Sunday, March 28, 2010

Brandon's Salon

One way that I have been able to serve in the dorm this year is by giving haircuts. At some point while I was still in college, I started to cut my own hair using clippers and found that it wasn't that hard. Not long after, I was giving haircuts to guys on my floor in college. And now I have found myself offering the same services here at HBR. Once in a while, Brandon's salon will open up at the top of the staircase on the top floor, and guys will hear my clippers running and climb the stairs to see who the victim is. Out of the 24 guys in the dorm, I have given haircuts to... let me think for a second... maybe 12? So I've cut the hair of half the guys in the dorm! Plus a couple adults including Greg the dorm dad. No girls though. I would have no idea what I'm doing there. I only use clippers. I tell the guys, "I'll cut your hair, but only if you want it short." There are several of them who have come back for seconds so the reviews are good I suppose. It's something I enjoy doing for them, and I think they appreciate it. I mean, what guy wants to spend money on a haircut? I think their mothers might even appreciate it more than they do. Some of them tell me horror stories about getting haircuts in their own countries (or from their own mothers) that lead to them having the attitude of "Oh well, it can't be that bad. Do whatever you want." or even begging me to cut their hair, especially when we are nearing a break from school. This last week, I gave one of my more notable haircuts so I figured I'd write about it. Phil has had a lion's mane ever since the first day he showed up last year. I've written about him before, and you may have seen him in random pictures. But this spring break, he was going on a missions trip to Africa, and he is also on the soccer team so he just decided it was time to say goodbye to the long hair. It actually made me sort of nervous. I kept asking him, "Are you SURE you want to do this?" Eventually, I gave in. Here are the two of us upstairs, Phil looking calm and me looking uneasy.

Here we are after the deed was done.

Immediately after I finished with Phil, I gave Will a haircut as well. Here is the pile of hair combined from the two of them following the haircuts.

The day after that, I gave a haircut to Isaac as well. That was the last night before spring break started. A good portion of the dorm was gone already, but the next day we took everyone who was left to the train station and the airport and our spring break officially started! Sidenote: the week before spring break was when March Madness and the NCAA Tournament started so we were able to bring the tradition of filling out a bracket to HBR. Again, similar to my comments on our students and the Super Bowl, quite a few of them had never filled out a bracket before and had no idea what they were doing. But they really enjoyed it, and the first handful of games the first day of the tournament really introduced to them what March Madness is all about. After that, some of them were hooked. I made a giant bracket on the wall to keep track of the official results, and we hung their personal brackets around it. My fellow RA Jon did a great job of keeping the standings updated, showing who was in the lead in making the best picks. I was delighted that we could introduce them to this great weekend of American sports. Here's a picture of the back wall in our TV room upstairs.

I mentioned how Phil was going on a missions trip. Every spring break, BFA sends out a handful of student groups led by staff who go on mission trips to surrounding countries. This year BFA sent out teams to Greece, Macedonia, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, and a country in central Asia. HBR had four guys who went on a mission trip. The group that went to Macedonia set up a blog to use specifically for their time there to keep everyone updated on what they are doing. Here is the link: Josh from my dorm and Christopher from my small group are on the trip. They are still there as I write this; go check out the blog! (And pray for all of the kids on missions trips!)

Although our spring break started on Thursday of last week, we still had work to do because this year BFA was hosting a conference during the first part of the break. It was the ICEC (International Christian Educators Conference) put on by ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) at BFA (Black Forest Academy). Yes, we love acronyms! The Residence Life program was put in charge of transportation so we were doing a lot of the same things we do for the students. We picked up people at the airport, got them to the places they were staying, shuttled them to and from the school during the days of the conference, and then dropped them off at the airport when it was time to leave. The conference officially ended yesterday so today was the last day spent driving around making trips to the airport. I was able to attend some sessions during the conference, but what was amazing to me was being able to meet so many people who are serving God all over the world. Everyone who was there worked at a Christian school somewhere in Europe, Asia, or Africa. I met lots of phenomenal people with phenomenal stories. God is good, and he is at work! The fact that I am one of these people who is in a position to be used by God in this way leaves me stunned. All of the people at this conference represented thousands upon thousands who are supporting people doing God's work at these Christian schools. If you are one of those people, I hope you're stunned, too.

God bless.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

February into March

Basketball season got over a couple weeks ago. The boys' varsity won three games this year, which was a big improvement over last year (when they didn't win any games). They also went on to the tournament where they won two of three during pool play. However, going into the elimination rounds, there were too many teams whose record was 2-1 so they decided who got in based on number of points scored during the first three games. BFA missed the cut by two points! The guys were happy that they made it that far but were heartbroken that they were ousted by such a tiny margin. We felt the emotions along with them, but overall we were very proud of our guys. Here are a few pics from the final home basketball game of the year.

The student cheering section: they cheer just as loud no matter what the score is all the way to the end of the game.

The last home game of the year is "Senior Night," where the school honors the seniors who are on the basketball teams. Many of the students' parents traveled to be able to be at the game with their son or daughter. Will asked me if Lizzy and I would represent his parents since they weren't able to be there. I think part of him just thought it was funny to force the two of us into a role of being parents, but it meant a lot anyway!

This last weekend was our high school retreat. All of the high school students jumped on a rented bus, and we headed north to the town of Feldberg, up in the mountains. This is the same town where we took some of our HBR guys about a month ago. The kids were able to ski or snowboard if they wanted during their free time (I refrained). The speaker was named Greg Speck, and he did a great job speaking to the students and challenging them to be people of character and to put their hope in Jesus Christ.

There were many moments over the weekend when it seemed that a large portion of the student body were being convicted and were softening their hearts and embracing spiritual growth. If you have been on a weekend retreat or an event like this (and I'm guessing almost all of you if not all of you have), you know that there is a period of time following the event where you are still considering words spoken and desiring life change but before long... it seems like life is completely back to normal again. Please pray for the BFA students and especially our HBR guys that they would not settle for returning to spiritual dryness and a heart closed off to the Spirit's voice. I know there were thousands of people praying for these students over the weekend while they were at the retreat, but this is still a vital time for you to be praying for them as they are fresh off the weekend and are feeling the pull back to routine life.

I don't remember if I have mentioned this, but this year I am leading a small group at school. Each student has the opportunity to join a small group if he or she so desires, and the groups meet on Wednesdays. I am actually the only RA leading a small group (most are led by teachers), and I have a group of sophomores. So these are the same guys I was meeting with at the retreat for small group time. There was much evidence that God was working in them throughout this weekend, and I was blessed to be a part of it. Here is a picture of all of us together that we took this Wednesday: from left to right - Christopher, Josiah, Jean Claude, Kenneth, Noah, and Daniel. Pray for them, too!

Lastly, HBR is blessed this week to have a student visiting who graduated last year. It did my heart good to sit down with Sam and hear him talk about his growth and how college is going (he's a freshman at Notre Dame). He also displayed loads of generosity by bringing back a huge suitcase filled with American food to bestow on the dorm. On Tuesday night, we called all of the guys down and let them eat a bowl of cereal or a couple Pop Tarts. Now, I was raised on and absolutely love cereal. And he brought Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cookie Crisp, and Honey Bunches of Oats. I ate a couple bowls, and I don't think I've ever got so emotional over a bowl of cereal. It was delicious, it reminded me of home, and it just made my day. Sometimes it's the little things!

Thanks for reading, and thank you for your continued prayers. God bless!