School starts here at SPU in a little more than a week, and with that life will pick up pace again causing Summer to fade into Autumn. One year ago I was on my way to SPU as a new student, now I am returning for my final year.
Looking back at myself at the end of last September I see a very different person than the one I have become today. I see this growth in two parts, the school year and the summer. I began learning how to think and see in new and powerful ways through my study and the guidance of professors. I am still wrestling with a number of challenges in the way I view the world because of this, but I am better because of it. The growth I’m seeing from this summer has not influenced my mind as much as it has influenced my heart. I’m beginning to understand how to love and see in new and powerful ways through my interaction with other cultures and the guidance of great men that came before me.
I’ll share a little bit of what I have been taking in that has caused my heart to grow in unexpected ways.
I was able to experience Indonesian culture for four weeks. This was probably the most significant experience I was able to have this summer. Everything I could say about the trip cannot be put concisely, so I will not try. I have been able to enjoy a number of inspirational movies. A few that stick out in my mind most vividly are Hotel Rwanda, Gandhi and Dead Poets Society. I was able to read a handful of great books. The three that poured into my heart the most were The Crescent Through the Eyes of the Cross, Pilgrims of Christ on the Muslim Road, and Gandhi: Portrayal of a Friend.
All of these things, along with the rest of life, have come together to inspire me. I have a restless desire to wield the weapons of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in a manner that will change the world I belong to and glorify the Lord that I serve. I have learned from Gandhi what it looks like to be a modern man who wins battles by the power the spirit. Mazhar Mallouhi has shown me what it looks like to embody the life of Christ and rely on the Holy Spirit in my own community. Paul Rusesabagina’s story has revealed what it means to love my neighbor as myself and stand for justice. Nabil Jabbour has taught me how to see beyond my own culture and love those different than myself. And Jesus, the Jewish messiah, has given me his Spirit to go forth and live all of these things out in his world.
These are some of the reasons I have decided to apply for the Peace Corps. This growing passion inside of me needs a path to freedom. I am about a month into the application process, and I had my interview last Wednesday. My hope is that the warmth and joy in my heart along with the power of the Holy Spirit will enable me to humbly serve a community of beautiful people somewhere very unlike my home in the Pacific Northwest.
Needless to say, I am looking forward to what this year has in store.