Archive for March, 2009

From Sea to Shining Snow

For Spring Break this year I participated in a mission trip to South Padre Island called “Beach Reach.” It was actually started in 1980 by a professor here at W.T. named Buddy Young, a rather infamous Baptist Minister in charge of the Baptist Student Ministry here on Campus. This was the 30th spring break for Beach Reach, and my second excursion to the South.

And quite a Spring Break it was.
I wish I could sum it up in full, but just for a general idea, about 500 college students from across the nation, including about 150 from the Panhandle of Texas (students of W.T. and Amarillo College) load up and head to South Padre Island to give free van rides and breakfast to party-goers. It was an incredible oppertunity to serve the Spring Breakers, and to really live out the love that Christians always talk about having.
In addition to getting to know people from across the country, and serve along-side my peers from West Texas, I also got a remarkable tan.

It was actually sort of strange to come home to Canyon.

Friday March 2oth I was standing knee deep in the Gulf of Mexico, waves crashing into the middle of me. I could taste the salt of the ocean, and feel the sun coat my back and arms like a soft, fleece snuggie. My hair was pulled back, and my tank top left a white shadow of itself, pefectly outlined by the South Padre sun.

Friday March 27th, I was diving off of back-yard fences into eight foot snow drifts, digging tunnels like a snow-gopher, and sliding down snow hills on cardboard boxes bundled beneath layers and layers of long johns, thermal tees and ski jackets.

A freak-post-spring-break blizzard engulfed my college town this weekend, and we were delightfully suprised with a campus-shut-down snow day.

I managed to gather 15 of my closest friends by noon and we were all carrying cardboard make-shift sleds to the hill behind Walmart.  I do say this though, my tan was even more remarkable against the fluffy white powder backdrop.

It was quite literally one of the greatest weekends of my life.

My friends and I were all excused from our obligations due to the snow, and we got to play for seven plus hours making snow tunnels, summer saulting, sliding on ice patches, assulting cars, peers and strangers with snowballs, going on long walks, making snow-ice-cream, snow-men, and snow-angels outside of Old Main. We plummetted down the hill behind Walmart on our cardboard sleds, attempted two-man summer salts, made s’mores on a chimineah and watched the snow coat everything and everyone well into the ungodly early hours of Saturday morning.

It was absolutely majestic.
I’m blown away by God’s creation.
To go from holding my breath and being tossed about by the strength of ocean waves, to being overtaken by icy-chills on a midnight walk through the feilds of perfect white snow can only be attributed to how Great a Creator I live to serve.

It was epic.
Just how epic? Perhaps the photos below will help explain…

Here is me and some other ladies from WT being pretty on the beach. (If this picture doesn’t get us husbands, I don’t know what will.)

some WT girls at the beach

This was on the hill behind Walmart, shortly after “Hungry” John and I attempted a two-person summersalt. I’m in the green and blue boots. My head is being squished.

snow

From Sea to Snow, my buddies at West Texas A&M are for sure the best around.
Here’s to living the dream with ya’ll.

Cheers.

A New Year of Culture Shock Part 2

Culture shock can be defined as a condition of disorientation affecting someone who is suddenly exposed to an unfamiliar culture or way of life or set of attitudes. If any of ya’ll have ever experienced culture shock then you most likely agree with this definition. In my last post I mentioned how, while in China, I experienced culture shock.

Although the city I was in had about two million people, the atmosphere was completely relaxed and calm. The pace of life, unlike the U.S., was slow, efficient, and effective. You either walked or took the bus, while sometimes taking a taxi. The stress of traffic, gas prices, and flat tires did not exist. If you wanted to go somewhere you just hopped on the bus, received the joy of meeting a stranger, and in a few minutes you were at your destination.
Continue reading ‘A New Year of Culture Shock Part 2’

Spring Break!

Spring Break could not possibly come at a better time!  It just seems like every class has everything going on the weeks leading up to Spring Break, making a week off so much more relaxing.  No matter what a student does, whether it is road tripping, vacationing, staying in the big city of Canyon, or even working, a week without the worries of school is highly rewarding. 

A group of WT students, including myself, really try and use their spring break to help others.  The event I am writing of is Beach Reach.  Beach Reach finds its origin here at WT, founded by the BSM director Buddy Young.  Beach Reach is a servant evangelism project that takes place every spring break.  Groups of Christian students gather from all over Texas, and several surrounding states.  They gather at South Padre Island to help students that are there for Spring Break.  Beach Reachers offer van rides at night, free pancakes at night and in the morning, and help students in whatever way possible. 

Group Picture

The van rides are a huge hit.  With the Island being packed with students, it is hard to drive, and many are incapable of walking far distances.  With free pancakes being offered, who can resist?  College students will never pass up a free meal.  The experience is truly life changing, because the students involved with Beach Reach feel like they have made their spring break count for something greater than themselves.  You are able to meet people from all over the nation and share the love of God.  When opportunities arise, students present a gospel message to show to the spring breakers just how much more God loves them.

So as we all go off to different locations, I hope that you will remember what exciting things students from WT are doing with their spring break.  Keep them in your thoughts and prayers, along with the people on South Padre.  Safety is always a number one concern, and with offering these free van rides it helps to keep students safe.  I’m sure this year will be better than ever, and a spring break to truly remember.  The spring break opportunities are endless!

 Sand Sculpture

A New Year of Culture Shock

After witnessing twenty two New Years celebrations, I have decided that celebrating the New Year is pretty pointless. Why do we celebrate a new year but not a new month or week or day? Some might say, “You lived through another year, you should celebrate!” If that is the case should you not celebrate every morning when you wake up? God gave me another day to live, praise Him! Can I start the morning off with some champagne and fireworks…most likely not. Living by social norms is so boring isn’t it?

New years resolutions are probably the most annoying thing about all of it. I am pretty sure the tradition of a new year’s resolution was made so people could feel better about themselves. It’s a new year I am going on diet, I am going to start running, I am going to spend less money, or I am not going to watch as much T.V. That is great until month four rolls around and you are back to being a broke lazy glutton. I find it funny when someone makes a more or less life changing, or highly altering choice, just because some random day like January 1st rolls around. If you really want to start losing weight or stop being so lazy you will make that choice based on your own personal convictions on whatever day they tend to arise. People wonder why they always fail at keeping a new year’s resolution. Well maybe if you actually wanted to keep it in the first place, because you realized in your heart that there was something wrong that needed fixed, you would. And maybe it would help if you didn’t make a ridiculous resolution like, “I’m going to run five miles a day and only watch thirty minutes of T.V. a week, just because today in January 1st”. My friend Brea made a resolution, last year, not to eat French fries. She didn’t go on an all out diet or decided to exercise for ten hours a day. She decided to do something small and easy. I was with her when 2008 was officially over and she could eat French fries again, we were here:
image01

Actually, we were in a McDonalds close to that, which is the Hong Kong harbor, but that is beside the point. The thing is, she accomplished her goal because it wasn’t something she did just because it was the New Year. Her choice in not eating French fries was not made to impress other people or just to feel good about knowing she made a new year’s resolution. To sum up 400 words, if you really want to do something don’t wait around, make the initiative to do it and get it done. Also, don’t make a new years resolution just because everyone else is and you think you might impress someone. You won’t.

For the first time, this Christmas break, I experienced culture shock. I was able to visit China for two weeks over the break and it was quite the experience. I’m sure when you think of China, you might think of the Olympics in Beijing, Yao Ming, and the Great Wall or you might think of the U.S. buying 321.5 billion dollars worth of imports from China, the communist revolution of 1945-49, or maybe the significance of the Han dynasty. Either way, everyone has preconceived notions and ideas of China, or anywhere or anything for that matter.

Before I went, I had my own preconceived notions and ideas of China as well. Little did I know, they would be blown out of the water and once again I would be forced to accept my ignorance of the world. In a “small” city roughly the size of Houston, you would expect sky scrapers, bustling crowds of pedestrians, and a constant excess of noise right? For about two weeks I was in a city that, on average, has about as much noise pollution as Canyon does. Looking out over the city you might see something like this:
n76903567_30859181_9436

Or if you look out from the window of the hotel room I stayed in you might see this:
image02

Or of course, you might come into contact with a random mountain jutting out of the ground in the middle of a group of buildings, such as this:
image03

Since there are eighteen college campuses in the city I went to, the majority of my time was spent on a college campus like this one:
image041

Or this one:
image05

We talked a couple times in a classroom but most of the time was spent just hanging out on campus meeting students. Whether it was playing ping pong outside in the thirty degree weather,
image06

Watching badminton inside,
image07

Or attending class with new Chinese friends
image08

we were slowly immersed into Chinese culture and a very different way of life. Even though the food might be a little different
image09

and the language is unspeakable as well as unreadable,
image10

the friends I made in China are very much like the friends I have here in the state. It didn’t matter if I was playing Counter Strike with some guys in a LAN café
image11

or sipping tea while looking over one of the four lakes in the city,
image12

I realized no matter where you are in the world, people still have hopes, desires, ambitions, they still laugh, they still cry, they still feel joy, they still feel pain, and probably most important of all they have a life full of very different experiences that you can learn from if you stop thinking about yourself for five minutes and open your mind to a world outside of your own.

If you remember, earlier in this post, I mentioned how I experienced culture shock. The thing is, being in China did not bring about the culture shock. The irony is, the culture shock came when I left. Although that statement might be confusing, ill explain it in another post at another time so keep checking the blog to read more!