Monday, September 27, 2010

Update From Across the Ocean...

For those of you who want some news on my sister and the developments in Ukraine, click here! She just posted a bunch of great pictures from their life overseas!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Hi everyone!

I'm sorry I've been so remiss to update my blog this past week! It's not for lack of material - just lack of time!

This past week has been especially busy with school and extra activities. I had a phonetics exam, a grammar exam, a dialogue presentation to give by memory, and a Bible verse to quote in Spanish for class all on top of the usual home work load! Additionally, I have been able to get involved in the music ministry here and thus, rehearsals for a string quartet, clarinet trio, and other piano accompaniment opportunities have filled my calendar as well. Yesterday, we had a full day between a school-wide evangelism opportunity in the morning and a volleyball tournament in the evening. Yes, life has been busy!

God has been teaching me so much these last few weeks. One of the biggest lessons I have been learning is His desire - yes, even His predestination for my life - to conform me to the image of His Son, Jesus. Contrary to popular opinion, happiness and smooth roads are not the goal in life in God's estimation. He wants me to be like Christ. This means teaching me humility when I would usually feel to be a servant to another when I would prefer to sit back and be to think well of another person rather than judging them because they are different than me. Even though these lessons are not easy to learn, I am so grateful that God loves me enough to change me. The beautiful thing is, by learning these lessons and surrendering to the Master Potter, joy is experienced!

I have many more things I wish to share with you all, including pictures and videos of recent happenings, but so much of that depends on time and a strong internet signal. Stay tuned!

In the meanwhile, please stay in touch! It is always a joy to hear from you.

May the Lord bless your week with His presence and the ability to see Him at work in your life!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Video

Well, I finally had a strong enough internet signal to upload the second part to a chapel special that I had hoped to share long ago! Here is part two of a beautiful song about the Lord's relationship with us!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Peek Into My Saturday...

It's Saturday around here. Usually that means sleeping in after a late night of sports at the cancha. Today, it meant waking up early to eat breakfast with a friend because sometimes friends are more important than sleep. :)

In the quiet of my dark room, I stumbled around pulling on jeans and a tee-shirt and trying to brush my teeth without waking my roommate. By the time I slipped my key into my pocket, padded downstairs, and snuck out into the peaceful, sunny morning waiting outside, I was fully awake. I walked over to the dining hall and found it unusual sight for the normally bustling campus hangout spot. I was a little early, so I availed myself of the opportunity to play a few hymns of worship on the beautiful grand piano in the building. Little by little, a few others trickled into the dining hall for the sparsely attended Saturday morning breakfast hour.

And then my friend arrived. We had a nice breakfast with the others at our table and I was glad I had come. An hour later, I returned to my still dark, still quiet room where my roommate was still sleeping. I switched on my little desk light and spent some time reading the Psalms and Proverbs. I wanted to pray but I was so tired. I crawled back into bed, pulled the blankets up over my head and enjoyed a most delightful hour of prayer-rest. This is my term for time spent talking to the Lord while dozing in and out of sleep. It is really quite refreshing and highly recommended for quiet Saturdays!

Soon, Samantha began to stir and eventually went about her morning routine for getting ready for the day. Only it wasn't morning anymore. It was nearly 12:00 noon and both of our tummies were rumbling! I pulled myself out of bed, finally feeling energetic enough to face the day...or at least what was left of it. :)

Another trip to the dining hall. This time, it was bustling with life as many students arrived for the all important mid-day meal. We were a lively crowd this time, talking and laughing in English and Spanish alike while devouring huevos rancheros.

Afterward, I returned to my room and commenced the usual Saturday afternoon activities; catching up on emails, reading/writing blog posts, listening to classical music while doing homework, making phone calls, and studying for several tests that I have coming up this week.

Now, it is 2:33 p.m. I will probably practice some music this afternoon and then I will meet up with a friend to study for our phonetics test together. After dinner, there will be more volleyball practice at the cancha since next week is the first weekend in a big school-wide tournament.

I love Saturdays...

More Songs of Praise

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Songs of Praise

Wedding Fun

Today at school, we all got to witness a beautiful wedding ceremony as part of our school day! In celebration of their 25th anniversary, a married couple who are students in the Bible Institute renewed their vows in a full-fledged wedding complete with white dress, rings, a sermon, and special music! The Pastoral Ministry class organized the event as part of their course work. It was both a lovely and lively experience!

The officiating ministers and the groom. Left to right: David Loyola (dean of the Bible Institute), Williams the groom, Manny Gutierrez (dean of the Language School)

David Luna, Master of Ceremonies

Everyone is ready!

Here comes the bride --- and the groom!

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Beautiful Truth

"Indeed, none of us has anything we have not been given. Even if in service to God I lose my life and pour out all my blood, yet at my beginning He gave me every drop, and still I have given Him nothing and owe Him all. Existence itself, every loving word, every sunrise, every blossom, every star - and beyond and before all, the blood of Christ that sets me free from the fear of Hell to enjoy all - all these are from Him. I can only praise and thank Him, never repay Him."

~ Maiden Veril, Ashes of Our Joy

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Week In Nutshell

Music rehearsals.
Spanish conversations.
Much-needed time with God.

These are the activities that have filled my week.

Hopefully, I will have more to post about soon! :-)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quick Update!

Well, it's been a great Labor Day weekend!

My parents came down for the weekend and I had a wonderful time introducing them to my crazy fun Latino world here! They stayed on campus in the guest quarters which made for a very convenient experience. Our time together included meals in the dining hall with the student body, a royal tour of the campus, ping-pong at the student center, late night sports at the cancha, and taking them to my new Spanish church. The weekend provided lots of opportunities for translation as they speak very little Spanish. What an encouragement it was to see the progress that has been made in these last four weeks as I was able to translate conversations and sermons for them! God is so good!

It was great to see Mom and Dad again and spend quality time together. I am so grateful they were able to come visit!

Would you believe, I forgot to take ANY pictures while they were here?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Learning a Language; Part 6 - Conclusion

The missionary handbook, Learning a Foreign Language, has been a delight to read! I have found it to be fascinating, insightful, and extremely practical as I begin this journey toward fluency in the Spanish language. It has given me the perspective that no language is impossible to learn with the right methodology and plenty of time diligently devoted to the effort. It has encouraged me to remember that learning a language is the key to reaching people with the Gospel and therefore, all the hard work will be worth it. This book has also provided me with an abundance of ideas for the best strategy in tackling the language-learning process.

Some of the ideas I have benefitted from the most include the importance of listening constantly, both passively and selectively, the importance of throwing myself into the Spanish language as much as possible, and the constantly uttered phrase, “To learn to speak, one must speak!” I have taken this advice to heart and found much opportunity for application here at RGBI. Listening opportunities abound on campus around the table at meal times, in the dorms with friends, and at the “cancha” on weekend nights. In addition to attending every student activity possible for the purpose of constant exposure, I have begun listening to music in Spanish as much as possible when in my dorm room. I have also committed to sitting in on the Apologetics class every Monday night here on campus solely for the purpose of listening practice. Ironically, this class has turned out to be one of my favorites! As for speaking, I am forcing myself to use the Spanish language in conversation as much as possible with my roommate, with friends, and with teachers in class. I appreciate the book’s advice to not let embarrassment or the fear of being wrong stop me from opening my mouth and speaking. Even though I make constant mistakes, I am finding that the more I speak and get corrected, the faster I am learning! In conclusion, the book, Learning a Foreign Language, has proven to be an excellent resource for which I am grateful to have read!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

And the Flags Fly High!

On Monday mornings around here, flags from each nation represented at the school are hoisted up the flag poles creating a colorful circle of international beauty. I just love to see all the flags flying high!

Sebastian raises the Mexican flag.

David raises the Canadian flag.

All flags present and accounted for!

A circle of nations.

The people represented by such nations.

This poster hangs in the school foyer as
a poignant reminder for why we are here...

Student Life

This is the break room where we gather from 10:00-10:15 every morning for popcorn, ping-pong, and quick chit-chat!

Chris and Erika Cisler - future missionaries to Uruguay with BIMI

Lunch Time!

Grammar Class