What a week in Lynchburg, Virginia at TeenPact Judicial. So many new experiences, new friends, and new lessons learned as I staffed this fantastic event, helping many brilliant teens learn about the judicial system, constitutional law, appellate courts, the 8th amendment, writing briefs, and much more. In all, it was a phenomenal week of challenges and rewards. Here a few of the "firsts" from my week at TeenPact Judicial:

Pumping gas. Yeah, crazy, I know. But since we don't pump our own gas in Oregon, Stephen showed me how it's done.

Experiencing a Moot Court Tournament. I've done tons of Team Policy Debate, but moot court is totally different. I helped to coordinate the tournament and judged one round, and I was amazed at how confident and skilled many of the students were after just a few days of preparation. (Debaters, imagine trying to get your entire 1AC delivered, but the judge can interject questions whenever they feel like it. Skill, I tell you).

Ultimate Ice Frisbee. Yes, we played Ultimate Frisbee in an ice skating rink. Literally one of the most awesome things I've done - new favorite sport!

Eating pudding with chopsticks. Not as hard as it sounds. China, here I come.

Staff pictures at 2:30 a.m. Let's just say that God really came through for us, giving us way more energy than we should have had for the amount of sleep we got that week. And we weren't doing any better as the week came to a close, and we realized Ryan would be flying out too early for pictures. So...

Red-eye flight. However, I may have gotten more sleep on that flight than at the class...

But not everything was a first. Some of the most wonderful things were ones that God seems to provide every time.

Incredible staff. Mr. Williams, Stephen Blunk, Ryan Funkhouser, and Morgan Hatfield were some the best people I could ask for as teammates this week. They always had my back, always supported me, and always made me laugh. Friends for life.

Unbelievable students. I met thirty-six other teens with so much potential that even Liberty Law School's own professors took the time to come and teach them. All so different, but so special, I'm honored to even be their friends. Together, we had so much fun doing random and hilarious things, but also going deep in conversation topics. From Hawaii, Illinois, Colorado, Texas, North Carolina, Florida, Maryland, and even more, they were one of the greatest groups of students I've been blessed to hang out with.

Divine opportunities. Particularly on my flights home, but at the class as well, I saw God give me clear opportunities to exhort, encourage, and speak the truth. I got to talk with a lady on the plane about the recent healthcare act, which led into the role of the government and the church, which led into a discussion of how we should live as Christians. Another older woman sat next to me in the airport, and shared with me that she was returned home from burying her mother of 95 years. I shared with her about my story and how the loss of Jimmy Brazell changed my life as I learned to trust God and cling to the hope we have in Him. I told her what Mr. Brazell had said, "Life is short whether you have 19 years or 80." And I led her to John 14, a passage that had been read the night before during our closing worship session, where Jesus comforts His disciples. We prayed together as she boarded her flight, and I'll probably never see her again. But it was so clear that God put her there for 10 minutes because she needed His love. And I'm so blessed to be a part of it.

Jesus, You continue to amaze me. As I reminded the students, the only important part of life is knowing You. I want to know You more than anyone else, more than anything offered by this world. Thank you for saving a wretch like me, and using me to impact eternity. And thank you for allowing me to be a part of TeenPact Judicial.


  1. You are awesome, Shelby. :) It is so great to read about all the fantastic things God is leading you through. I love you! <3


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