My name is Jen Brown and I attended the 1st internationa Vida in Qingdao, where the mountains meet the sea. I was super-duper privledged to sing on the worship team because "He is the music in me".
Okay, if you've been to Vida, you understand the above statement. Well, except for the end. I didn't get to sit at a table, so I made up my own thing.
For those of you who don't know, Vida is a retreat created for students to have an intense weekend-long connecting with Christ. We study His death, burial, resurrection, and several other key ingredients in our relatioship with Him. Communion is taken, repentance is sought, praise and worship is sung (sometimes yelled and sometimes whispered), servanthood is mirrored...it's an amazing experience.
To see high schoolers with so much potential, oozing with leadership and a desire to serve Christ, man, it is a powerful thing.
On our first night, after learning about Christ's death, the students are taken into a room where there is a wooden cross in the middle of the room surrounded by hammers and nails. After prayer and scripture reading, they have the opportunity to write down sins that they've asked forgiveness for, take that paper and nail it to the cross. When they are finished, they walk to the front of the room and have their hands washed by someone. Probably one of the most touching moments all weekend was having my hands washed by a young woman who was weeping as she washed. She "got it". She understood the symbol of what she was doing. It was so moving to me, to see a young woman truly understand what Christ has done for us. I don't think it happens very often. I don't think we often "get it".
There are many more things that happened but I don't want to spoil the surprise...
Needless to say, it was a wonderfully exhausting weekend. De Colores!!!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I'm a traveling maniac these days. I've been to Beijing twice and a ladies retreat in the last week. I leave for another retreat on Friday. I will be home for two days and then leave for Egypt on Wednesday. I have two partially full suitecases sitting on my floor waiting to be unpacked or repacked depending on how un-lazy I am (they're going to be there forever). It's irritating because I'm constantly tripping over them. You would think that would motivate me to put them away, but no, I just work on being more careful.
This is a crazy time for me right now. Besides all the traveling, I'm involved in a Women's group, leading worship at my fellowship, sponsoring an after school club, leading up and planning for our school's biggest event- our MUN conference, and teaching an AP World History course and three MUN classes. My plate is FULL.
I've been told by many people that I need to let some of my responsibilities go so that life isn't such a whirlwind. I look at that list and I see nothing that I can get rid of. I have to do my job (traveling, AP course, conference planning, club) and well, the ministry stuff is too important to me. Yes, I get that I don't have to do the church stuff. I could let leading worship or the study go. They would go on very successfully without me. It's just...I refuse to allow my job to become my life. I refuse to let it take everything from me. Don't get me wrong, I like my job (most of the time), but I want to have other things to do, things I enjoy doing. I want to have ministry outside of school. It's kind of rebellious, I suppose. I would rather have too much to do than allow my life to only consist of my job. The outside stuff is what keeps me sane, not just because of what it is, but because it allows me a break from my work. A much needed break.
Some of you are thinking, "Well, your job is your ministry." Yes, true. Teaching is a ministry but it's also a lot of work. A lot of stress. A lot more than I bargained for. But my passion is church ministry, it always has been. So, I'm keeping it. I'm doing the extra stuff. I'm going to run myself ragged. The end is in sight. I can last another 7 weeks. It is hard but it's not TOO hard...or maybe it is. But it'll get done. And hopefully, it'll get done well. HE's been faithful so far. HE's provided helpers and circumstances and encouragement all along the way. I have no doubt that HE'll see me through.
I realize this post makes no sense but these are my thoughts these days and I need to flesh (right context?) them out.
Some side notes...
I went to BEIJING for several days last week with my students for an MUN conference. We were supposed to get home Sunday night but due to SNOW!, our flight was canceled and we came back yesterday. I would just like to mention that I was able to get tickets for 18 people, check our baggage, get correct information, refund 18 tickets, get our baggage back, purchase new tickets, get transportation and lodging on a moment's notice, get back to the airport, get on the plane and home all within a foreign country. Yes, I had chaperones that helped but it was a freeing moment. One of those, "Wow, I really can do this. I can live here and survive even in an incredibly frustrating circumstance. And I can make it work."
Also on the trip to Beijing, I had two ladies helping me chaperone, both I didn't know extrememly well. We had an amazing time together. I have never laughed so much in such a short time in my life. You know me, I love to laugh. But this was not normal. We were hysterical, tears streaming, mouths agape, faces red, falling down lauging for most of the trip. Over nothing most of the time. It was a very exhausting and stressful weekend so I suppose it was either laugh or cry. And laugh we did. It was oh, so much fun.
We leave for Egypt next week. I. Can't. Wait. We're only taking 7 students and we have grand plans. We'll be going to an MUN conference, visiting the Giza pyramids, shopping at Bazzaars, walking through mosques, floating down the Nile in falucas (boats)...I have an amazing job.
I'm considering cutting my hair. Any suggestions?
Did you know it's like 90 degrees in Cairo right now?
I have three tubes of carmex by my bed right now. How sad is that?
Enough. Goodnight my friends!
P.S. I think someone from Apopka, FL is blogger-stalking me?