course. I'm always by your side!

After this silent battle of the heart I slipped into the pew beside her and began to make small talk

with her. As I talked with her, it turned out that she was a visitor, and she was pretty uncomfortable and

lonely. In the middle of song service she asked to be excused and left the church for a few minutes.

When she came back it wasn't very long before she burst into tears. She sat there sobbing for a few

minutes while I sat there speechless not sure what to do. I wracked my brain trying to think where in

the church they might keep tissues. I was still trying to come up with a solution to the tissue problem

when she asked for one and I had to go look for one In earnest. I finally was able to find something

suitable and brought it back to her. That poor lady cried through the entire church service. At the end of

the service I talked to her a little bit and this is what she told me. “Thank you Soooo much for sitting by

me! I suffer from depression and anxiety attacks, and here I felt welcomed and loved”. I went home

amazed at how God had worked even though I had been so unwilling!
Wow, I've just sat here telling stories, and half of you don't know what YFJ is, or how it works!

Well, YFJ (Youth For Jesus) is a part of ASI that was started to give young people the tools that they

need to make a difference in their church. To be the future AND the present of the church. To make a

difference in there own lives and in the lives of others. Its a month long program starting July 6 and

going through August 9. Months before the YFJ kids get there (theres about 40 of us every year), the

Bible workers are hard at work in the area. They work with churches, do surveys in the community for

Bible study contacts, and work with those contacts for awhile before we get there. Once we get there a

Bible worker is assigned 2-4 of us and they are the ones that we do Bible work with every afternoon.

There where six churches that we worked in this year. In each of those six churches in the spokane WA

area we had an evangelistic series. Each church had two student speakers with the pastors preaching for

some of the nights. YFJ also helped out at Your Best Pathway To Health this year. We did Bible studies

with our Bible workers and surveys as well.
Heres a quick rundown of our schedule.

6:00 Rise and shine! (this was a lot earlier for some of us!)

7:30 Breakfast (prepared by an early rising crew, which included me for part of the time)

8:45 Worship (have to give the cleanup crew some time to get the kitchen in tip-top shape before

worship:)

9:00 class. We had speakers come in such as Jack Phillips, Lee Vendon, Sean Nebblett, and many other

wonderful speakers.

12:00 Chores, for those of us who weren't on breakfast duty.

1:00 Lunch.

2:15 everyone gathers for outreach. We gather in our church groups and pray. Then we gather together

in a big circle and sing

2:30 off with our Bible workers to the field.

5:30 Bible workers drop us off for supper at our various churches. This is also our time to decide what

we are doing for special music and practice for it.

6:30 everyone to there post, whether it be greeter, registration, prayer room, or anything else.

7:00 Meetings start. Those of us who are doing main sermons, health talks, special music, or children's

meetings, are starting to get a tad nervous at this point. Although I think health talks where my favorite

part of what I was able to do at my church.

8:00 meetings end. Home now right? Nope! We wait until everyone has left.

9:15-10:15 everyone is finally back at the dorm.

9:15-10:15 basically when everyone has returned we gather for worship. Girls with Ms. Julie, and Boys

with their dean who happens to be my big brother.

When worship is done we all scamper to bed! At least thats how its supposed to work! Some of the

girls (and I assume the guys) didn't like to cooperate all of the time.

Wooooow, busy schedule right? Yep! I got an average of 6 or 7 hours of sleep every night, give or take a little bit. But it was all totally worth it! I just suggest that you began taking vitamin C's and such about a year in advance to get your immune system in tip top shape! Thats another thing. I didn't realize the extent of their wish to keep us well until I started to get sick myself. For a few days I didn't even tell anyone. I kept on working and going on outreach even though I was losing my voice and I didn't feel to good. But when I got a fever I decided I should at least tell some one. So I told them. After I was done with my chores and it was almost time to leave on outreach. I know, bad me! I can hear you scolding me, and I plead guilty! Well, I was asked to stay back, of course, and I got a nice long rest. But I went to the meeting that night anyway. Yes, yes, double bad me! When I got back the medical personal was there in force. Well, the Assistant Dean that is. Christina had me all fixed up in no time. On the way back to my room I was weighted down with charcoal, vit. C, Yuck (yes, thats an actual medicine, and Yuck is its actual name!), and throat coat tea. Wowzie, despite the fact that I lost my voice for a week and a half, at least otherwise I got all better quickly!
Lets see. I can't end without talking about the music at YFJ! If there wasn't music it just wouldn't be YFJ! There where probably 10-15 people who brought there instruments and at least that many who, like myself, played, but didn't bring their instruments. Everybody who didn't play sang, and sang with great gusto! I can't count how many times we sang Onward Christian Soldiers, Soldiers Of Christ Arise, Battle Hymn of the Republic, Never Part Again, and Oh yes, those Christmas songs. There where several kids who loved to sing the christmas songs. I thought it was rather nice to sing christmas songs in July, but not everybody agreed with me. I have no idea why (look of innocence on face).
Oh, the free days! I can't forget the free days! When I first got there, YFJ hadn't even started. But those free days where filled with cleaning and getting to know my roommate. But other then that we had two free days every week. Sunday and Thursday. On our first free day we went swimming at a lake in Idaho. That was a lot of fun! I was pretty tired though, so I only swam for a few minutes before falling fast a sleep on the dock. I didn't wake up until kids started running past me toward a paddle boat that had just been lent us. And, since of course I wouldn't miss it, I woke up quickly and joined them. That was a lot of fun, although at first we mostly went around in circles.
Then we went Ice skating. I really enjoyed that! I had only been ice skating twice before, but I enjoyed doing amateur twirls, and making it around the rink in 38 sec. But that was when I was starting to get sick, so toward the end I mostly just rested.
Then there was inner-tubing. That was quite the experience for me! I had never been inner-tubing before, so when the man handed me the larger inner tube, I thought nothing of it. Now, those of you who know me, know that I am rather short. So when I was in the tube I tried to reach the water but I couldn't. Not that well at least. Because I couldn't reach the water very well, I had to go with the flow, which happened to flow toward the shore all down the river in my case. At least for the first part. Christina kept having to tow me to the middle in her inflatable kayak. At last I caught up with some friends who had slightly longer arms and was able to hold on to there tubes while they kept us moving. But then, in the rapids, I was unable to hold on to their raft. So I was on my own again. By this time I was at about the second to the last rapids when I came up with a brilliant idea. I would sit on the very front edge of my tube and hold on to the handles behind me. That way I could steer with my feet quite well and yet still have stability from leaning backwards. Or so I thought. This worked remarkably well at first. I past person after person as I propelled my self along backwards. It worked well, until I turned around to go down the last rapids. Then as I was just entering the rapids, my feet hit a rock and it flipped me over into the icy water. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Other then the frigid water, and being battered against the rocks, and being a self-taught swimmer, and having everyone thinking I was drowning, It was great fun! I'd do it again. That is, when the water is warmer!
We also had a slip and slide twice. That was a lot of fun, other then burning my feet on the hot cement of the parking lot at the top of the hill while waiting for a chance to slip and slide. I never did make it all the way to the very end though I tried with all my might. But it was so much fun that the other didn't really matter.
Near the end of the meetings in our churches we had the appeal for baptism. Do you remember what I requested near the beginning? I just wanted God to use me to bring one person to him and for them to give their lives to Him in baptism. Well, during the whole YFJ program I, and my Bible worker, and been going to visit one of her contacts. Her name was Kacey. Kacey had had a rough life, but when she prayed to God to guide her, moments later Laura showed up on her doorstep. Kacey is one of the sweetest people you could have asked for. As we did Bible studies with her, it was a joy to see her grow closer and closer to God. Well, on the day of the baptismal appeal Laura went and brought Kacey to the meetings as usual. She listened thoughtfully throughout the meeting, but when the appeal began, down went her head to the classic head-down-in-hands-during-appeal position. Laura and I gave each other understanding looks and began praying with all our might. We prayed and prayed and prayed! I can't tell you how hard we prayed! Slowly Kacey lifted her head and more slowly still rose from the chair and made her way to the front. I felt like shouting for joy! Do you remember my notebook? The one I had written my prayer requests in? Do you remember how I had written that I wanted to be used to touch someone and I wanted a contact of mine to decide to be baptized? Well by this time I had become fast friends with Kacey. I had sat with her at every meeting and together we had grown. She had touched me just as much as I seem to have touched her. And then she decided to be baptized! Oh the joy! I didn't get to see her be baptized, but only because we had to leave before she had finished with her baptismal studies. That gave me such a thrill, I can't even tell you. I went around after she went up for the call telling all my friends. It was so thrilling!!
After the meetings where finished, off we went to Pathways to Health. Pathways was an amazing experience. When we got there we went outside and sang to the many people waiting in line. It was rewarding to hear a woman ask for amazing grace again and again, and to hear her crying and crying. After we went through several stations singing, we went inside to our various stations. I went back to the massage station and helped give massage and talk to various people. Kacey got new glasses and several other people from our church got services that they needed.
Ok, well as some of you know, we got to go to ASI at the end of YFJ. Wow! I would have gone and done just that if it was the only option. It was so amazing! Every year after YFJ all the students go to ASI and participate in the youth program as well as going up front once or twice. We go up front because we are sponsored by ASI and so we do a little talk about what all went on with testimonies and such as well as singing our choir song.
Anyway. The first day of ASI found us running around finding rooms and roommates and getting all settled in. I think they had a sense of humor when they put my brothers room together because He ended up having all three Josephs in his room! It was pretty funny.
The Youth meetings where entertaining and instructional. We had Sean Nebblett In charge of youth meetings and he was more than capable! We learned first aid, fire safety and went out to practice water rescue which was a blast! It was all right up my alley and I had the bestest time. We also learned a scripture passage and we learned our different personalities which gave us the opportunity to see what our areas of ministry might be. I learned so much! (sorry folks, I found that the gift of prophesy does not belong to me, you will have to be content with friendship evangelism)
At the end of ASI we had a goodbye party where we all gathered in one of the hotels for pizza and a slideshow. We where all sad to see everyone leave, but for me it was exciting knowing that now these kids where all leaving equipped to make a difference in their world! If any yfjers read this they are bound to point out missing parts and slight errors in my memory, but for now this is it:) my YFJ experience in full!