Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Team Time, More Tour, and No Shoes

Well, this blog post might as well be three blog posts.  That's why it has three titles.  But since this all happened within a week and a half, I figured it would be better to put them all together as one long post rather than three short ones.  I'll save the every-other-day-type blogging for the summer.  :)

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Team Time

Surprisingly, since our last weekend out together I have gotten to know the members of my team more than I ever have.  A couple of Wednesdays ago, all of HeartSong took the DISC personality test as a way to get to know ourselves and each other better.  It was interesting to see that our team has no one in the "I" category.  Since then, as I've been communicating with my team members, I have been intentional to ask questions and encourage them with a spring-board off of their personality type.  The Wednesday after that, we talked about community and different ways to apply the Gospel to the way we interact with each other as a team; we also found out we will be sharing our life maps with each other before the summer comes.

The Saturday after our last tour, it was time to go shopping again.  This time around, it was so much easier and so much more fun than last time, because now we all know each other and what we like so us girls could suggest things to each other better.  I got some shorts that actually fit me well, and some new TOMS shoes (more about that later).  The Thursday after that we tried on our outfits for Jim before our rehearsal, but we came to find out that a couple of the guys grabbed the wrong type of shirt, so they didn't fit as well. It was a bit humorous.  But no worries; they will exchange them.  :)

Our rehearsal last week was hang-out time for our team.  We talked for about two and a half hours about HeartSong and encouraged each other the same way we did after Fall Break tour.  I LOVED being able to encourage and be encouraged after knowing my team for so long.  It is so refreshing to be able to be more comfortable and more open with my team.  I am so excited for summer when we get to know each other even better as we become more equipped to serve as a team.

Last Friday was so fun for me!  First, it was April Fool's day, and I played one of the cruelest/greatest jokes on Tommy.  Then, after my last class I met up with Dexter for coffee to hang out and talk a little bit about Rob Bell. Dexter is the one person on my team I feel like I know the least, so it was so cool to hear about his life and get to know him at a deeper level.  Later in the evening, I also met up with Rachel to "do homework" at her house...but we ended up just talking for a few hours.  She shared a song with me that she had started writing the night before with our team in mind, and she asked me to help her finish it.  I was so excited to get back into writing again, and I think the final song is a great fusion of our two writing styles.  I went to sleep Friday night very content and thankful to God for the wonderful team that He has blessed me with.

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More Tour

I supposed I lied when I said I was done touring for the semester, although I was done touring with HeartSong.  Last weekend, the Concert Chorale went on tour to the wonderful city of Akron, Ohio: my town.  I was SO EXCITED to be able to go to my home church to minister with the Chorale and stay at my own house for my host home.  The strange thing was seeing my roommate Rachel and my friends Jan and Emma sitting in my family room and around my kitchen table.  It was a weird fusion of realities for me.  But I was so happy to show them my home and my church and to see my parents and all of my good friends from church (and impress all of them with my high C).

That was Saturday night and Sunday morning; on Sunday night we sang at a church in Massilon, OH, and stayed in host families there.  It was very strange being in a host home with 5 other girls that weren't used to touring, but it was so fun to get to know the young couple we stayed with and talk to the wife about Cedarville.  It was also fun to stay in their guest room with my friend Kara and have a chance to talk to her about my life a little bit.  The next morning, we packed lunches and were on our way to Mansfield Christian School.

The school ministry was so fun!  This is something I haven't been able to do very much with HeartSong, but I really love being able to reach out to kids in their home environment and to bless them by performing with them and giving a little master class.  We sang for three different choirs of different age groups, and all three had very different responses, which was actually pretty cool.  We ate lunch with some of the kids before we headed back to Cedarville, just in time for me to teach a piano lesson.

Touring with the Chorale was so different from touring with HeartSong, but I could see the same passion for music and for God in my friends from Chorale as I see in my friends from HeartSong.  It was a good reminder that these passions are something we all share, and that someday all of these friends will be together in Heaven praising Jesus with one voice.

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No Shoes

Yesterday, April 5, was National One Day Without Shoes, sponsored by TOMS shoes.  In the past, I haven't paid much attention to this cause (or any cause like this, really).  At Cedarville, I am bombarded everyday with propaganda about different ministries and causes that need our time and our money. There is nothing bad about any of these; the problem comes when they start feeling like commercials and I just want to block them out like I do commercials.  But recently, especially after I started sponsoring a child, I have been intentionally paying attention to these different causes and organizations, praying for wisdom to know in which causes God would have me invest my time, money, and passion.  God has given me a heart for the people of South Africa and Lesotho, where my sponsor child is from, and particularly the problem of HIV/AIDS there as well as the problem of kids not having shoes to wear.  This is why I have chosen to sponsor with World Vision, who focuses on HIV/AIDS-affected communities, and to buy a pair of TOMS shoes, because for every pair of shoes TOMS sells, they give a pair to a child in a country like Lesotho who needs shoes.  Last Saturday, while I was shopping with HeartSong, I chose a pair of TOMS as my casual pair for that very reason.

When I found out that TOMS was sponsoring One Day Without Shoes, and that Cedarville was endorsing it as well, I decided I would try it.  I don't normally go barefoot; I'm usually running around summer camp in my tennis shoes.  I knew it would be a stretch for me, that it would be hard and uncomfortable. But I did it to raise awareness.  Actually, I didn't really go without shoes to raise awareness in the people around me who asked about it.  I was raising personal awareness.  I wanted to know what these kids go through every day: building callouses on their feet, getting cut up and sore from rough surfaces, and having some of the most disgusting feet.  By the end of the day, I had gone almost everywhere on campus without wearing shoes, and I was very aware of my sore, gross feet.  Today, I spent the entire day in my new TOMS, remembering that by buying these shoes, there is a child, maybe in Lesotho, who will soon be wearing new shoes as well.  I was very excited that I had made a real difference in that child's life.

God has given me a passion for the kids of South Africa who live in communities with high levels of HIV and AIDS or who don't have their own pair of shoes and go everywhere barefoot.  I have committed to spending my money and my time giving to these kids, either by sponsoring, buying TOMS, or in another way.  I was encouraged by a friend of mine who said that she was inspired by my wisdom to choose the causes that I would support and my passion to pursue and support these causes.  This wisdom and this passion come from my God, and I know that He will work through me to change children's lives.  I continue to pray for all the different causes and ministries I hear about on campus, that God would bless the people who choose to invest their lives in those causes and give them the same passion that He has given me.  When we are committed to following Christ and being used by Him, He will give us the passion He would desire us to have.  Then we must live it out!

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I hope you have enjoyed my three mini-blogs!  I am so excited to get to share what God is doing through me and through HeartSong; may He alone receive all the glory and praise for what He has done!  Soli Deo Gloria!!

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