Week Two: Soaking It In

Well, it’s Sunday. Thank goodness for a weekend to relax and refuel and try to figure out a few of the thoughts swirling around in my head. And this was such a great place to be yesterday as our whole class headed out to the beach, and just spent the day adventuring and relaxing in the sunshine.

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This has been an incredible week. So busy, so many new adventures, so much laughter and bonding. And so much heart stimulation and tears, both happy and sad, as we discover the love of the Lord and the pain of the hurting people around the world, and how to connect the two.

Bonds with roommates and classmates are deepening as we discover each other’s hurts, failures, and triumphs; rearrange rooms together; celebrate birthdays together; work hard together; fall in love with God together; and dream big dreams together.

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(One of my girls, Jenny, and I enjoying some well-deserved ice cream at our on-campus cafe. Seriously the best thing ever.)

Another bonding experience we had this week was choosing our outreach teams! We were presented with three options for outreach (starting end of March, running to end of May) on Tuesday, and had just over 24 hours to consider and pray and then submit our preferences. Our team leaders now have to make the ultimate decision, and we hope to know for sure sometime soon! I guess the next little while will be an exercise in patience. ;)

Then, also this week we started a weekly class in international health care and medical missions. I seriously love learning about Jesus. SO MUCH. But my heart just started pounding when this class began.
I remember being in nursing school and learning about the Millennium Development Goals, basically the United Nations’ eight goals to improve life in developing countries around the world by the year 2015.
These include:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
2. Achieve universal primary education.
3. Promote gender equality and empower women.
4. Reduce child mortality.
5. Improve maternal health.
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases.
7. Ensure environmental stability.
8. Global partnership for development.
(for more information, check out http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/)

As I sat in our medical missions class on Tuesday afternoon, hearing the speaker discuss primary health care, child mortality, immunization schedules, and worldviews related to global health care, I had a sudden realization…
I get to be a part of this.
In less than two months, I’ll be headed for one of those developing nations, and taking an active role in attempting to achieve those millennium development goals. What a privilege to use my gifts and my knowledge, education, and skill to improve health not only in my northern Canadian community, but around the world.
I can’t wait.

But until then, there’s a lot of growing and learning I need to do. So much of that happens during the week, and especially during our morning classes, where we discover a whole lot about ourselves and about the God who has called us here.

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(For all  you people thinking I just sit around on the beach… here’s the reality. I don’t. Not quite, anyway. ;) I still have homework, and while it’s less than in nursing school (haha), it’s still a notable amount. Here was one of my study spots this week…. with a vanilla chai frappe and a view of the ocean. I can handle this.)

Our speaker this week was Donna Jordan, a lady clearly in love with the Lord, who speaks all over the world on the topic of listening to God and hearing His voice. She has a heart for seeing young (and not so young, heehee) people all over the world discover who they really are and how they are so loved by their Creator, by teaching us ways to hear Him better.

It was an honour to be in her class this week, but even more of an honour to hear from the Lord myself. He has been speaking to me about so many things, and I wish you (yes, you!) and I could grab a smoothie and chat about them here. But, hey, it’s a blog post. So I’d better include a bit of the good stuff.
Basically, we are so incredibly loved by the Lord. Even if you doubt. Even if you’ve scorned God. Even if you’ve hung out with Christians, been burned by Christians, been a Christian for many years, thought about God a little, done terrible stuff, done awesome stuff, God loves you. Not because of anything you have or haven’t done, but because you are you. You were created by Him (and not just kinda thrown together with the half-used bits of clay left over in His workshop… created wonderfully and carefully into a beautiful masterpiece.). And you have never stopped being loved by Him. Even if you run, even if you fail (like I seem to do all the time), even if you mess it up. He still loves you just the same, and yearns to be with you and hear from you and speak to you and show you some of the dreams He has for your life.

This week, I did a lot of asking Him what he thinks of me. And I was absolutely blown away with the response.
All I can say is, I’ve never been more in love with the Lord. But He’s always been this in love with me. He just had to bring me to this point to get my attention.

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As my one dear friend here put it, “we get wrecked by Jesus during the week and spend the weekend recuperating.”
Amen, sista. Aaamen.
Welcome to my life. ;)

But someplace in all the classes and homework and such, we find time for adventures. I met my first beach this week, and then my second beach, and then my third… After snorkeling, letting my white northern Canadian winter skin soak in some sunshine, wading and swimming in the ocean, watching some incredible sunsets, getting sticky with ocean salt, giving up on trying to control my hair in this humidity, and getting sand all over, I’m slowly getting used to the fact that I actually live here. So crazy.

I also met some new friends, most of whom aren’t very talkative. But hey, they’re cute.

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I also really, really love these girls. Maybe it’s the trauma theory, where going through the same traumatic (haha) circumstances together bonds you for life, but I already love these girls so much. Casey (with the awesome Aladdin pants) and Dani (all the way from Germany) are some of those girls. Thanks for them, Lord. Can’t wait to discover and adventure so much more with them over the next few months!

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I’ve also looooved reading all the encouraging little notes in my journal, penned by the wonderful people who sent me off with a great goodbye party, and while they almost make me cry every time, I just love knowing that I am supported and loved by such a great community at home. I love you guys too. Know that some postcards are in the works. :)

Well, I have an assignment due tomorrow morning that I really need to work on. Sounds a little like nursing school all over again. ;) Drop me a line if you like.. I love to hear from you, even if I might not reply right away!

So much love. <3 Jenn

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