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

Advertisements

Reflections from a cultural pilgrimage through Denver

Posted by |Tenkely|

Recently the 8th grade students at Anastasis Academy embarked on a cultural journey around Denver.  Below are pictures of the travels and reflections from the students.

photo copy 5

Hindu Temple

photo copy 4

Baha’i center

photo copy 3

Mosque

photo

Buddhist Temple

photo copy 2

Christian Church

photo copy

Jewish Temple

I’m so impressed with the journey of understanding these kids have embarked upon.  Their faith has been stretched, and therefore has grown.  Please take the time to read their responses below.  There is wisdom within, and I’m incredibly proud of all of them.

 

-Mr. Fink

“Beyond”

Look deeper. God works through all areas. Who are we to say what he is and isn’t. We cannot put God in a box. Going from temple to mosque, to church, etc. made me realize God is everywhere. Maybe he isn’t the god the religions worships, but he is still working wonders, weaving himself through other religions. “I am an instrument for Gods will,” said a Hindu Monk. God has the power to do anything. Instead of picking out wrong in other religions, leave the wonder-working to God. In John 13:35 it says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love everyone. Even if the Iman or Reverend say concepts you don’t believe, or the Hindu’s have divas you don’t consider a part of your faith, love the people. As a proud Christian, I am confident in my faith so venturing into other faiths only makes mine stronger.

~Caroline F

“Hidden God”

God is complex beyond measure and can be interpreted in many ways. If you traveled around the world and looked up at the sun, it would be the same sun that can be seen anywhere. The sun can be shown by heat, light and can be seen by reflections everywhere. This is like God. He may be called Allah, Yah, Dios, etc., but it is the same God. Everyone is unique and can see God in a different way through friends, strangers, birds, grass, television, or whatever speaks to them. Pastor Andrew said, “God will burn you, all the way down to grace.” Our class has been learning about Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Baha’i. Before this, when I saw a Muslim or a Hindu, my mind went straight to the stereotypes and I thought they must be crazy and foreign. As I learn and had the opportunity to have a conversation with these people, I realized they truly aren’t that different from me. Sure I may act out my belief in God differently, but does that make either crazy? Now, my Christianity is much stronger. In Islam, I saw kindness and dedication. Buddhism taught me to find peace in mind to help me connect with God. Hinduism taught me that my soul is more important then material and how I look. In Baha’i, I learned how important equality is between all. One of the most important things I learned was to not listen to the stereotypes, like the Buddhist minister said, “Religion is a beautiful thing until people get involved”.

-Riley L

“Disciples of God”

My take away from our religious pilgrimages’ made me think hard. I start to wonder what different religions are like, but in the end of all the wondering, I realized how lucky I am to be a Christian. I’m not saying that the other religions such as Hinduism, Bah’i, Buddhism, etc. are bad religions. What I am saying is that I’m going to stick to what I believe in and I’m proud to be a Christian. Yet in the end, aren’t we all disciples of God? “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13: 34- 35) Why is it that we all get so caught up in the title and look at the differences? The Hindu teacher Tushta  said: “Honor the experience and don’t get trapped by the label. ” We all want to be right, but as long as we love one another we all are right.

-Lexi A

“Missions on God”

If others love you, we should love back. The Bible says, ” A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Sadly there is a force in this world called hate which blocks off our love towards certain people. Hatred is our choice though. Now you might be asking,”How can anyone be called a disciple?” My answer is, I don’t know. As long as satan is a power on earth, hate and temptation exist. This means technically no one can possibly be a disciple literally. How about emotionally? In the heart, we are all disciples. In some way or another we all show some form of caring which is a prayer in itself to God screaming, “I care! I can love.” Which I believe in God’s eyes is a form of a disciple. What I took away from our two religious journeys is anyone can follow God, anyone can be a disciple, and everyone is made in God’s image and is his child. A Hindu monk asked that there are many words for sun, but is it the same sun? Yes. Then he asked that if that is true then, is it the same God? Yes. So my question for you is, do you think it is the same god?

-Claire R

“Religion is Not Understanding, It’s the Mystery”

This year we’ve been talking a lot about the religions of the world. Some of these that we have studied so far are Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Baha’i, and of course, Christianity. We have gone on the most amazing journey in our faith through studying these religions. We had an extremely profound conversation on what we had learned so far earlier today. One of the things that stood out the most to me was, as the Buddhist reverend said, “Religion is a beautiful thing until people get involved.” I completely agree with this because we, as humans, are not perfect, and we tend to corrupt just about everything we do, whether we realize it or not. Amazingly, many of the religious leaders agreed that we all worship the same God. Studying this in a Christian school is controversial to many people, but it has brought me so much closer to God. After all, who are we to try to stuff God in a box. The mystery of God is what keeps you wondering and striving to get closer to him.

-Emma P

“A Greater Understanding”

Over the past couple weeks, we have been learning about other religions to have a greater understanding. We learned about Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Bahai. We wanted to see how similar all of these religions were. There is a great Bible verse in John 13:  34-35 says, ” you are my disciples if you love one another.” This is saying that even if we have different beliefs, we can still love one another if we have a greater understanding of these religions. I now know these religions have many similarities as well as differences, but I now have a greater respect for the six religions. At the core these six religions believe in the same things. For example the belief in one God. Just learning that these six religions all have the same belief in one God really helped me come to peace about going and learning in-depth. I now truly have a greater understanding and respect for these 5 new religions.

I am creative.

I am innovative.

I am Anastasis.

<><><>Abbey K. W<><><>

“Love all”

My takeaway from the pilgrimage can be summarized in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” This message goes to every religion out there, if you love one another you are showing the love of God. It doesn’t matter if your religion is strict, laid back, or a mixture of both, if you follow this one rule I believe your set by God for the rest or your life. The Bahá’í faith wants to mix Christianity and other religions in with theirs. Now no one is comfortable with the fact that different religions mixing together, but Bahá’í is willing. Going back to loving one another, it doesn’t matter if you mix religions, but if you really want to be a follower, just love someone for who they are, not for how they dress or what they look like. What I really love about the three monotheistic religions is that even though each religion has a different name for God, they all believe that there is only one God. Just like the pastor said, “Gods gospel is everywhere all the time.” Gospel means good news, so God and everyone else can send good news with any actions that you do. If its loving one another, to praying for someone. Anything can be possible with the love of God.

Live💃

Laugh😆

Love❤

-Micah D

“The lessons of religion”

My takeaway from all of the religions we have been studying is that no matter what religion you are in there is still one God. It’s hard to wrap your mind around on all these different religions, but in the end we can find common ground with one another. The other day we went to a Buddhist temple, Hindu temple, and Bahai temple, each religion taught me something new about life and about their religion. I learned from the Buddhist teacher that not all Buddhist sects meditate and that not all Buddhist believe in the same thing. I asked the lady a question on who she thinks Jesus Christ is and right off the bat she said an excellent teacher, a messenger from God, she even said the son of God. I was so intrigued by the way she described who Jesus was cause not all religions can do that. I also learned that satan isn’t an actually person, that “We all have a different satan inside of us and that it’s just our fears causing the temptations” from the Bahai teacher. The Hindu priest said that “No matter how many names that we call the sun, it’s still the same sun”. He was referring to that no matter how many names God has he is still God. Through my learning of all the different religions I have grown closer to God and as they always say it’s better to have more questions than more answers.

Philippians 4:13

Maddie H 🙂