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March 2018

Take a Break

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Take a Break

I’m stressed. Totally stressed. I look at the list of things to do, and it feels like just as I’m about to get started on one thing, five more things pile on. I have a laundry list of things to complain about, piles of things to grade, events to plan, plays to practice, people to talk to, senior class trip to prepare, graduation to get the kids ready for, practices and meetings and parent teacher conferences and church events and school events and personal events and it goes on and on.

Every day sometimes feels like the previous one, the hours whirl by when you need them to be slow, and they crawl when you wish they would go quickly. Sometimes its overwhelming.

Being a high school teacher definitely has its challenges. I feel like sometimes I’m on a merry-go-round. Everything is spinning faster and faster, the song is resounding in my head, the SAME EXACT SONG EVERY TIME, the horses are the same, the paint is wearing thin, the horse I’m on isn’t the most comfortable horse, and the kids that get on the merry-go-round, spin for about four years, and then are replaced with different kids who have different faces, but have very similar personalities and struggles, and the ride goes on and on and on.

I like to think I’m doing good things, however if I had a dime for every time my name is called in a given a day, I’d be a millionaire. I’d like to think my life is filled with GOOD things. I do nice things for kids, I smile at them, I make them laugh, I lead them to God, I teach them about the Bible, I do spiritual plays with them, I have chapels with them, we have spiritually enriching events, and the list goes on.

However none of this matters if I’m not spending time with the source.

If I look at Jesus and His earthly life, I feel a little bit foolish complaining about all the things I have to do in a given day. First of all, Jesus didn’t have any of the modern comfort and amenities that make things easier that I take for granted every day. Let’s just pause a moment for the brilliance of air conditioning in TX.

Secondly, Jesus had the weight of eternity of his back, along with 12 unruly disciples who were pining to be his right hand, hoards of people demanding his time, sickly disgusting folk to heal, problems to listen to, children to play with, the elderly to care for, he had to watch his back from the people trying to destroy him, and no time in a 24-hour given period to accomplish any of it.

So what did Jesus do?

He left.

He went away every time he had a chance to, and spent quality quiet time with His father. He gave no excuses to anyone. He made no apologizes for doing it, He understood that without his connection to the Source, he wouldn’t be able to make it.

So why do I, in my imperfections and debilitating inadequacies think that I can make it on my own?

Some people never learn, some people being me.

So, it’s nice on this Easter weekend, to pause for a moment, in my stresses and delusion, to think about Jesus and the perfect example He gives me every second of every day.

So if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, stop. Take a breath. Do what Jesus did, and leave. Go away. Separate yourself from everyone. Spend some time with God.

He’s waiting to hear from you, after all.

 

Devin Anavitarte is one of the founders of Enspire Productions. He is currently a teacher at Burton Adventist Academy. 

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Lessons from Cuba

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Lessons from Cuba

As I am writing this, I am currently on a mission trip to Cuba. Let me just say right off the bat, I have been extremely blessed so far. I could fill up pages and pages with all the crazy God-things that have happened, and the trip isn’t even over yet! Jonny and I came here with the Andrews Theological Seminary, and the nature of our trip is an evangelistic series. 

Every evening, for the whole 10 days we are here, we are holding meetings. There are five of us in our group for our specific church. It’s a small church with some great need, much different from the central church in the center of the city, though there is need everywhere. 

As part of the trip, we are supposed to come up with something called “creative evangelism.” This is basically what it sounds like. We try to connect with the community in unusual and unexpected ways. We have a few hours in the afternoons to put everything into action. 

In Cuba, there is no internet in homes, or anywhere really, except in public parks. Citizens can obtain a WiFi card for 1 or 2 CUC (one of the two currencies in Cuba) for 1 or 2 hours of internet. That is roughly 1 or 2 dollars. But for the Cuban citizens, 1 or 2 CUC is over a day’s wage. 

Jonny had the idea to buy a bunch of internet cards as incentive to come to the meetings. We passed them out at a park with internet the first afternoon, but only a few people came to the meeting to get their cards because the park was too far away from the church and most people walk or ride bikes for transportation. 

Slightly discouraged, but still hopeful, we decided that the next day we would try our creative evangelism in the neighborhood in front of the church. Then transportation wouldn’t be an issue, right? Remember, I mentioned we had those evangelism hours in the afternoon. In the heat of the day. And it is HOT here (And that means something coming from a Texan). So, everyone was either at work in the middle of the day, or inside taking a nap because it was so oppressively hot outside. 

We had failed again. We had prayed and prayed over this idea and were seeing no fruits from our labor. 

Finally, in a last ditch effort, we decided to offer the cards at the next night’s meeting for anyone who brought a new visitor. 

The next night, we weren’t even thinking about the cards. There were other things going on that took our focus. Then, the pastor of the church ran up to us saying we had 13 people who had brought visitors and were expecting a WiFi card! 

Frantically, we tried to pull together the cards. We pooled our own internet cards with a few we had happened to bring in case anybody showed up with a new visitor. The total came to 12, just one short! 

But if we didn’t keep our word even for one person on the first night, we would break the trust of the audience. We HAD to find one more card. 

The lady who was to announce the winners of the internet cards took the stage. Our group was running around behind the scenes like pollos sin cabezas trying to decide what to do. One of our group members remembered he had some cards in his room. There was a frantic race against time to go to the house and locate it. 

And finally, the prizes were announced and the lady sat down. I approached her, asking what we would do with the one person who didn’t get an internet card. She smiled and told me everyone had gotten one and she had two left over for tomorrow! 

I don’t know whether some of the visitors didn’t want an internet card, or if God decided to multiply a few pieces of plastic the way he once multiplied five loaves and two fish. I don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter. God had our backs even when we were disorganized and unprepared. God knew those people needed a gift from us as a show of love in a way they immediately understood. 

So, if you ever find yourself in a situation that seems insignificant in the grand scheme of things...but it’s important to you... know that it is important to God, too. God uses little things to change the world. He likes to show flashes of his glory through seemingly impossible and relatively insignificant situations.

 

 

Stephanie Wilczynski has been involved with Enspire Productions since 2009. She is pursuing an MA in English and Religious Education at Andrews University.

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Beauty from Pain

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Beauty from Pain

“Everything happens for a reason.” “God put this experience in your life to make you stronger.” It feels good to say that our chaotic world has some form of order, but these succinct phrases lose their luster when one confronts pain. It’s confusing to be presented with a world that is saturated with difficulties, alongside a God of boundless love. This does not make sense.

I got the chance to go skiing about a month ago. Painful stories of people hitting trees, breaking legs, and having horrible concussions made me seek to avoid such pain by not only skiing cautiously, but also by wearing a helmet. I am a university student. As a student, my brain is my everything. The four days of skiing were a blast! My helmet kept my head in pristine condition, but in the last two hours of skiing, I fractured my hand. It fractured because a crucial ligament had detached from one of my thumb joints. The fracture turned out to only be a trivial chip off my bone, but what had happened to the ligament blew my thumb up like balloon, and my hand was officially useless.

Returning to school with one functional hand meant many painful changes. I found that I could no longer take notes in class as I had injured my dominant, right hand. I could not type, it was super difficult to put on clothes, and I could not even drive my own car because it was a stick. My independence was shattered.

“God put this experience in your life to make you stronger.” No. God did not do this to me. That is a picture of an abusive father. But I’ll tell you what He did do. He kneeled in the snow beside me as I stared at my injured hand. I had no idea how different my life would be in the time that would follow, but He did. My Heavenly Father guided the doctor’s hands as he surgically repaired my thumb; He cried on the couch with me as my swollen hand throbbed uselessly by my side the next day; in fact, He stands right next to me as I clumsily type these words. He did not do this to me. “...God himself does not tempt anyone” James 1:13. God does not put bad in my life but He joins me in turning it to good. My difficult recovery has given me an understanding and wisdom that will benefit my patients for years to come, and provided me an education I could not have gained in any classroom.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” Isaiah 41:10. This experience has been discouraging, but as my right hand has been weak, His has been strong. The right this world and I have to freedom of choice did not permit Him to intervene and dictatorially prevent me from experiencing this, but through all of this He never left my side. In this world I will have trials, yet I shall not be discouraged. Every difficult step, my Father will be with me to not only support me, but someday will take me home where there will be no more crying and where every hand is strong.

 

Kilory Weis is a Pre-Occupational Therapy student with seven years of summer camp experience and currently resides in Keene, Texas. 

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