Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sweet College Memories

The past few days have been kind of a daze for me. I don't think it has really sunk in that I am officially finished with school. For the past 17 years, school has been my life, but when I finished my Spanish paper this afternoon, I also finished my formal education for the time being. I am not coming back after summer. I am done. Wow.

I was blessed with having absolutely no exams this week (actually, I take that back- I had one exam, but all we had to do was meet and go out for pizza...the professor paid- pretty sweet deal, huh?) so I have been doing a lot of reflecting in my time off. I've tried to spend as much time as possible walking around campus and soaking in all the memories I have in Buies Creek.

Today I sat outside by the fountain and reflected for a while. Every building, every path, even every bench has a memory that goes along with it. As I closed my eyes, I could remember back to freshman year when my family first dropped me off at my dorm. I was so excited about college. I didn't cry, I was just happy! I remember doing crazy things in the dorm, like having shaving cream wars, and going swimming in the fountain late one night. And of course, all the themed dress up parties we had!
I remembered the countless times I have tripped on the blasted bricks going to and from class. I remember when my friend Wee planned a "banana night" and we all wore yellow and made banana hats and played banana games! I thought back to my sophomore year when my group of friends consisted of six girls from 5 different countries. We would stay up late in Wafaa's apartment and drink Moroccan tea and laugh the night away.Some of my sweetest memories are with my international friends. Spending weekends and holidays with them, going to the beach, seeing them grow. As I walked back to my apartment today, I remembered the countless times Alicia and I prayer walked on that very path. Every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30-2, that walk was our Jesus time. People passing by probably thought we were talking to each other :)

I remember all the meals I've had in Marshbanks (the good and the not so good!), the concerts and plays, the carnivals and trips to Sunni Sky's. It's so hard for me to fathom that my college experience is over. Tomorrow I will leave Buies Creek with all my belongings packed in my little Toyota and never move back.

I expected that I would be really sad right about now. I've always been a sucker for good-byes. 5th grade graduation was probably the saddest day of my life...seriously, we've got it on video! But for some strange reason, the sadness hasn't hit me. Maybe it's coming, but maybe it's not going to. I really feel like God has prepared me well for this life transition and I feel a peace about leaving and moving on to the places God has called me to be.

I will definitely miss people, no doubt about it. But I really believe that I'll be able to keep in touch with my friends as we go our separate ways.

These four years have been an incredible journey for me. I came in as an 18-year-old girl and I'm leaving as a 22-year-old young woman. My relationship with Christ has blossomed and I have developed friendships that I hope will last a lifetime. I have grown academically, spiritually and I now feel prepared to face the future with confidence.

I am so excited about working M-Fuge in Nashville this summer and then moving to Hawaii in July. So many transitions are about to take place. College has been absolutely wonderful. I'm so thankful for the friendships and experiences I have had at Campbell. I will always look back and remember the sweet memories I have had in "The Creek." It's been fun, exciting, challenging, and wonderful.

As wonderful as it has been, I'm determined that I will not allow college to be "the best years of my life." The future is bright and promising and I couldn't be more excited.

Let the good times continue!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Encounter- a journey to remember

It's 6 o'clock on Friday night and the Memorial House is filled with excitement, laughter and the aroma of yummy food. As international students walk in the door of the small white house, they are greeted with a hug and instantly become immersed in conversation with their friends.

We all join hands, bless the food and share a meal at the table together before we enter our time of worship. As the lights dim, a different atmosphere is set and the strum of a guitar echoes through the room. Beautiful harmonies float through the air, singing praises to the One true God. People from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Moldova, Iraq, Taiwan, and many other countries lift their voices together.

The worship is real and honest. The presence of the Holy Spirit is so evident that it causes me to tremble. I am in awe of the fact that God has allowed me to meet so many amazing people from all over the world. No matter the color of our skin or the language we speak, He knows and loves each one of us intimately.

As we dig into the Word of God together, we are challenged by the different perspectives each person brings to the table. One girl talks about the war in her home country, another shares about how afraid she was when she came to America, not knowing a soul.

This is what Encounter is all about. It's a place for internationals and Americans to come together and fellowship, worship and love. For me, Encounter has become like a family. The friendships I have made with these sweet people are so deep because they are founded on the one thing we have in common: our faith in God.

Tonight was my last Encounter. I feel a mix of emotions. I'm heartbroken to leave some of the best friends I've ever had. But there's a part of me that believes I will remain close with them, even when I'm gone next year.

I also know that it's time for me to move on. God brought me to Campbell four years ago and has taught me so much. But now, He's leading me in a different direction. I praise Him because I will still be doing international student ministry next year. He is allowing me to do the thing that makes my heart sing!

I am so thankful for Encounter. It has been such a significant part of my college journey, and I will treasure those memories and friendships for a very long time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Update

Flora's baptism was beautiful yesterday. I couldn't hold back my tears as our friend Alicia read Flora's testimony and we watched Flora's face glow as she came out of the water, so excited about her new life in Christ!

She sent me a message last night that said, "I am really really excited about the baptism today! When I was standing in the water, I could not breath! I tried to find you guys. Everything was perfect, and I was totally moved by the Holy Spirit and could not help but crying! My tears kept coming out of my eyes when I changed my clothes and did makeups!"

Praise God for the work He is doing in her life and in the lives of many other students at Campbell!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The story that is still changing lives...

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. Not just because I have an obsession with candy and Easter baskets, but because the story of Christ's death and resurrection continues to amaze me.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that it actually happened.

When I was younger, I had the privilege of travelling to Israel with my grandparents. One of the coolest memories I have from that trip is visiting Jesus' tomb. I walked into the stone garden tomb...and it was empty! I stood in the exact place that Jesus' body once lay and three days later was raised to life. How amazing!

I'm constantly amazed at the story of Jesus. It happened so long ago, but is still so real and continues to change lives. I am so excited because tomorrow morning, my good friend Flora is going to be baptized.

Flora is from China and she came to study at Campbell in the fall of 2007. She accepted Christ during her first semester at Campbell and has continued to grow in her walk since then. Flora stayed with me this weekend as last night as we were falling asleep, we began to think back on her spiritual journey.

It is amazing how God brought her to the small town of Buies Creek to reveal himself to her. It was through different events and circumstances that she came to believe in Christ. She began coming to Encounter (a Bible study for international students) and grew in her knowledge of God. Now her boyfriend is a Christian and she is praying for her parents' salvation as well. God is using Flora and I believe that He has got a great plan for her life and will use her to impact many people for His glory.

I am excited to be there for her special day tomorrow. What better day to be baptized than the day that Jesus rose from the dead?!

Praise God because He lives!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tuning my heart

Since I'm getting ready to graduate next month, I came up with a list of things I want to do or accomplish in my life. I'm putting them on here so I'll have some accountability!

-go back to sri lanka (preferably sooner than later)
-work with orphans in africa and/or india
-publish a book (or at least contribute to one!)
-go to seminary
-visit every continent (but not antarctica..too cold)
-record some of my songs (so i won't forget them!)
-hopefully get married one day and be a mom
-learn how to cook
-go sky diving
-be a missionary

It will be interesting to look back in a few years and see how many or if any of these things have happened. I guess it doesn't hurt to dream. Sometimes I have to check my heart though and make sure that my desires line up with God's.

A dear friend of mine was telling me yesterday how she was so confused and aimless about the future after her post-graduation plans recently fell through. She thought God wanted her in that position, but when the door closed, she wondered if she hadn't heard God correctly or if He was just changing the direction of her life. I have been in the same position many times, and it's a scary feeling. Sometimes God's voice is drowned out by the chaos of my life where my own plans and desires take over.

So here's a cheesy analogy: Today I was tuning my guitar and it took me forever to get the sound just right. If one of the strings is slightly out of tune, it messes up the whole sound. I had to keep plucking each string over and over until it was perfectly in tune in order to be able to play. I was reminded that God does the same thing with me. Sometimes I am way off. I don't take the time to listen to Him. I do my own thing, and I end up going really "flat." It messes up the sound. But recently my prayer has become, "Lord, I want to be in tune with you." It doesn't just magically happen, but He works on me for a while, plucking over and over, until I am perfectly in tune. I must admit I don't stay in tune for long, but I ask Him again and again to work in my heart and allow me to desire the things that He desires.

If we seek Jesus, our desires will become more like His. So even if nothing on this list ever happens, I just want to be in tune with Him.