The Honor Academy is a place that I have come to absolutely love with all of my heart. God has grown me so much, and I completely love what the ministry does and how we affect people all around the world and around the nation.
The first part of my life at the Honor Academy was a very training intensive time where we pretty much did a ‘world detox’. We limited our access to the outside world all week and took extra doses of God every other hour or so. The only way that I can describe this place is as a spiritual green house. Because of our constant 24/7 immersion in God, we experience incredible growth in every area of our lives. God has blessed me in so many ways and has revealed gifts that I never knew that I had until now AND he’s taught me how to use them for his glory.
All of the classes and leadership that I have, have been incredibly beneficial to me, and one of my most favorite parts of this ministry is my ministry placement (job). For the first semester, I worked as a promotional representative that called youth leaders about taking their groups on missions trips. I made an average of about 76 calls a day + or -. Now I’ve been switched over to be what they call an ‘encouragement representative’, and basically what I do is … well, everything after the application, so I’m doing tons of paperwork, helping out the youth pastors with getting all of their students applied, dealing with money issues & finances for the teams, and so on. It’s great and I love the fact that I am able to help get so many people on the missions field so that they can have such a paradigm shifting experience that they will never see the world the same way… at least that’s how my mission trip effected me, so I can only pray that God will deliver that to all of my missionaries, and I know He’s faithful .My MP team is called dependant, and our verse is John 15:5. God has used this to grow me so much this year. I constantly have to remind myself about relying fully on God and letting myself and my desires go 100%. Everybody at my workplace has definitely had an impact on my life because we are all so incredibly different & we all have something different to bring to the table, but God brought us all together because we all had a hidden passion to get people out on the mission field, and through that, we have become united and through the power of Jesus, we have become strong.
One of the big parts of the HA is the part that becomes like your family for the year. These structures are called your Core. A core consists of a Core Advisor, and anywhere from 6-18 guys. They have a core name and a core verse and core values & things like that. My core name was Untamed, & my first CA’s (Core Advisor) name was Chase,he left after Christmas break due to personal decisions. Our core verse was Hebrews 11: 33-40 & the whole idea of the core was just to live ‘untamed’ and do what we believe to be right in the light of eternity due to the beliefs that we receive by becoming followers of Jesus Christ. I’ll write another reflection blog dedicated to that. Now, due to some changes that occurred, my brothers & I are in a new core called Brotherhood. My new CA's name is Chris Johnson, and I'm super stoked to get to know him & the other guys so much more throughout our remainging 7 months here. In addition to our core, we also have a sister core (or two in our case) which have the same composition as our cores, and together we make a family core. So now, instead of only having one sister like I usually do at home, I am now one of 20-30 people haha.
Some of the most unique things that have grown me in so many ways are called LTE’s (Life Transforming Events). These events are just that, Life transforming. Some of the ones that we have experienced so far are ESOAL (youtube it), the Fasting LTE, and the Men’s LTE. These have had a lot of influence in the way we are molded and shaped. ESOAL especially was something that wrecked my life, body and spirit. All I can really say about this one is that it is exactly what it stands for, an Emotionally Stretching Oppurtunity of A Lifetime. Pretty much the whole idea of it though, is to die to yourself and be able to find joy in all situations. Another one that was definitely life-altering was the fasting LTE. We fasted from Thursday morning all the way ‘til Sunday morning, we also took a vow of silence from 10PM Thursday until we broke fast at 8 on Sunday morning. During this time, we just prayed and worshipped for the whole weekend. God revealed so much about my life and the path that I’m meant to take during that time. We also had a worship leader from the International House of Prayer share some teachings with us. His name was Blaise Forret (Spelling? It sounds like Blaze foray).
In conclusion, from everything that I’ve listed above (which is just a small taste of what we really do on a daily basis) there is an incredible amount of growth and development in so many different ways. It’s a great blessing & I’m so excited to embark on a new experience for 2010. It’s still the same internship, but everything has been switched up again, AND I’ve joined the School of Worship program as well so that I can develop my musical skill and worship leader ability as well as my normal leadership ability. This is definitely going to be a huge step for me in developing the future that God has set aside for me to be a part of. His plans are coming to fruition in so many different and amazing ways that I never would have thought of in a million years.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
As you may remember, the very first step in my voyage away from home as I was graduating from High School was my mission trip to Panama with Global Expeditions, which many of you probably remember receiving a letter from me about requesting your support financially. I was extremely blessed in just about every way possible concerning my trip. I’ll give you a little bit of a summary of what we did while we were there, and then I’ll elaborate on some of the most impacting things that happened to me while we were there.
During my trip to Panama, I was put into a team of 24 students under the direction of two of the best team leaders IN THE WORLD as far as I’m concerned. Their names were Waikiki and Ana. Within this group of 24 students, I served as a ‘Missionary Advisor’ and was in charge of two awesome men of God named Martin and Colton. Our team also decided on a name for ourselves during one of our first meetings as a team, this name was “Team Contact”. We chose the name based on our desire to be able to make contact with the natives in a positive way and also make an amazing impact on their lives regarding the subject of Jesus Christ.
As Team Contact, we traveled to Panama to begin making an impact in these peoples’ lives. This unreached people group that we had our hearts and our prayers set on reaching was a tribe of people called the Kuna Indians. While the children of the areas stole our hearts, God broke our hearts for the Kuna people during all of the preparations we had made, but what God had in store for them, and us, was completely above and beyond anything that we could ever imagine.
We had the privilege of going to two extremely different environments of Panama, but despite the differences there were also many cultural and traditional obstacles that we would have to overcome as we fought for the souls of these people.
The first village trip that we took was to our island of Soledad Mandinga.
After a grueling boat ride that lasted for HOURS on the choppy waters in the Caribbean off of the east coast of Panama, we arrived upon an extremely small island. As our motor boats drew near to the cement dock, we all readied ourselves to start making our first impressions on the natives and began praying over everything that we would be doing over the next week. We hadn’t even been on the island for five minutes when we got our first assignment. Waikiki had talked to our translator & come upon some information that said that the Kuna people on the island were in the middle of a project in which their main objective was to haul sand from one side of the island to the opposite end in buckets to make their volleyball court more comfortable and fun to play on. After a couple hours of moving all of this sand in the grueling Central American summer heat, we finally got a chance to rest & get to know the natives a little bit. This place was an amazingly beautiful island in the middle of the ocean off of the east coast of panama, but the primitive conditions made it more brutal than a trip to the beach haha. We quickly learned how to take ‘bucket showers’ and use a ‘squatty’ when we needed to use the bathroom. Unfortunately the presence of the squatty made it impossible for us to swim in the ocean, if you know what I mean.
One of the biggest things that God worked on me the most towards the end of our first village trip and through the rest of the whole trip to Panama was the use of Idols that the Kuna people still worked with. For me, at first it was difficult to understand the whole concept of idol worship, especially in terms of modern times. They used the idols to guard them from the demons that the gods would send to attack them in various ways . They would also perform interesting pagan healing techniques and stuff that for us would be difficult to understand. I really struggled with this in particular, just because I didn’t understand why they would still cling to their old traditions even though they had seen the glory and magnificence of our God during the time that we were there. God worked on me a lot though, consequently leading me to start casting away idols that were present in my life. He gave me an understanding that just because I hadn’t had any carved images that I worshipped, I still had some of my same old idols that would take up all of my time and my focus, and that I needed to get rid of those. God definitely weeded those out of my life when I was in Panama and when I entered the Honor Academy.
So, by the recommendation of my friend Tyler, I've decided to start blogging a journal about everything that's happening in my life, so that everybody back home, or around the world as it may turn out since so many of my friends seem to be all over the place anymore. So here it goes. :)