Yes, for those who are wondering, Brian and I are still very much alive. We have just been so busy lately that I have not gotten a chance to write anything that is not work or school related….
These past 6 weeks here in California have been nothing short of an adventure. To be honest, I harbor mixed feelings about this west coast state. Being a Californian sounds neat, and seeing palm trees every day is exciting, however, I find the low-quality produce, excessive taxation, and absurd state laws to be highly off-putting. But here we are in Redding where the weather is as bi-polar as that of the east.
When we moved in on August 28, it was a scorching 116 degrees. It remained as hot for the next two weeks. Despite the dry air, it was as if we had taken up residence in a crock-pot. Over the past few weeks, the heat has thankfully subsided, although, the temperatures vary each day from 70 degrees to 90 degrees. In the morning I shiver in jeans and a hoodie in the breezy 55 degrees, but by noon I’m dehydrated and want my swimsuit in the hot 90 degree sunshine.
I would be lying if I said that living in the city has not been a bit of an adjustment for me. Having grown up in rural Adams County, Pennsylvania amid apple orchards, rolling hills and corn fields without neighbors nearby, I have at times, struggled to live in an apartment complex in the middle of the city. Here, I cannot hear the birds sing, the wind blow through the trees, or smell the fresh cut hay; instead I hear neighbors fighting, fire sirens screeching down the street, and smell marijuana and car exhaust. Here, there is no green grass. Only pavement and sidewalks. I am also missing autumn in the east, too. Here, the leaves turn brown and fall instantly and palm trees are always their bland emerald.
School is well under way, as I have just passed my 5th week milestone. I am considered a full-time student, and I must admit the workload is slightly more than I expected. I thought daily Bible reading, devotions and an occasional book would not be hard to manage, but last week I was in the middle of six different books, most of which required book reports. While it is not your typical college workload, I have found it to be a bit of a challenge to balance everything. In addition to classes four days a week, assigned church services every Sunday night, city service outreach once a week, and homework every day, I have struggled to maintain family connections back home, make new friends with my classmates, and create quality time with my husband. I have also kept both of my part-time jobs writing for a marketing company in New York, and as a virtual assistant for a blogger in Pennsylvania which both keep me busy several days a week. While juggling all of these things, housework has been a hit or miss and Brian has had to pick up my slack when it comes to making dinner when we both get home late and I have deadlines to meet.
Despite the occasional insanity, life out here is great. Brian has been blessed with a job here in Cali installing windows on a crew with four other guys. For the past couple weeks, he has been up at 4:30 a.m. so he can drive an hour south to Chico, then carpool an additional half hour to the job site. The early mornings are not fun, and he often puts in 12 hour days, but it is a steady income and he is gaining more experience in his field.
My schedule, however, is far more complicated. Welcome to 1st year at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM).
Because there are 1,600 first year students, the school leadership has split us all up into groups of 65 students. These groups are called Revival Groups (RGs). Each RG consists of 65 first year students, 5 interns (3rd year students who have volunteered to serve our first year RG), and 1 revival group pastor. Our Revival Group Pastor (RGP) is an incredible prophetess from England for whom I have the utmost respect. Our RG meets once a week on Wednesday mornings, although the students host home groups, pool parties, study times, etc. outside of school at all times. These are the people you will encourage, empower, and run with for the rest of the year. They are your team – your family.
Then, out of these 65 students in our RG, we are further divided into smaller groups of 5. These groups of 5 are called Small Groups. These Small Groups meet once a week on Monday mornings and are gender-specific. This where 5 girls or 5 guys meet together and open their hearts. This is where you are the most vulnerable, intercede for one another, and help each other through all kinds of struggles.
Here is what my weekly schedule looks like:
On Monday mornings at 10 a.m. our Small Groups meet. Then, we have our main classes in the auditorium. In our main classes, all 1,600 students enjoy corporate worship and a message from either Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, Dann Farelly, Leslie Crandall, or a guest speaker.
Tuesdays, we arrive at school around noon for our main classes and worship. After the main class, we have our AMTs or Tracks (these are classes we specifically chose to take, rather like elective classes in college.) These classes happen every Wednesday and will last until 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. we meet with our Revival Group, then we go to our main classes for lessons and worship.
Thursdays we have a shorter school day. We begin our main classes around noon, then end around 2 p.m. From there, we meet in our respective groups and go on our City Service Outreach. (City Service is a required outreach time where the students serve the city of Redding. We had an opportunity a few weeks ago to choose in what capacity we would like to serve our city. We had many options and we submitted our choices to the school leadership. Through prayer, they match students with what they felt would best suit them in serving the city. Thankfully, I got my first choice and will be a journalist! I will be teaming with a few other City Service journalists and we will go around the city interviewing other 1st year City Service teams. I will then be responsible for writing up weekly articles and posting them on our school blog. I’m pumped!)
Fridays are our freedays – Just kidding! They are homework days. Homework days, cleaning days, meal-prep days, and whatever-I-didn’t-get-done-during-the-week-days.
Despite being here for only 5 weeks, I can already see and feel changes in myself. I am becoming a more confident person, I am understanding my authority as a Christian, I am growing in my prophetic gifting, I am learning more and more about the Bible, and I am enjoying a new sense of peace and freedom.
Again and again, God has been proving His faithfulness to us; how well He listens to our prayers and how attentive He is to the desires of our hearts.
I have so much more to say, but it is incredibly late and I’m falling asleep sitting up. I will be sure to write another update soon…when I find a spare minute or two that is….