We have arrived!08 Aug 2018
It has been a while since my last update, but we have safely arrived in Pittsburgh! The last two weeks of training were pretty intense, and were more difficult than the first week. Some things we did:
-Course 101 drilling, which was not getting destroyed but a chance to get coached on how to present the material by some of our most seasoned instructors. -more cooking camp: we made meatloaf, chili, dakjim, pork roast, kimbap, and katsu. -going on a prayer retreat to prayer mountain and reading Humility. -Finishing memorizing 2 Timothy and taking a quiz -Joyworld babysitting: This was a really good learning experience as I don’t consider myself that good with kids. I feel like I can’t relate to them on their level–the prideful part of me doesn’t want to get down on their level and do stuff that I consider “silly”. It was a crazy experience to get tossed into a classroom of 15 K-2nd graders and entertain them from 5:30-10:30 on a Friday! But I got to see and appreciate a lot of what went on every Friday so people could reach out to me and build up my experience of a2f. Joyworld takes a lot of work, thought, and energy to plan engaging activities and constantly manage the kids. -Sierra Lodge trip with all the other first-year interns and the entire Berkeley College team! It was crazy to have all 160ish of us at Sierra Lodge, but it was so much fun, including an inter-class sports competition
Here is an email I wrote about our first couple days in the East Coast:
It’s our one-week anniversary in the East Coast! I miss you all a lot! Our send-off was really touching and I was amazed by how many people came to say goodbye and all the thoughtful words and cards we received. It didn’t feel real that we were leaving, but I was thankful for all the relationships God had blessed me with over the last four years. I know that I was often hard to love and neglectful of my relationships, but it’s amazing that God has placed so many of you in my life.
When we arrived in Baltimore, Pastor Timothy and Alice picked us up at the airport and we went on a tour of UMD! The UMD and GMU teams welcomed us just like family, cooking us so much food and getting to know us, even though few of us knew them personally before this. We spent the next few days training with Pastor Will and Alice and the other East Coast CPIs, touring DC monuments, the Capitol, and the Bible museum. These days were really really precious just getting to know each other, getting to know Pastor Will and Esther, having a LOT of fun, hearing the word of God, and praying for each other. I was so thankful that Pastor Will and Esther were willing to spend those two whole days with us even though they’re the EC Leads and must be so busy. They were so much fun to be around and I appreciated all their wisdom and love.
We also had a one day EC rally where I got to meet a lot of the other EC church plant members who I only previously heard stories about or saw on Thanksgiving Retreat videos. It was cool to experience that sense of unity with the others I had just met, knowing that we were committing to strive side by side for the east coast. We heard a bible study on Saul and Pastor Will challenged us again to really depend on God and be driven by our relationship with him and listening to his word.
The retreat was a lot of fun, but it got real when we all separated and got into our cars to drive to our different locations. Olivia, Jana, and I were warmly welcomed by the team, who were all really excited to meet us!
We have a HUGE apartment only a 5-10 minute walk from CMU campus! However, Pittsburgh only allows 3-4 unrelated people to live in an apartment, and we have 7 sisters living there, so we need to talk to the landlord and beg them to allow us to live there. The entire East Coast is very hot and humid right now, which takes some getting used to, although Pittsburgh is less humid.
So far, we have hung out a lot with our lead(Judy) at her house, doing personal reading, running errands, helping unpack, set up, and clean. We toured campus and also went to check out different classrooms and venues yesterday. We’ve eaten A LOT of food and ice cream! We’ve been to an Asian market, the grocery store, and an ice cream place but haven’t had a chance to check out Pittsburgh for real yet. Campus is heavily under construction right now, a tiny campus with big buildings with a lot of nooks and crannies(we did a ~4-5 hour exploration yesterday!)
I’m thankful for how my motivations and faith are really challenged out here. It’s so clear what my Christian life has to be about because everything else–my friends, the big community, our old structure, the beautiful weather and scenery of Alameda, the perks and comforts, the familiarity of home– are all stripped away. I never really thought of life in Alameda/Berkeley/HB as comfortable but now I’m getting to see just how privileged we were in Berkeley church! Out here, here’s nothing else besides our small team, prayer, and God’s word to turn to, so I’m looking forward to really grow to treasure those things.
We’re receiving so much grace from the team and older sisters who are loving us, treating us to food, furnishing/getting all the stuff for the apartment, giving us rides… For me, it’s a temptation to feel pressure to perform–“they’re giving us so much, so I better work to deserve it”, “They’re so excited for us to be here and I don’t want to disappoint them”, and I have to correct this thinking with the gospel, that I’m a sinner and they know that, but they love us and want to extend us grace. I’ve already gotten to see more of my sin, my pride and selfishness manifested in relational conflict, my laziness and lack of servanthood manifested in how I disdain menial tasks, my insecurity and lack of trust in God. It’s through seeing those things that I could deepen in my appreciation of the gospel and love of God and let that fuel me every day. Pushing my body, working on relationships, trying to keep up a good attitude with little rest is difficult, and when ministry starts, it’ll be even harder. It’s easy to try to just psych myself up for it, but it really isn’t sustainable without the gospel and being strengthened by God.
Our team meets every night to work and pray. Ministry hasn’t even started yet, but we’re trying to bathe the semester in prayer. Angell and Judy are new to the campus too, so we’re trying to develop a heart for the students so that no matter what we face, we would just try to love them. CMU students are very smart, involved, and ambitious, with little in their schedule or bandwidth left over to think about the big questions.
Prayer requests: *Please pray hard for our housing that the landlord would have mercy and let us live there! *For the incoming students to be spiritually open *For us to be an encouragement and strength to each other *For me to grow in my heart for God, appreciation of the gospel, and willingness to do whatever is needed rather than just the most “important” things