Sunday, August 24, 2014


Sophomore. Weird to spell, weirder to say.
It's hard to believe I'm a year out from being new to college.
This year started out just like last year... with Band Camp!
Lots of music rehearsals and outdoor marching practices happened. (Check out some great pics here! You should really take a peek! :) )
However, this year was definitely better than last year, and it's all about perspective.
Last year, I knew no one and I actually sat in my dorm room at the end of each day and just stared at the wall. I was so lonely that I called my family every night and usually cried some too.
This year, I haven't had a dull evening, or a sad one either. I spent the first one hanging out with friends and having adventures, and every night since has had something going on!
Last year, I didn't know what I was getting into. The BMB was new to me, not to mention the drumline. I was scared and felt like I was constantly pulled from one place to another because I just didn't know how stuff worked.
Leadin' the section
(Photo cred to Lauren Bolt)
This year, I have a much better handle on things! The BMB is like family, and it was so great to be able to be able to welcome so many new freshmen to drumline. I am the bass drum section leader, which has been a neat position to have. I really enjoy working with everyone and being able to help them learn how things work.
Last year, I came to college worried about how I was going to earn money. I needed a job, but no one would hire me. When I did end up getting a job, it was definitely not a good fit for me.
This year, I came to college knowing that I have 2 jobs, both of which I enjoy. Being the music librarian has been great because I can make my own hours, and I know I'll enjoy being an accompanist too!
Most importantly, last year I felt like I was all alone at first because I didn't know anyone and was in a completely new place.
However, this year, I was excited to come back to all of the friends I hadn't seen in 2 months. I didn't realize how much I was used to seeing everyone so much every day.

Remembering where I was at last year has kept one thing at the forefront of my mind: Many Freshmen are in the same spot that I was; lonely, confused, lost, and trying to get settled in a completely new place. Now that I'm in a place where I can be a leader, it's been neat to be able to be the person I would have liked to meet as a Freshman. I had so many people come up to me as a Freshman and just be nice, and I can only hope that this year's Freshmen feel the same way about me and the other members of the band.
I can't wait to see what this year holds! If this past week has been any indication, this year getting started on the right foot (the left one, of course [band humor])! I know that some great things are in store!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Recently, on the other side of the world...

Well, it was a great summer!  A hard summer, but a great one.  Having the opportunity to lead 18 teenagers to Asia?  What a privilege.

Leading something for the first time in my life was definitely a stretching experience.  It was like lifting weights every day, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically.   But I'm awfully thankful for all the lessons God taught me.  Here's what happened:

After the team went through boot camp training in Florida, we took the 14-ish hour plane flight to Hong Kong, then flew to Myanmar's capital (Yangon).  We stayed in a clean, air-conditioned guest house and then took an eight hour bus ride over the mountains to the roughest, poorest, most violent state in Myanmar, the Rakhine state.  We moved into a less luxurious guest house and received the unwelcome news that the local officials would not allow the team to do their building project.  The end. 

 Our head leader suspects that the local Buddhist monks were a bit suspicious of us.  For one thing, Myanmar has been closed to foreigners until the past year.  In that country, it is illegal for foreigners to spend the night anywhere except a registered guest house.  This is so the government can keep a good eye on them... er, us.

So we packed up and flew to Cambodia instead!

There, the team started a building for Cambodia's Teen Missions Boot Camp, just like camp we'd just come from.  The teens erected massive concrete pillars, poured a floor, and watched the funds they'd raised pay for a bright blue metal roof to be constructed above.  Meanwhile, I helped cook for the team every day, using a metal box of an oven and a one pot cooking fire.  I also got the chance to lead the team's daily Bible studies and girls small group.  During those days, we lived in tents, filtered our water, tried some exotic fruits, and learned to use "squatty potties" like pros!

The highlight of every day for me was to be driven in a tuk tuk  (a typically Asian conveyance consisting of a three-wheeled "buggy" hitched to a motorcycle) to the local market to buy fresh produce, sugar, etc.  I learned some greetings in Khmer (pronounced Kih-MY) and got familiar with Cambodian currency.

Before returning to the U.S., we got one sightseeing day in Hong Kong, and that was glorious!  Seeing the city lights over the harbor by ferry, exploring the night markets, eating at a Hong Kong McDonald's... it was a good time :)

It was hard to say goodbye to the team, but it's been good to be home at last.  College classes start Tuesday and I'll keep you all updated.

Stay wonderful!

My beloved team :)

The beautiful Gwa orphans.  
Please pray that someone will be able to build for them.  
20 plus orphans live in a thatched house half the size of a typical one story home.  
They have nothing but the clothes on their back, a toothbrush, and a bed roll.  
They play in the dirt and with a flea-bitten dog.  
They live on nothing but daily food and the love of the home's staff, 
but they are being taught to love Jesus.  
We will never forget them.