Lessons from Santa Barbara: Student Reflections #comments4kids

Last week Anastasis Jr. High spent the week learning and serving in Santa Barbara, California. Below are their reflections from the trip.


Whether we were tackling each other in the sand, riding bikes through the rivers, sliding down waterfalls, or hiding beneath the stars, my lips were constantly lifted into a smile and my heart was beating in a rhythm of joy; Santa Barbara will always be a place of memories and echoes of laughter in my head. When plunging into the cold water my spirit plunged into a zest for adventure. When the tires of my bike slowed in the mud my mind seemed to slow, which caused me to live in the present, not the past or future. When we served the people who didn’t have homes, my heart felt like it was the one being served. Two of the adventures that stood out to me the most were the Seven Falls and chapel at the Rescue Mission. The Seven Falls not only allowed me to step out of my comfort zone, but also allowed a new communication throughout our class. We struggled a little, but then we found our strength. Encouragement and hands reached out to me and helped me get to the top of the falls and the excitement and water did the rest. I saw the beauty of God’s creation not only in the holes of water, but in the care of my classmates. At the chapel, my soul felt alive. While hearing the worship songs be sung, I listened to the lady clap in front of me; it was beautifully off beat. I could see the true love and gratitude flowing out of her, and the room seemed to brighten. Sometimes I sing the songs and read the verses, but my heart only sways slightly side to side; in this chapel my heart danced. Each year Santa Barbara holds a different experience and every year I come back wishing I never had to leave.  –Megan

Going to Santa Barbara is a great time to get out of our comfort zones and build community. Getting out of your comfort zone is important because we will get new experiences. We have so many chances to step out of our comfort zones, but do we take hold of that opportunity? Over this trip I got that chance to step out of my comfort zone. On Tuesday of this trip we went on a bike ride, and we crossed rivers and rode around and through big rocks. This made me step outside my comfort zone a little because I wouldn’t normally choose to do something like this. On this bike ride I got to connect with some of my class mates and get to know them a little bit better. Even small things like getting to know someone better can build community. Community is a great thing, I really got to connect and build community with my class at 7 falls. We really helped each other out and showed community. This trip is so fun and I love going ever year to build community and get closer to my class. — Lauren

Santa Barbara, California is a beautiful place to visit, both to the eyes and to the soul.
Yes, the area was full of palm trees and beautiful horizons, which is wonderful, but I got to experience something more amazing than that, too: community. I met new people like Jon (our guide) and his family, and I got to strengthen my bonds with my classmates and teachers. We had a great time, no doubt because of adventures like biking and surfing, but absolutely because of friendship. I had a bunch of laughs when Macie put some kitchen liquids in my hair and spiked it up, not to mention when Alli and Lauren kept copying me when I spoke, but I also had a great time when Jack, Mitch and I decided to take a small adventure by sleeping outside for a night as opposed to wear we normally slept. Community is what really made the trip enjoyable. — Jackson

Sometimes the best way to feel alive is when you are in a new place, with new experiences and people to do them with you. Santa Barbara was not only a door to exploring, but also led to friendships and teamwork. A specific adventure strengthened my views on what it means to work as a team and build one another up. We went to 7 Falls and had to hike upstream in our tennis shoes and eventually climb up natural rock slides. The rocks were slippery and everyone struggled  to find that boost of endurance to keep them going. Finally someone made it to the top and immediately provided a helping hand. Each of us hoisted one another up onto rocks trusting that someone would hold us so we wouldn’t fall. We learned it was not a race to the top, but how we could use our strength to empower, help, and trust those around us. We learned to not be discouraged by our failures, but simply laugh at them and get back up and try even harder. The 7 Falls hike was not only beneficial to my character, but to our bond as a class and I am assured it has strengthened it in the process.   –Macie

Learning outside of the class room walls is the best way to get an education. In school we learn about math, science, language arts, history, but when is school going to teach you about life? Santa Barbara was an amazing trip that I gained so much knowledge on. Serving at PATH was an experience I will never forget. Talking and hearing these homeless people’s story’s is what will stick with me my whole life, not an A on a test. It’s beautiful to see a community with such wonderful stories gather together. Helps me realize that they shouldn’t be called the homeless but the hopeful. Each one of them showed hope through everything that they were going through. That’s something that a test at school can’t teach you. Learning outside of a class room also allows you to step outside of your comfort zones, to face your fears head on. In Santa Barbara I faced my biggest fear of sharks by swimming in the ocean. It helped me get over this idea of being eaten by a shark just by swimming in the ocean. Can sitting in a class room teach you that? Teaching people the word of God to people who have lost it is something you can only do. It’s showing others your faith in the Lord and possibly changing their loves forever just by expanding the class room walls to the edges of the earth.  –Angelina

Having a heart is more than loving yourself. It’s being able to look outside of the glass world you live in and putting a smile on someone’s face. It’s noticing when someone’s having a bad day and needs a kind word kindly spoken. Kind words spread across your heart, but kindly spoken words get rooted deep where no one else can find them. While we were in Santa Barbara, we discovered everything from little creatures at the depth of the sand floor to the water slides at top of a water fall. We didn’t just turn Santa Barbara inside out looking for adventure and activity, but we turned ourselves inside out looking for community and love. While we were looking for community and love within ourselves, what we were really looking was a family that was waiting for us to jump aboard. Santa Barbara is a trip that I will never forget, and it will be the trip that I remember as when I searched deep within myself but found something better in others. –Mak

God is good, and that definitely showed in many ways during last week. I got to bond with all of my classmates, form stronger relationship with my teachers, and have the best time trying new things I’ve never done before. It was so much fun I want to stay for another week. Just because we couldn’t that made our time together so much more precious. I don’t have a favorite part about this trip because all of it was equally amazing. I got to surf, play sand volleyball, cliff jump, have lucky charms at midnight, mountain bike, and many more activities. But if I didn’t do any of those activities and just had my classmates and teachers sitting down together talking and laughing I would be just as fun. My friends were the trip. We bonded so much I am in a loss for words. Since most of my classmates are  graduating this year we really had to be in the moment and not think about the future.”Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to forget.”-Unknown. All my friendships with my classmates and the memories that we made together are impossible to leave behind us. I will forever remember this trip and so stoked to be going again next year.  –Chachi

Santa Barbara was not only a trip where I can laugh, learn, and bond with new people but it is a place where I can grow my relationship with God. Santa Barbara is a place I will always remember and never forget. Through out this trip I never had a frown on my face ecept maybe when we played bean boozed. I was always laughing with some one weather it was laughing when Lauren got stuck in the quick sand or just laughing in the van. Every day I learned something new. When we were hiking the 7 falls hike I learned that we need each other to help us acomplish something. I also learned that team building is a very important skill to have. It is important to communicate and solve problems by useing each other’s ideas. On this trip I bonded with new people I only knew on a serfice level. I got to talk a lot with Maddie on this trip on the bike ride. As we were walking our bikes across the river we laughed and had a great time. My biggest take away of the whole trip was getting to know God through different prospectives. By doing the bike ride, surfing, and being in nature without my phone I got to experience God through simple things, like listening to the ocean or birds chirping. Overall this trip had so many highlights and lessons that I will carry with me through out my life.  –Alli

I walk out on this rocky path and explore. I explore beyond the 10 percent of who I am, who my neighbor is and the world that I am standing on. I start to see groups collide and start being transformed into one. I can feel the positive energy rise, and when the energy starts to drop I know it will rise again quickly. I experience caring, laughter and bonds of friends becoming one big family. Finally I slide off the rocky path while facing a fear. Then I open my eyes and realize that I am standing in a stream of water, with sand at the bottom of my feet and with a new family who is with me when I am afraid and when it’s time to go on another adventure while making memories.  –Maddie

At Santa Barbara we did not go just to play but we strengthen our community through these adventures and serving others. On the first day we got there we strengthen their community by climbing up these falls with no steps nor anything to hold onto, we just had to boost each other up and trust each other, that they have had our backs. We also had to trust the rocks like we have to trust God.
You had nothing to stand in your way except for yourself because you could do it if you believed in yourself. Even though you might not want to do it you would regret not doing it. We strengthen community by getting away from technology and not  always having our phones in our faces.   For example Lauren and I had nothing to talk about on the way there but on the way back we were full of conversation. Also getting to know people with out the stress of daily life and just being in the moment revealed a new side of each person. Over all I would go back again thousands of times and learn more about my classmates.  –Lauren

Going to Santa Barbara was an adventure to remember and to build community. Building community with classmates that I rarely hangout with made me grow stronger trough my friendships. I remember when Jackson, Jack, and I went outside to spend a night outside. We all learned to go out of our comfort zones. Climbing up the water slides on the seven falls hike made our community better and better. I know that this was my last time going to Santa Barbara but at least we spent our time well.  –Mitch

Learning Happens Everywhere #3

The Anastasis Jr. High has been writing and compiling their reflections from the their trip to the Great Sand Dunes, they are too good not to share with everyone!  Enjoy!
On the trip to the Great Sand Dunes of Colorado, we learned about the tiger salamander and how its heart literally stops for months at a time but then in the spring, by some miracle the lizard comes back to life. This resembles how we are dead to sin but then Christ awakens us and we are alive in him. Even the simplest of things can have a great impact on your life when you zoom out and look at the bigger picture.
          -Abbey W
Star Gazing:
Once we had finished our pizza and our time at the campfire, a few students who were still awake went on a walk to go star-gazing. We watched the sky for several minutes, oohing and awing rover a couple of shooting stars we saw. We giggled at each others jokes and dreamed about the stars coming together and doing a dance for us. It was like thinking about God and his power, and how he can do anything. It was awesome. And awkward.
         -Taylor A

During the trip we all as a community could feel and hear words of wisdom. Most people just pass off the details not noticing the motifs or systems God set up. He has opinions of how things should be. We don’t have to agree with it, we have to follow it. Mr. Anderson had a talk with us about how it requires sacrifice. I believe we don’t focus on perspective enough. We either do what everyone else does or we don’t contribute at all. Think about if we all measured everything by how good it was instead of how bad it was. Positive perspective would change lives, in fact is what keeps us to keep moving forward. Everything needs love to have the life of Christ. It’s intriguing that blindness could cause good. Would a positive or a love aspect have drawbacks?

          -Zachary F

Our community grew so much on the car ride there. We grew so much physically as a community when we saw the waterfall. I felt like we all felt jesus on us when the water was splashing and re occurring. When we had the moment of silence around the fire-place i felt sin leaving me and peace refilling me. The hike up the sand dunes felt like challenges in life. When we got up the dune i felt like love entered me.

          -Michael Z

Each night on the trip, we had an amazing campfire where we told stories or played games. Our first night we just played a game called “big booty” that made everyone laugh whenever and wherever we were. Every campfire the wind blew and you could hear the cracking of the fire as the wood sizzled. Some nights we roasted s’mores with sticks that we had to search for. The only bad part about the campfires was when the wind blew the fire in your eyes while trying to roast your marshmallow. While we did all this, there was always a beautiful starry night which gleamed above us. Each night we could see God through the stars and fire as we took a moment to thank Him for everything He has done for us through silence and prayer. This trip touched every one of us in our heart in a different way, and we will never forget it.

          -Sophie Q
Everybody was sad and disappointed that we had to leave Thursday morningThursday morning at 9:00 am everyone had to wake up early for the ride down in the vans. The van ride went by super fast and it was fun to connect with friends that we don’t know well and have a stronger relationship with those our age or older. When we arrived in Pueblo, all the friends and I enjoyed the outdoors by playing, dancing and getting group pictures. In Pueblo we couldn’t see the dunes, but instead we saw the mountains that were beautiful from a distance away. We arrived at school at 12:00 p.m. At the end, we got out of the vans and went upstairs to journal about our favorite parts.
          -Sadie S

A couple of days ago, as we packed up the vans, everyone felt that something exciting was soon to occur. Naturally, we all had a lot of fun learning about many different subjects, all with a purpose. We learned about one of the most amazing reptiles, the Tiger Salamander, climbed to one of the highest points in the Great Sand Dunes National Park, discovered a breathtaking waterfall, and much more. Some of the high points were the extremely honest talks around the campfire, the trips in the vans with all of our friends, and the visit to Garden of the Gods. It brings you so much closer to God to just be still and appreciate what he has created. Overall, we had a super awesome trip, and bonds we forged with the other classes will last for a long time.

          -Emma P

Learning Happens Everywhere #2

The Anastasis Jr. High has been writing and compiling their reflections from the their trip to the Great Sand Dunes, they are too good not to share with everyone!  For the next few days, I’ll be posting all of their reflections.  Enjoy!

|Mrs. Tenkely|

Water Falls:

Zapata falls is one of the most beautiful water falls. After a half mile hike, you end up at a majestic stream. Once you start climbing and exploring the rocks, you soon find the amazing water fall. The water fall is like our faith. You have to explore and climb over all of the struggles, but no matter how challenging it may be, there is always a greater reward.
          -Lexi A
 Even to find the most beautiful masterpiece, you must preserve to ever find the glory. After our hike in the Great Sand Dunes, we ventured another half a mile to find more of Gods creation. By this time, we were all exhausted and most not looking forward to another hike. When we arrived at Zapata Falls, all of the struggle faded and the glory appeared. We all had our certain points that day when we felt we could do no more, and suddenly it was forgotten. Climbing deeper into the waterfall, we met a moment no words can match. Venturing on we could hear the waterfall plunging down into the base. As we climbed out of the cave we could hear the sounds of the falls fading and the smaller drips emerging. Even though the waterfall was fast, it felt calm and peaceful. Outside of the cave you could see the yellow leaves on the ground that made it a perfect setting.The word, indescribable, became real as the glory of God was at our fingertips. I thank God for the opportunity to have this type of experience “in school”.
          -Riley L
As the roaring waterfall repetitively drowns the hard stones, I am humbled. I look up and see only small parts of the blue, cloudless sky. It is covered by gorgeous, changing trees that secure the sweet waterfall. In the clear path of water, I see lifeless, cold leaves moving with the stream. I love this dependable waterfall because it never changes, it is always the same. This trip was helpful to me because I started to appreciate what God has made for us.
          -Madeline P
This trip we had a blast! I got to see God in the waterfall. I saw how he can do anything. Also, I saw him in the sand dunes when he helped me get up to the top. There were times I wanted to give up, but God did not let me. When I got up, I was so proud. I learned that life is as hard as the sand dunes. When I got there, I said this is easy, but it ended up being kind of hard. But when my friend and I got to the top, we were so happy. That is how God works, because you just want to get through the hard times, but it is so hard.
          -Athena O
I had lots of fun on the sand dunes trip but the waterfall was more amazing. It was great. We hiked in and saw this peaceful landscape. The ground was covered in a carpet of yellow aspen leaves and the river was running peacefully and making nice sounds. Wow. Once you walked upstream and climbed the wet and mossy rocks, you saw this amazing 20ft waterfall. It was so beautiful and amazing I can’t put it into words. All I can say is thank you God.
          -JD L