Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back in Lubbock

I am back in Lubbock and have just begun my second week of school. This term the classes I’m taking are: Old Testament History with Victor Ellison, Ephesians and Colossians with Ed Wharton, Preaching from the Gospels (this terms preaching lab) with Charles Cook, and the Sacrificial System with Gerald Paden (a class that I have wanted to take ever since I was an AIMer; it is for the most part a study of the book of Leviticus and is also a pre-requisite to the book of Hebrews, which is also taught by Gerald).

AIM started last week! There are 58 AIMers in the new class. The group comes from 18 different states and two of them are from Brazil. Since it has only been a week I’m still barley getting to know the class. One of the things that I think is really neat about AIM is the diversity. The AIMers come from a wide variety of different backgrounds; some have grown up in the church all their lives and others have only been a Christian for a matter of weeks. Hearing how God has been working in their lives has been very encouraging. I am looking forward to sharing stories with you about what God will be doing through these young people.

Later this month the AIMers will be beginning their Sharing the Word class. Sharing the Word is the AIMers’ version of Preaching Lab. In this class they learn how to teach the Bible in various settings (e.g. preaching/public speaking, teaching youth, teaching children’s classes and teaching the Bible one-on-one). This class is a unique one because it is not taught by the Sunset Instructors but rather us AIM Assistants. This year I will be teaching the seminar on how to conduct one-on-one Bible studies. Just knowing that I’m going to be teaching the AIMers directly in their classroom sends me a rush or different feelings and emotions, most of them positive --feelings of excitement and joy. There is so much that I would like to share with them. There are so many things that I know would benefit them in their walk with the Lord. The thing is, I only have two days to teach them. Thankfully, those two days only represent the two days that I will be “officially” teaching them how to teach (with me standing before them as they take notes). The other Assistants and I will still have eight months to show them by example how to teach, serve, submit and love as they are preparing for what lies ahead, and knowing that gives me great ease. My hope and my prayer is for the AIMers to see that I am not someone who merely talks about teaching the lost, serving, and loving the outcast, but rather that I am one that practices these things in my own life.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Life in Tulsa, OK

I am out of school for the summer now, and working with Memorial Dr. church of Christ in Tulsa Oklahoma. My last few days in Lubbock were tough because they were all full of saying goodbyes, to the AIMers, my classmates at Sunset and the other AIM assistants, some of them just for the summer till I seem again in the Fall but others… not for long time.

I haven’t even been here two weeks and already it feels very much like home. The youth minister at Memorial name is Bobby Smith. Bobby and his wife Melissa are both X-AIMers. It has been truly a blessing working along-side Bobby. As many of you know the summer is a busy time for church youth groups, and the same goes here. Our week is pretty pact with, community service, and time playing/hanging out together at the church building.

My first few days here I spent a lot of time working on getting ready for their mission trip garage sale that have every year as their final fundraiser for the summer mission trip. We spent hours getting ready, organizing and pricing. Then on Saturday the 3rd a big group of us met at the church building at 6 a.m. to start moving everything outside. There was a 50% chance of rain that day. Thankfully not one drop fell and the garage sale was a huge success. Don’t ask me how, because things were so cheep, but we raised nearly $1,500. All of the youth that participated worked very hard. Many of them worked all of the way until it was over and help clean everything up. I think that by the time we got back from taking the leftovers to goodwill it past four in the afternoon.

From the very get-go I have seen what Spirit lead and God trusting people the members of Memorial Dr. are. On my drive up to Tulsa from Lubbock I received a phone call from Bobby asking me to pray about our summer mission trip. He had just been told that the church we were going to be working with for the mission trip could not host us anymore. Bobby had had everything all planned out for the mission trip almost a whole year early, so I know the news was painful and just a flat-out bummer. The next evening Bobby and I met the parents of the youth-group to break the news to them. What happened truly amazed me. Bobby told them how there was somehow a miscommunication and then told the parents about our current options that Bobby and I had been looking at. Non of the parents showed any sign of frustration but rather all saw the whole situation as God directing us to one of the other places we had told them about. They were all excited about the opportunity that had been presented to us and encouraged seeing that God had larger things in mind for us than we could have even imagined. Since then, after a lot prayer and many phone calls we made the decision to go to Ava Missouri working with the church that Bobby father preaches for.

While I am here this summer I will be staying with different families of the congregation for about a week or two at a time. The Jones’ were my first host family. Tim, Trish and their children Michel and Kendal made me feel right at home. On my day off Trish, Michel, Kendal and I all went the zoo. From then on Kendal wanted me to spend all of my time doing animal impersonations with her. I wish you all could have seen the look on Michel and Kendal’s faces when I showed them how high I can jump like a frog. It was a neat blessing to be a part of their household for a little while. They are a beautiful family and I really enjoyed my time with them. Just yesterday I moved in with my new host family the Davis’, once again I just feel right at home. In fact the three kids of the family just came up to me to give me a hug good night.