On BCM.

Today was not only my last day of class as an undergraduate, but tonight was my last BCM ever.

I don’t get emotional about moving on very often, but when my friends started giving senior speeches and talking about what the last four years have really meant, I couldn’t help but tear up a little bit.

And as mad as I was about there not being a senior video, I have to admit that it might be a good thing. Don’t know if I could’ve handled that.

I chose not to give a formal senior speech for a couple of reasons, but this post will do a better job of saying what BCM has meant to me than any speech would have anyways.

BCM wasn’t the biggest part of my college experience, and it wasn’t even the most important, but I can honestly say that it had a huge impact on the last four years.

Without BCM, I probably wouldn’t have this group of beautiful friends (plus a few other lovelies not in this picture). There have been crazy times in the last few years, but somehow we managed to stick together since the freshman girls bible study that brought us all together in the first place. & I think we’ve come pretty far.

BCM 1Without BCM I probably wouldn’t have ended up with these two crazy roommates for the past couple of years either. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them, and I don’t know what I’m going to do once we move out of the lovely Harriett Plantation. But BCM brought us together, and I will always be thankful for that.

BCM 2BCM also changed my whole life plan. Whoa. If I hadn’t done Sendmenow Summer missions, I might not have ever even thought about going into occupational therapy, and now I can’t imagine going into anything else.

& speaking of Sendmenow missions, without BCM I would have never started working at Camp Hawkins or Camp Jackie, and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to fall in love with so many precious kids like these::

BCM 3..or have had the opportunity to work with so many amazing people there. Like these crazy ladies and so many more that aren’t in the picture.

BCM 3Without BCM I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go on seven different mission trips over the past four years, and I wouldn’t have gotten to spread Jesus and love on precious babies in Ecuador or Haiti.

BCM 4

And most importantly, I wouldn’t be where I am today in my relationship with Jesus. Just having a time to worship and learn with my friends every week made such a huge difference.

I would like to think that I’ve changed a lot in these past four years, and BCM has been a major part of that. Friends, a couple of awesome interns, a great campus minister, and missions opportunities have all helped me grow in more ways than I would have imagined when I signed up for an email list at summer orientation.

I feel like I need to say that, as great as it has been, it hasn’t been all rainbows & butterflies. People in BCM have hurt me and made me cry, and I’ve probably done the same to them. I’ve been offended, felt unappreciated, gotten mad at the way things happened, and even said a few a lot of things that I probably shouldn’t have. I also didn’t find my future husband, so that’s kind of disappointing. You know, whatever. But overall, I’m so, so glad that I didn’t just give up then because it has definitely been worth it.

I wouldn’t trade these past four years at Mercer for anything. I found a community that I loved here at this school, but I found my family at BCM. & while I’m ready to move on and see what’s next, I’m going to miss it so much. You don’t just find a family anywhere. I have been so blessed.

The Road to Hug Advocation.

This summer has made me think about a lot of things, but one of the things I’ve been thinking about lately has been hugs.  Yep, hugs.

Normally I wouldn’t classify myself as much of a “hugger.”  I’m not usually the person who hugs everyone when I see them, and things like “hug three people” after the fellowship circle at BCM usually make me slightly uncomfortable.  I think it’s my subconscious telling me that I don’t need to make myself more awkward than I already am.

It’s not that I don’t like hugs, because that’s not it at all.  And it’s not that I don’t want people to touch me because of germs or something ridiculous like that, because I have given hugs to some pretty dirty people.  The main this is that I’m usually just not the hug initiator.

Now I’m not making any promises, but I’m beginning to think that I’m changing in that aspect.

I’ve just realized lately that hugs can be special.  I don’t mean that in some cheesy, romantic way, I’ve just noticed that they can do some pretty cool things.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the best thing about hugs is that they can do just as much good to the person giving the hug as they do to the person receiving the hug.

Like when I hugged my bawling camper in order to calm her down, not only did it help her, but it brought me joy just to know that she was able to find that comfort in my arms.  Even when she had only known me for two short days.

Or when I picked up a crying Haitian toddler and held him tight, not only did he stop crying, but him clinging to my neck was a little reassurance that just sharing the love I’m blessed enough to receive can make that much of a difference.

& Another nifty thing I’ve noticed about hugs is that the people I hang out with are pretty dang good at giving them out right when I need them.  And I think I’ve decided that those are the best ones: the ones that are at the perfect time but you don’t even have to ask for.

Like when I would have a rough day at camp and another counselor would just walk us and give me a hug.  They were always able to make me feel better without even saying a word.

Or when my camper, who I wouldn’t even expect to pick up on my tried-to-be-hidden emotions, would ask for a hug of put their arm around me at just the right time.

Or even when a friend would hug me or lay their head on my shoulder when I was exhausted in Haiti.  Just that much can make a difference.

So as I’ve been reflecting on hugs and how much they can do, my opinions have been changing.  And I appreciated that “hug everyone and tell them you love them” on our last night in Haiti a little more that I usually would have (even if there were still a couple slightly uncomfortable moments mixed in.)

So I may not be a hug advocate just yet, and I hope to never be that crazy girl who hugs everyone fourteen times a day, but I think I will try to give out a few more than I usually do.

So we’ll see how that goes.  Hopefully I’ll be able to comfort and encourage a few people and avoid being sprayed with Mace at the same time…

Orientation Reflections.

This weekend I went to summer missions orientation for sendmenow.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but I have to say that it was pretty awesome.  What’s not to love about a weekend filled with worship, God, and a whole bunch of other summer missionaries? …Sleeping on a hard floor is what, but I can  get over one downside.

My favorite part was getting to meet and get to know six of my coworkers for this summer (although getting flashed by an old man on the way home was a close second.  Yes, that really happened).  I can already tell that they’re all pretty awesome.  I’m already excited about working with them for six weeks.

I also got to learn a few things about Camp Hawkins that I didn’t already know.  All of them are making me even more excited than I already was.

1. We eat about every two hours.  Yep.  Breakfast, then a morning snack, then lunch, then an afternoon snack, then dinner, then a bedtime snack.  That’s a lot of (hopefully yummy) camp food.

2.  One of those meals each week is called “messy meal.”  No utensils allowed, hands are okay, but faces are preferred.  Oh and it’s always macaroni or spaghetti.  Perhaps I will be able to reenact  Lady and the Tramp at some point? (obviously without the romance…)

3.  There’s a dance each week.  Maybe I will appear to be a good dancer at a dance where all my friends aren’t ballroom dancing experts… Yeah, I know, probably not.  Oh well, I’m always willing to embarrass myself for fun anyways.

4.  There’s a girls sleepover every week.  That’s all I have to say about that.  Sleepovers are always fun.

5. There’s a talent show each week, and every camper gets to showcase a talent.  I’m way excited to see what awesome and unique talent everybody comes up with.  I love when kids get to have the spotlight for a few minutes.

6.  We get to perform songs at churches each week with the kids.  This includes learning some sign language.  Awesome in two ways.

I learned about a lot more camp stuff too, but I’m sure I’ll blog about everything once it’s actually happens in a couple of months.  It’ll be much more exciting then anyways.

Besides meeting as a team and learning more about the summer, we also got to go through some “stations.” It sounded kind of horrible to me too, but it wasn’t too bad.  One of the stations was about journaling.  Something I hate do not enjoy very much.

I try. I really do.  In fact, I have five journals in my room right now.  Unfortunately, none of them are more than half full (and only one of them is that full).  It’s just not my thing.

We’ll see if I actually journal this summer.  I may try, or I may cheat and count this blog as a form of journal. We’ll see.

Anyways, this station asked us to answer a few questions as a type of journal entry, so here we go.

1. Why are you doing sendmenow missions?

–One reason I decided to do sendmenow missions is because I didn’t want to waste another summer.  Last year I pretty much stayed at home and did nothing.  That was dumb.  I think that while I have the opportunity to serve over that summer that I should take advantage of it, so I did.  I also just really love serving people, especially kids (see the next question).  God has called me to serve, and I have an awesome opportunity, so I need to take it.

2. Who are you called to?

–Specifically, I feel that God has called me to work with kids.  Like I said in my one day without shoes post, kids have no say in where they live or what kind of life they’re given. The kids I’m going to work with this summer had no say in being born with a disability. They deserve to be loved just as much as any other person, and that doesn’t always happen.  I’m excited to be able to show Jesus’ love to these precious kids more than anything else. (And to be able to show Jesus’ love to some more adorable Haitian kids this summer too!)

3.  If you knew you wouldn’t have a chance to tell anyone back home about your sendmenow summer experience, how would that change the way you serve on the field?

–I don’t really know how to answer this question.  It shouldn’t change the way I serve, because who I’m serving is the same: God and these wonderful kids.  Fortunately though, I will be able to share, and hopefully the stories of what God does this summer can make an impact too.  (Or at least make for some interesting blog posts.)

4.  What do you expect God to do in you? Around you? Are you ready?

–I don’t really know what God is going to do in me this summer.  I know He’s going to make me grow, but besides that I don’t want to have too many expectations.  He’ll blow them out of the water anyways.  Same for what He’s going to do around me: bigger things than what I could expect.  I’m not fully ready yet, even though I’d go to camp today if I could.  But I know I’ll be prepared when it’s time to go; God has been working on that for a long time.

So there it is, a sort of journal entry.  Just don’t expect me to rewrite it in one of those notebooks because it’s not going to happen.  I just hope this post got across just how excited I am.

If it didn’t, this might help you out: A countdown that one of my team members made!