Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The End

Yo Friendz,

It's interesting because I started this blog when I was a Freshman in college. Now I am a Senior. Well, I suppose I've already graduated, but a lot of times it doesn't really feel that way. There are times I feel very much like I'm still an undergraduate, serving in ministry, hanging out with my friends, etc. However, when I come back from a long day of teaching, I often feel like a super tired, old grandma who doesn't fit within the mold of young, spritely college students. I feel like I've already started my job and I'm just trying to hang onto my college life as tight as I can. When I'm surrounded by other credential people I feel like I'm catching up to them and when I'm with college students I feel like I don't necessarily belong there either. I think this was even more apparent when graduation photos started to roll around. I know I'm not technically getting a degree, but I know I would regret not taking graduation photos with my friends when I look back in ten years. I felt awkward taking photos with last year's graduation class. In the middle. That seems to be where I've been living this year. Not that that's a bad thing, but it's just a perspective I have never experienced life in.

This year, God's challenged me in a crazy amount of ways. I've had multiple conversations I literally never thought I would have in a million and one years, I have made relationships with the best and the greatest people (both new and old) ever, I have been encouraged to become patient with my own ambitions, I have taught 65 ninth grade munchkins over the course of a year, I passed a 50 page long portfolio, and so much more. I look back and I KNOW it could not have happened without my Savior who gives me strength. It was an exhausting year, and I feel like I've used more energy than I have within me, but I also am leaving knowing that He is good, He is faithful, and He gives me immense gratitude. Therefore, I'm dedicating this blog to those who have encouraged me over the next couple of weeks before I leave for good :)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Process It

There's this endless cycle of me posting consistently and then me completely flying off the face of the planet. There should be a balance, but nah. I guess it's really similar to how I process things, deal with problems, etc. I stack them all up until it's time to break it down. This quarter has been really challenging in a lot of ways, heck, this year in general has been challenging in a lot of ways.

First, school. I took over the two ninth grade classes we have in the schedule, and it has been a ton of fun, sometimes discouraging, always rewarding. Through this experience, I realized students don't just misbehave for the sake of it. They aren't closed off because they don't like me, but more times than not, they have a need for attention. Maybe they have bad situations at home, maybe they have a disability, maybe they lack confidence, maybe they are being bullied. I don't know what goes one behind the scenes and within their minds, but I can be gracious, understanding, and, more than anything, patient. Although we all know that is often hard to do. Love what you do and do it well. That's something I'm still learning to do. Endurance is really important. I need more stamina. 

Second, ministry.  I think it was hard for me to make time for people outside of discipleship and my close friends because there just isn't enough time in a day for me to do so. I felt guilty for not investing myself in deeper relationships with underclassmen, but I realized I'm one person and it's okay for me to take things step by step. Also, planning LG has been really awesome but really challenging at the same time. Vision planning is super humbling and it makes me realize how much we have to depend on God to move in our ministry. It's really all Him. Motivation. What motivates me? I think a heart check is always needed and necessary. I honestly have so so much respect for those who are invested and believe in what God can do through our little movement :') Although logistics will fail us, He never does. I'm overcome by love for my brothers and sisters in my ministry, and I am blessed to be able to do life with them. I realize God can move mountains with a rock, what makes me doubt He can move in our imperfect ministry? Less of me, more of Him.

Where am I? I'm jumping in and out of focusing on things seen and attempting to shift my attention towards eternal perspective, the things unseen but reliable. There are plenty of times I'm dissatisfied in my situation. There are times I wonder why certain emotions are placed in my mind and they often leave me frustrated. I don't know why, but I know through it all, He is sovereign. It's honestly a constant reminder. I have to remember I'm not and cannot be perfect. Striving to be perfect is an imperfection in itself. I was thinking about the fall of man and I realized the weight of our Father's love for us. He could have easily created perfect beings who stayed without sin, praising Him the way He deserves to be. He chose us. Why? How much must our Father love us. CRAZY!!

I don't even know,

S. Park

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Let Worship Be for His Glory

It's that time of the month, party people,

Ministry. Wow. There are so many aspects of leading in a ministry that I have never considered or thought about before this year. I've never really realized it before this year, but I realized I'm pretty prideful. Or rather, I take pride as a defense mechanism. I think there are many times I want to serve to prove to God and man that I am capable of doing everything well. In this, I take pride and this pride leads to feeling threatened when someone else does the job better or more efficiently. Rather than learning from other people and seeking to being teachable, my mind goes into survival mode or something. Beat everyone out so that I can feel like I'm worth something. Above all else, I try to please and impress man over God.

An area that this is most prominent is worship. Worship is a response. A response to the unending love, grace, compassion, strength, justice God has. An act of thanksgiving for all that He has done, is doing, and will do in the future. However, for the longest time I was simply thinking about myself. How do I sound today? Which songs make me sound nice? Do people like the way I sound? Which songs will the group like? Oh no, I messed up. How will I make it up? This can go on and on, and these are all thoughts I had every time I picked up a mic to sing in front of large group. That was something I was afraid of confessing for a long time. I would tell the worship team "Let's do this for God and not for ourselves or our own glorification" and I knew that was right, I wanted that. That wasn't my reality, though. This year has been extremely eye opening and humbling. I can't imagine how patient God is with me when I am called to worship Him. I would be so frustrated if everyone I loved faced a different direction, yet He still calls for me. What a gracious, gracious God.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Winning and Losing

Hi friends,

I didn't even notice that almost a month has gone by since writing on my blog. Life has been... tiring? I told myself that I wouldn't focus so heavily on my tiredness because I realized dwelling on how much sleep I need always consumes the good things that happen throughout my day. I'm finally 21 which has been exciting, I guess, but mostly because I get to go to Tot Night and get TATOR TOTS YAY! Quick story. So I was leading worship a week ago, and I get a text from one of the leaders, Michael Golahi, saying "worship leader's meeting tonight at 5 pm," to which I replied "Okay, sounds good!" All chipper and such. Then I do my thing and, eventually, I get another long text that basically read, "I have a group meeting and have to push the meeting back to 11 pm." I literally got on my knees and wailed for a second because I had early morning class the next day. Need to get my beauty rest the day before my birthday, ya know? I did everything I could to get out of it. "Can I meet you tomorrow?" "Can I meet with the other worship leader?" "Can I talk on the phone?" but to no avail. He was persistent. Now, other people told me that this was so obvious, but I honestly didn't think anything of it. I wouldn't put an 11 o'clock meeting past some of these guys LOL. I did have a little inkling of an idea that it could have POSSIBLY been a surprise party, but ever so slight. When I arrived at the door I see the lights on, and I automatically tuck away any thoughts of it being a surprise. I heard Harrison's voice saying, "Sarah, you're late man." It was 10:58. I came storming through the door yelling "It's only 10:58! What do you mean I'm late?" and suddenly I am bombarded by people yelling "SURPRISE!" I literally crouched down and yelled. It was such a shock that so many people were together in one room to celebrate me. Big shoutout to my girl Shaina, my co BVo, and poor Michael Golahi (sorry!!). It was something I will never ever forget :)

I think that something I've been learning is to not let my tiredness keep me from investing in valuable relationships. It's been pretty hard coming home late at night and not want to hop into bed and knock out, but I also realized that my friendships are worth it, no? They have invested in me more than I am deserving of, and I tend to do what my laziness tells me to. I use my busyness as an excuse. It's a sense of pride, as well. "Look how much I am capable of doing." "Look how much I am growing." But am I really? Am I really growing from my responsibilities or am I spiritually regressing? Being spiritually honest and aware has been a really beneficial change, knowing where I am weak, knowing I need unending grace. Lord, I need you. Week 6 here we go... :)


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Simply Compassionate

Hello party people (and potato people),

I survived the first week of fall quarter! YEAHHH. For the first five weeks of early start school, we only had class at night Mon/Wed after a full day at our respective high/middle schools. Beginning this week, we have class on Mon/Wed/Fri and we only go to our school sites Tues/Thurs :( Although, I admit, getting myself to a high school thirty minutes away hasn't been the most ideal (I like my sleep), being at the school site excites me. Everyday I find out something new about individual students, and working with them gives me a glimpse of what I'll be doing in, hopefully, a year. It's so cute when they ask me where I've been and why I've been coming less after this quarter started. This week was especially uplifting. On Tuesday my co-teacher asked me to teach a mini lesson to the freshmen on The Odyssey, referencing the movie La Bestia to make the book applicable to current events. I asked them a fairly simple question, expecting a relatively simple answer. "What is an example of an odyssey you or your family members went through?" I honestly wasn't ready for the answers they shared. I was shocked, horrified, and incredibly, incredibly proud. The freshmen are a pretty quiet bunch, and many of them don't even like sharing SAT practice answers. It took a while for me to find a student open enough to share a small journey they've been through. Honestly, I felt like they were going to say something along the lines of "The transition from middle to high school was a journey I've been through" or "The journey to this class was a hard one. I had to wake up early." While many of them passed, we finally got one willing student. His answer left me speechless. Without getting into too much detail, he basically shared about his home life, the many men that have come and gone from his life, the brokenness of his mother. One by one I heard stories of students immigrating from Mexico, living without family from a different country to learn English, learning that the man they thought was their father wasn't. My heart dropped. I didn't know how to respond to these heartfelt and personal stories. I can't relate to these students in the least bit. I grew up in a stable home, I had both of my parents present, I grew up in this country (this state), and I've been comfortable. How am I worthy of educating these students? I'm not, but I am committing myself to listening, comforting, and pouring care into these students. A degree in English doesn't cut it. It doesn't make you an educator. Hopefully moments like this will remind me to be a constant and compassionate teacher. I pray that God will give me the endurance and a sensitive heart for these students. I love them so so much (although I'm pretty sure they would think that's creepy). Wow... I don't even know how to express what I'm feeling. I wonder what next week will bring :)



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Take Heart

Wow, this has been a whirlwind of a week and it's only Wednesday! Something I need to confess right off the bat is that I believed that leadership would put me on a pedestal. A kind of "I did everything I needed to do in this ministry to get where I am now" attitude. What a selfish thing to do, right? What a pride-filled state of mind. I thought that reaching leadership was a three step process. 1) Join and become involved in the ministry. 2) Become a Bible Study leader. 3) Get asked to be on Core. I think what's keeping me most accountable at this point is just looking through the actual state of my heart, and recognizing how unbiblical it is. Though one could say our ministry is going to major changes, which also has the potential to increase conflicts, reach decisions slower, and be all around chaotic, Jesus never asks us to be comfortable in our faith. Comfort brings spiritual stagnation. How can we be called a MOVEMENT if we're stagnant? I'm so excited to be a part of this change because it reminds me that I am not in this movement to be glorified. I am not in this movement to have a high position. I am not in this movement to continue tradition. I am not in this movement to save people myself. I am in this movement to WIN, BUILD, and SEND Christ-centered disciples into the world apart from our college campus THROUGH Christ. If this system will better serve those who are seeking the Lord, then who am I to resist that? I pray we don't lose our purpose and vision in the logistics. I need TONS of accountability. I was utterly convicted when I realized how many leadership roles I lack. I need to resist the temptation to let out anger towards others, love those who I don't necessarily "click" with, consistently seek alone time with God, and many more. However, I am also blessed with many brothers and sisters who can keep me accountable. Though it was mentally draining taking in all the new information, I am so excited to be a part of this collaborative bunch who wholly love the Lord and seek to know and be more like Him.

John 16:33
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Week 4

Heyo amigos!
So I am currently in my second week at the High School. I survived the first day of class (9th, 10th, and 12th graders whew), and I really enjoyed getting to know the students as they opened up about what they think makes a good or bad teacher. Many of them said what I expected them to say: "I like teachers who care about us. I hate teachers who just give us worksheets." It's super incredible seeing how open the students are (mostly 9th graders) on their family lives back home. To be honest, I can't relate to them because I had a stable background while I was growing up. All I can do is motivate them to look past the obstacles, but that's so much easier said than done. One student shared about how her mom left her the week before, and her father is unsupportive of her. Another talked about how his mom's boyfriend was abusive, and they had to escape for the sake of safety. I love hearing their stories as they creatively write their experiences in the "Hero's Journey" project we're working on. Every student is so creative when you push them to think a little harder. Expecting more from these students increases their own motivation to push themselves away from what society has always expected them capable of. Of course, there are the rowdy "I don't care what you say" students, but even they try when you speak to them one-on-one, seeking to fill their needs. I love it and love it!

This summer my family and I traveled to Vancouver, Whistler, Banff, Jasper, and Calgary in the sweet country, Canada. I love and miss it terribly. Traveling with my family is always so awesome, and I am blessed to have experienced the things I have in my lifetime with them. Every city we went to was completely different. Whistler was filled with mountain bikers and a cute village where we ate appetizers outside, Vancouver is a bustling city with the BEST view up from our hotel room, Banff and Jasper were AMAZING the beauty of the Rocky Mountains is incomparable to anything I've ever seen before, and Calgary has a huge tower with glass walls. Every city was a vacation in it of itself, and words cannot do justice to what I experienced there. UNTIL NEXT TIME, CANADA!

Whistler, Canada


Capilano Cliff Walk 

Best Chinese Bakery in Vancouver!

Lake Maligne

The prettiest waterfall

Yeah, we kayaked in front of the Rockies

Ice walk

Calgary, Canada