oregon I & II... and so much more

I have no idea how I am going to fit the past 16 days into one post. It's already technically Monday, but this is still my Sunday post (just past midnight, okay?).

TeenPact Oregon I

The first week of TeenPact in Oregon was a blast, working with Quin Cools, Ben Edmonds, Tara Pattengale, Lauren Reavely, Adam McDaniels, Christian Edmonds, Christine Cools, Autumn Johnson, and my fantastic sister, Macaela.  The class itself was filled with so many different kinds of people: students I knew so well, and others I'd never met.
TP Oregon Governors - 2009-2012

It was such a wonderful experience to lead a committee with Autumn, getting to spend more time with her and learn about what an incredible person she is. Also, leading Judicial Review with Tara was faaaaantastic. So fun, so special. Oh, and the one-dayers were adorable. 

Each morning before the class, I read through 1 John. It's a book that I had never spent much time in before, but I discovered it to be a wealth of encouragement, challenge, and love. John is so clear in this book about what he means, and states his purpose of simply proving to Christians what a life of a believer looks like.

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."

"Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did."

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them." 

"We love because he first loved us." 

TeenPact Oregon II

FIHI Committee
After a day of rest, a trip to the beach, and a transition of Ben, Autumn, and Macaela with Thomas McGuire and Sierra McClain, Week 2 began. Everything I'd learned from each of the four previous classes this year culminated in this week. While things weren't perfect, I felt so blessed. The students were wonderful, the staff team was marvelous, and I was stretched. Leading the FIHI committee and the lobbyists field experience (with no lobbyists...) was a challenge at first, but it was so much fun to push through and depend on God. Because I definitely did. Plus, being a co-master of elections with Miss Lauren Reavely was superb, as we learned to pretty much fly with minimal preparation. But hey, it takes great risks to do great things! And overall, we had a splendid time. 

I finished up the week helping to teach the PCW (Political Communications Workshop) with Tommy, which was honestly a fantastic day. I loved sharing my passion for public speaking, and for the power of effectively communicating the gospel. The most interesting observation I took from that day was gleaned from our speaker, Colm Willis, the Director of the PAC for Oregon Right to Life. As he spoke on life issues life abortion and euthanasia, I kept hearing how he brought everything back to love. Abortion, he said, could be best combated by all of us simply showing love to the men and women involved in an unexpected pregnancy; love would cause them to feel empowered, befriended, and valued. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, many people feel that assisted suicide is their best option because they feel like a burden, or feel that life has no value anymore. If we would love these people, we could cause them to see the joy and purpose of life. No wonder that the greatest commandments Jesus gave us were to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Love. It's a lesson I'll never stop learning. 

TeenPact Oregon, it was wonderful knowing you. I prayed continually that God would use you to change lives. For the glory of God, I still pray that many souls are living differently, determined to know Jesus more. That is my aim.

Destiny and Jasmine!

So, more posts and new pictures will follow soon. But essentially, mom and dad finally got to meet Destiny and Jasmine yesterday (my two new sisters - adoption!!). They had a wonderful time in the two days they spent together, and I cannot wait to meet them on Tuesday! Life will never be the same, and it's exciting. But I know that God has so much more to teach me, especially about love. Love is unconditional, not based on moods, not based on circumstances or others' reactions. Love can't be manufactured by trying harder and harder to care for someone; it's a manifestation of Jesus. Please pray for me, for our whole family as we prepare to make the biggest transition we'll probably ever make. I know some parts will be wonderful, some parts will be tough, but if I can learn to love others and love Jesus more, it will be so much more than worth it. 




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