Student Reflection: Stories from The Crossing #learningisbigger #standagain

More than a school, Anastasis seeks to be a movement of good in our community and beyond. We partner with non-profit organizations from around the Denver Metro community. This week, Team Fink hosted some men from Denver Rescue Mission’s The Crossing to join us for lunch and stories. Below are student reflections following the visit:
The Crossing
Feeling uneasy, I expected the worst. I have to say, I was scared. I was thinking that I wasn’t going to like it. When I thought of homeless people, I always thought of they got kicked out of their homes because they didn’t pay their rent or they lost their jobs. I was closed minded, I didn’t think much of what was happening on the streets. When we sat down with the men from The Crossing, I was surprised. I thought much differently of how they would look and how they would act. I was a little scared, but also a little interested and excited about what was about to happen. They were so nice and funny! They were calm and positive people! I felt myself smiling when they would laugh or if they would just smile! When we all sat down and after we introduced ourselves, they began to tell their background story’s. During Seth’s, I could tell I was on the edge of crying. I had a painful lump in my throat and tears stung my eyes. The lump grew bigger after everyone told their stories. At that moment when we were discussing and talking to them, my mind felt open and my heart ached. Bella, Chris, Michel, Jay, Todd and Seth all were so brave and so strong. Their stories were so inspiring, emotional, and heartbreaking. Even through I only meet them for a couple hours, I felt that I built a relationship with them! I’m so honored that they shared their stories, rapped, played guitar, read poetry and sang for us. I’m so proud of them! I will forever take on what they all taught us, God will always have your back, he will provide for you, when you turn yourself to Christ, he will save you. Thank you for showing me that there is hope, even in darkest times. -Grace
Life isn’t always as simple as it seems. There will always be ups, downs, twist, and turns, there will never be a direct straight path to the destination. “To be simple is not always as easy as it seams.” (Ferdinand Holder). Hearing the stories of people that went through some of the low parts in life and recovered showed me that they aren’t afraid to share their stories and let others see what they are really like. Hearing someone’s story is the one way to know what they are really like. When I think of someone with the label “homeless,” I think of people with old clothes, dirty hands and feet, and rude attitude because that is what I was told for so long. Some homeless people are less fortunate, but today my perspective changed because I got to meet and hear the stories of homeless men and not just judge them based on what was on the outside. I was encouraged today to always believe in myself, and always know that God is with me. May you men know that God is with you no matter what, and that sharing your stories has encouraged us all. — Cam
Looking out the window and seeing the street corner that you used to live on makes reality blow up in our face. You have come so far, but you still have so much in store for you. Your words take form when they reach your lips but they are still incomplete until they have taken the form of peotry or been added to a melody. Knowing that a story hides behinds every face makes it personal. It opens our eyes to see that our differences are our similarities. An ordinary man living in an ordinary world could have their life turned upside down because of one decision. We don’t realize that we are standing on common ground until we hear stories and began to realize that we are more similar than different. Looking out the window and seeing the street corner you used to live on allows you to understand that your past doesn’t define your future.
Psalms 16:8
Thank you for sharing your stories!
Makayla Au
Hearing stories, connecting. Learning to not judge one another but learning that we are more alike than different. Learning that their past does not put labels on who they are. It does not reflect the person they are now or who they will be in the future. Because of this the next time I see a homeless person, a broken person I will know that. “We are all broken that’s how the light gets in,” (Ernest Hemingway). I will know that every person I see on the street has a story. You can’t let your mistakes define you but you can let them mold you into the person you will become. Connecting with everyone today I saw the greatness in their hearts, I saw people striving every day to be better than they were the day before. I hope I can learn to be able to have the motivation and self confidence to make my way through the hard times like they did. I will carry this experience with me for the rest of my life letting it guide me and direct me to have greatness in my heart like the people that sat before me today. Thank you for sharing your stories, may God stay with you in your journey ahead.
—Ella
Each of these men hold a new and whole different story. Their stories related to me and many I know. They too have gone through trouble. I learned that God does not want sin no matter what. Chris empowered me to never give up. Before today I thought all homeless people held the same story. I then learned there is another story behind one’s story. I did not feel sympathy for any homeless people before today. Seth’s story showed me to forgive through hard times. Chris’s story taught me to persevere. Jay’s story taught me to stay on track. Michael’s story taught me to face fear. Bella’s story taught me to be passionate. Todd’s story taught me to be a leader. Above all I have learned to keep going. I must say thank you for putting a new “perspective” on the homeless. —Oliver
Life has ups and downs, but the way you live is your choice and your perspective. Today men from Denver Rescue Mission, the Crossing came in today and told us thier story. What stood out too me from all there stories is that they don’t let their past define them. They  do a really good job about living in the present . The men, especially Chris, taught me to be content with my situation no matter what is thrown my way. He had a rough life and he had a bad leg that he might have lost. He was okay about it he did not worry because what would happen would happen. Lastly I realized that my problems are not as big as losing everything. This morning I couldn’t find my other shoe, I was so frustrated but listening to their stories put my story in to perspective. I have like five or more shoe options. I did not lose everything my problems are mostly first world ones. Their stories impacted me more than I can even proses. Thank you the to these men, Seth, Jay, Todd, Michael, Chris, and Bella, for sharing your stories whether you read this or not. You made me think to live in the present. I know if you guys work hard through God you can continue to get back what you lost. -Noelle
A tree is a home to some and paper to other. Just like trees, these people made great use of what they were given. When it could be used in a pointless way they made great use of it and turned it into a house. The story that touched me the most was Jay’s. Such a normal guy, like the rest, gone so different then what he probably dreamed of as kid. The only reason I was touched so much by his story is because it was close to our school. He brought his daughter to the church our school is in. I’m so glad that all of them changed their lives around to become happy. The best part was that all of them are successfully making use of their time and enjoying life to the fullest. I hope you maintain your faith and soberness. Thanks for coming in and inspiring me to continue to keep my life on track.
Sincerely,
Will How
Don’t let your past define you. Today was an amazing experience. I always thought of homeless people as people who were addicted to drugs and alcohol. Today gave me a different perspective on how stories really uncover the truth. These men today were so sweet. The fact that the were so vulnerable to tell us their stories of not the best part of their life really open my eyes. One story that really stuck out for me was Chris’s. His story was so encouraging to keep looking on the bright side. Every time he was told that he might never have a leg again he just told them it’s ok God has my back. He had hope. Each one of these six men had incredible stories and I will forever remember them. Thank you Jay, Seth, Bella, Todd, Michael, and Chris for showing me the past does not define you. — Gabby
Everybody makes mistakes, but nobody should have them held against them. Every one of the men had an extremely powerful story and I would love to hear more about each and every one. Everyone was so understanding when we talked about our problems and they tried to help. I thought it was extremely powerful when Michael said that, “it wasn’t a disease that spreads, it’s a choice that you make.” His story meant a lot to me and I can learn so much from him in the future. Everyone was extremely brave throughout everything that they told us. They are not homeless, they are not drug addicts, but they are imperfect people just like us. Overall thank you for willingly sharing your story and overcoming the hard times.
– Nicole
   You can’t change what’s in the past but you can change the future. When I think of the homeless I thought of dirty people who spent all their money on drugs. Now I think of people who made a mistake. Every one makes mistakes, even me, but the the men from Crossing are known for their mistakes. Sometimes it seems impossible to get out of a hole that you dug for yourself. Change is always possible. No one really likes change. Change can help and it’s not impossible to get out of the hole you dug. The people who came today proved that. What I learned from the people who came today is to never give up. Thank you for coming today and telling your story. Hearing your story is something that will impact how I view the homeless for the rest of my life.
~Kaleigh
It is crazy how your life can change in an instant. You can go from playing golf, then be at the lowest point in your life. The key is to stay on track and focus on what matters. When you get down, and you learn that God is on your side, it becomes easier to power through. “If you are in a bad place surrounded by bad people you will do bad things”(Michael), but the more you are around good people and are in good places the less you do bad things. Thank you to the men at Denver Rescue Mission for showing me that God is by my side and to stay strong through hard times. — Caeleb
People are people and the past is the past. The past is where you learn. Learn from the mistakes. Your past does not define you, for you are you and the past is the past. You will always have a choice. The choice of accepting that everyday is an opportunity to start new, or to suffer in the memory of your past. However, there is a third choice. The choice of accepting who you are through Christ, our savior and creator of life. This choice will always be a choice no matter the circumstance. Jesus will forgive your past and help you with you with the present. The love of Jesus is unending for those thirsting for love, the poor and needy, the homeless and the hungry. Face the world with courage, no matter what you do, and know within your heart that God is always there for you. Guiding you through this journey we call life. Even in the darkest moments. For those are the moments where Christ helps you the most to see the light in the darkness. “Stars can’t shine without darkness” (unknown). Without the suffering and the pain, we cannot accomplish anything.
Stories are told and stories teach. Each story has a lesson, whether its obvious or hidden. The stories I heard Tuesday, November 28, 2017, were stories that I will remember for the rest of my life. Astonishing stories of the lives of six men. Men who have been addicted to drugs and alcohol, but have overcome their addiction through Christ. Chris, one of the men, told his story. Listening to his story, I realized how much more he has been through than I have, yet his positivity throughout his life is extraordinary. He had the knowledge of Christ being his savior and that was enough for him. The men have faced trials throughout their life, but that didn’t stop them from becoming disciples of Christ. “Meeting with the wrong people at the wrong place leads to doing the wrong things. But meeting with good people at the right place will lead to doing the right things” (Michael). All of these men had sad but yet heartwarming stories. This experience to talk with these men really opened up my mind to think about being grateful for everything I have and that everything happens for a purpose. Thank you for coming in to talk to us. This experience was truly inspiring to me.  -Kuyla Kim
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Student Reflections from Moab

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Below are some reflections from the Moab trip:

Baptism is more than getting dunked underwater. It is submitting yourself to God. It is letting parts of you die, and letting other parts of you be born again. At first when I was Baptized in the Colorado River, I knew that it was a holy moment but it didn’t hit me the choice that I had made to submitted myself to God. It is only now, as I am looking back, that I realize that I have made the biggest decision of my life. I have chosen to follow and praise God in everything that I do. I have chosen to follow God’s footsteps so close that I get the dust of his sandals on my face. I have chosen to try my hardest live up to the name of my God. I have chosen to believe. Thou mayest, I have chosen to be believe. I am honored to be Baptized with Charleigh. I have another Child of God that can walk along the path of life with me and hold me accountable for the choice that I made. I have someone to share one of the most important moments of my life with. It also means a lot to me to be Baptized in the Colorado river. Although I was Baptized in Utah, it still means a lot to me to be Baptized in the river that runs through my home state. It means a lot to me to call Colorado my home again. Moab will always have a special place in my heart, and I will always remember that I have chosen to believe. Thou mayest, I have chosen to believe.     -Makayla
Moab was an amazing trip! I loved the hiking parts because through all the pain in my legs and feet the views were outstanding on the way and at the destination. I also loved sitting at campfires talking, playing games even though I got a little frustrated at times while solving riddles. When I understood them it made me laugh because I made it harder than it really was. Overall the trip made me sad and happy because it was a great trip and my last one with these beautiful and amazing people. –Maddie

Under the stars my mind glowed with wonder. In the Colorado River I was splashed with refreshing sense of friendship. Around the fire I was warmed by the love and joy lit by everyone. At the tall rock formations I found a solid foundation in Christ because only He could create such masterpieces. Moab was a landscape in movement, a landscape full of memories. Whether we were hiking in the sunshine or running under the rain, our faces were radiant with laughter and smiles. The world is full of such amazing places and they are right in front of us. This trip inspired me to travel and explore, and I’ve discovered exploration is even better when it’s with people you love. Our trip to Moab is a trip that will not be forgotten.  –Megan

In Moab, Utah, friendship shined the brightest during the sweatiest, physically challenged, saddest, most claiming times. I formed stronger relationships with every single one of my classmates and teachers. I experienced many things I’ve never experienced before. It was also outstanding to see nature in many different shapes and forms. I will forever remember the challenging hikes to beautiful destinations, jumping into the Colorado river, the very fun van rides, the non-stop crying before, during and after the campfire speeches, and of course getting baptized. I got baptized the second time in my life but the first time deciding. It’s still a feeling I will never be able to describe. I am filled with joy knowing that my relationship with God is just starting. Since that was the first and last time going to Utah with the class nothing else will ever come close to the community building of that trip. I will never forget Moab, Utah 2017 with the greatest class of all time.  –Charleigh

Engaging, growing, bonding, laughing and sharing special memories that will never be forgotten. This was my last trip as an Anastasis student and it was truly unforgettable. From hiking to each beautiful arch to sitting under the bright stars this trip was extra special with each of you. I never had a frown on my face even when jumping into the freezing Colorado river. I was always engaging with someone new and later making a stronger relationship that will never be broken. I was always laughing whether it was when choched egg got choched or when we were watching for shooting stars in peace and all of a sudden Jack and Mitch are yelling DONKEY! And through all of this God was very relevant and he was showing his love and peace through each of you and his creation. Through out this trip I was reminded of a bible verse that says ” The heavens declare the glory of God the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” ( psalms 19 – 1 ) When I hear this bible verse I am reminded to always look for joy in the simple things and absorb the sights God has beautifully painted. God works in mysterious ways but over this trip a little piece of the puzzle was answered for me and that was God is very real and he is working through us and around us each and every day. Some of my favorite highlights over this trip was hiking and looking through caves to only find out that it is a dead end, or looking at the beautiful hanging lake, or watching the suns reflection on the pond disappear as it goes behind the mountains. All of these will be cherished deep in my heart and never forgotten. Thanks for an amazing trip and year I wouldn’t trade it for the world. –Alli

Poetry Slam: Student writing

Last week Team Fink shared original poetry in a Poetry Slam. Below is their work.

If you are interested in hearing their poetry, check out videos here.

 
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1) Haiku

By Macie Murphy

Wind dances through trees
The Streams over flow with charm
Nature inspires me

“Transformation” By Maddie Whitehouse

I am trapped with fear
I need to break through these chains
Only then, I’m free

“Stories” by Mitch Larson

Take me back in time
To a place of history
So I’m young again

“Write your epic” by Alli Randall

People have stories
Life stories that can inspire
Write your story well

“Release” by Angelina Basso

Can life be freeing
Does it trap you in a cage
Or let you be released

2) Limerick

“Success through a kids eye” By Maddie Whitehouse

There once was a boy on a tramp
Who thought he could jump with a lamp
He threw the lamp in the sky
And hit a little fly
Then he felt like a little champ

“Easter” by Angelina Basso

There once was a darkness all over the world
It consumed us and made us unfurled
but then there was a light
No one had seen it in sight
we felt it shape the world in a swirl

“Deflated Grape” By Megan Suedkamp

There was a shriveled up green grape
Who held a rather odd bumpy shape
To be called a raisin
Would not be amazin
So instead he was thrown in a crepe

“Wacky?” by Noelle Bergstrom

There once was a girl named Jackie
Some say she was quite tacky
She would roll in a ball
And sit on a wall
Sometimes she was even called wacky

3) Acrostic

“Life” By Charleigh Gibson

L augh without fears of the future
I ntense and interesting your odyssey should be
F rustrating and devastation will come your way
E xplore yourself and express your psyche before you lay

“Epic” By Maddie

Searching through life
Taking some risks
Observing the world
Running freely
Young and dreaming

“History” by Jack Sanger

History repeats
Into the future
So how does
That play
Out for you
Remember
Your past fades and your future expands

“Be present” by Alli Randall

Look forwards not backwards
Iduldge in the present
Find the special moments today
Enjoy the memory for a lifetime

“All things are fine” by Mitch Larson

Someday the sun will shine
Turning the earth green
Over mountains in time
Revealing what’s not seen
Inching toward the line
Erasing the dreams
Showing all things are fine

“O Scream O Sunshine, O Scream” by Makayla Au

Surely it understands what I need,
Understands how to dig up the roots of a weed.
o please understand dear sunshine, o please

Never will it fill me to the brim,
Soaking me with the warmth of a hymn.
o sing to me o sunshine, o sing

Half heartily slapping me with the wind,
Inspiring me to relive all the days I have sinned.
o renew me o sunshine, o renew me

Naive it becomes as it hides behind a cloud,
Exasperation it betrays as it screams aloud.
o scream sunshine, o scream
for most of the world only sees you in their dreams

” Purpose driven life” by Lauren Stephens
What is your S tory
A beautiful sound T hat no one hears?
A story O f a thousand words
A wo R ld full of stories
The world is full of stories, but are you living Y ours?

4) Blackout

Fear not,
Light and joy,
Peace and love,
Come from the lord
-Makayla Au

Silently listen to stories
Whenever listening
We wish
To learn their
Language
-Megan Suedkamp

Gentle quiet
But valiant
Dream
Kings and Queens
-Noelle Bergstrom

5) Sonnet

“Tongues” by Macie Murphy

I am wrapped with skin, skin that holds secrets
It is easily bruised, easily scarred
I try to heal, but I have a weakness
Peoples words are made of very sharp shards
My soul cries for help, but you don’t dare hear
You keep living, your tongue keeps on killing
I fade away, I slowly disappear
I turn to shadows, you freeze my singing
I hope human tongues could be turned a-new
Changing its evil into a stunning song
Maybe one day they’ll be after you too
Don’t be afraid because your skin is strong
And from everyone’s heart hate could be sprung
And that is all the work of the human tongues

“Comfort in the dark” By: Alli Randall

Fear steals the light from my beautiful soul
Darkness floods into my once passionate eyes
Fear chips pieces of me that makes me whole
When will I soon learn that these are all lies
Because I let fear control my own mind
I am now trapped in a dark, unlocked cage
I begin to like it here, I am blind
Here I’m comfortable beginning to age
My heart longs to see color once again
I know I wasted lifetimes in shadows
I need to leave my comfort zone but when?
Thoughts come into my mind, I become froze
I take a leap, a smile comes my face
After that leap risk is now what I chase

“Falling to My Knees” by Makayla Au

Sitting, hiding, abandoned in the dark
Thinking, contemplating, whether to stay
Nervous, afraid, scared, waiting for a spark
Waiting and falling to my knees to pray
O darkness conceal my heart and hide me
O hope disappear and never come back
O death come conquer me with the dead sea
O life go hide, returning with a whack
O joy disease into what were my dreams
O peace please swallow up my hateful pride
O hate come and sweep up my loving themes
O love wash away the peaceful loud tide
As I step up from the melting shadow
I am saying hello to tomorrow

“Sunshine” by Charleigh Gibson

You are my sunshine, that shine will spur on
You turn my world brighter when outside’s dark
When you’re gone, my smiles not set upon
Without you nowhere I will find my spark
You, give me feelings I cannot described
I keep craving you because you renew
How long have I been striving for our tribe?
Didn’t know where to find light, but sunshine knew
I am an emotional empty hole
I don’t have any fire in my eye
Within, I do not have a heart and soul
Yet, I hear a voice telling me “fly high”
You don’t have to frantic, just turn around
Sunshine is here don’t worry, you’re not Ground

“Flavors of life” by: Lauren Stephens

Our stories are a part of our expression
We long to share yet we never listen
We are caught up in our self obsession
Your story seems dull but it will glisten
Our memories are part of our story
Good or bad they will always stick with you
In our highs and lows we give God glory
Listing to stories can shape us too
In all stories there is imperfection
One comes to tell another somber news
In all this bad news there is reflection
All of my bad news who does it amuse
All of your hateful words stab like a knife
But all stories are the flavor of life

“A Good Fate” by Jackson Bolz

Fate is to be feared by some to be sure
Destiny awaits you and I alike
Fate is gentle to those with hearts of myrrh
But those who hold hearts impure, it may strike
Men conforming to evil ways beware
Those who’s morals are drained as dry as drought
Fate brings consequence to those who so dare
It silences a wicked man’s great shout
The innocent are judged oh so lightly
Such individuals are favored true
The just are strangled not at all tightly
If happiness is sought, good you must do
May great fortune follow those who are great
For wise deeds and kind acts bring a good fate

“Listen to your Heart” by Angelina Basso

Walking in a cloud of darkness full of lies
My head spinning, I don’t know where I have landed
And no one, no one seems to her my cries
But my head keeps telling me I am stranded
My mind begins to give up hope
As it lets my heart go into hiding
It’s strangled up by a rope
But my head and heart start colliding
My head says “this is the right path”
“It’s the one the world has traveled”
But my heart says “it’s the path of wrath”
The right path will be unraveled
The cloud of darkened begins to disappear
As the light begins to re appear

6) Free Verse

“Horrid Life of Luxury” by Jackson Bolz

Suffering from being one with luxury
Fortune’s claws are torturous
Terribly-trimmed are our plants and shrubbery
Such a horrid life I live
Why must one wait in coffee lines?
How could one possibly choose where he dines?
This chair is too stiff
My life holds no gifts
Such a horrid life I live
Why does YouTube have no care for me
It buffers and loads and advertises, that’s three!
Such a horrid life I live
I suffer education; I have to actually learn?
Must my mind from nothing to something turn?
What a horrid life I live…
I live the Horrid Life of Luxury

“Eyes opened” by Noelle Bergstrom

My head is cold
but my feet are hot
My phone is out of storage
But I need more
I live a rough life of disappointment
Things always let me down
I have too many options
Coke or Pepsi
Too many rooms to lose my remote
When my flight to a third world country is not direct
I die
But what I see opens my eyes
Children with ripped clothes
Mothers with children in fields
Not knowing where their food is coming from
Not knowing where to stay warm
I have lots and not give at all
They have little and give it all
My options are many
My space is a lot
First world problems
Is all I got

“The Day I Killed a Loved One” by Jack Sanger

No no no no no!
I dropped my phone
And I got a scratch on it
Live is over, now I’m just a lousy cone
The only thing that will make this better
Is if the devil blesses me with sweet relief
I’m done with everything
Like…. Cmon, why me?
What did I do? You see?
Just because of this
I’m hosting a funeral to my phone
It’s the only way to fix what I now miss
I could go to prison for dropping it
My best friend is still there today
Oh no I can’t let anyone know I gotta hide it
I’ve got to move to South America
I cannot be known as the phone killer
Yeah, yeah I will change my name
I will never own the same brand again
No one will ever know
Since I dropped my phone, I’ve gotta lay low

“Moon’s Eye” by Megan Suedkamp

I am moon’s eye, I watch the world pass by… I watch the world live, I watch the world die.

I look down and war is about, I go around sometimes I see love sprout. The love is brighter, but they choose war and war can’t cut as deep yet they let it spread wider.

Sometimes I laugh at how foolish they are.

They crave power and possession, though they are just the smallest speck from afar.

Just a body, a body with skin that can cut, flesh that will die, they spend their time believing they need to be the best, they need to be popular, though that is a lie.

I am moon’s eye I watch the world pass by…I watch the world live, I watch the world die.

Just a body, but a spirit that will glow inside, they can make a difference and leave an impact – it’s a choice you must decide.

I cross the earth look from peace to death, the peace exists we just need to learn to stop, love, take a second to take a breath.

The world is ugly, but also so beautiful, look from a new perspective, it might be amazingly different, magnificently unusual.

I am moon’s eye I watch the world pass by… I watch the world live and I watch the world die

“I Won’t Break” by Makayla Au

There is a girl everyone calls skinny,
There is a boy everyone calls fat.
There is a old man everyone calls ugly,
There is an old lady everyone calls crazy.
No one knows who they are
No one stops to ask
But if someone would, they would say
I will stand up strong
I won’t play along
Because I keep my head held high
Because I have hope on my side
You can rock my world
With hurtful words and untold lies
But I won’t break
You better see that I won’t break
No one knows the girl refuses to eat,
No one knows the boy has a serious disease.
No one knows the old man was injured fighting for our country,
No one knows the old lady has no one left in her family.
No one knows who they are
No one stops to ask
But if someone would, they would say
I will stand up strong
I won’t play along
Because I keep my head held high
Because I have hope on my side
You can rock my world
With hurtful words and and untold lies
But I won’t break
You better see that I won’t break
I won’t break
I won’t break
I won’t break
You can rock my world
With hurtful words and untold lies
But still I won’t break
You see I wasn’t meant to break

“First World Porblems” by: Lauren Stephens

My eyes come to meet the terrible news
that my phone is at 1%
I have the blues
As a tear streams down my face
my phone dies
Oh the tragedy
The pain
Ouch my brain
Now how am I going to find a lunch place without Siri?
As I head back to my mansion in my Lamborghini
My keys fall to the ground
But the ground is so far away
All I see is gray
I take a huge step out of my comfort zone
to reach down and get my keys
Oh gee I have to pick them up myself
I arrive at my mansion
but my house keeper is not here
And there is no more beer?
Oh the tragedy
The pain
I can’t have a dirty house
After a long journey I’m here
An outlet is finally near
And my phone reaches 10%
I call an organization called FWP (First World Problems)
But they were no help at all
They just Said,
“Stop it and get some help”
Then they hang up
I start to cry again
Thinking that they didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear
What has my life come to?
No house keeper when I have a speck of dust
On a desk that I never use
Or dropping my keys
Or maybe even receiving news
That I didn’t want to hear
Oh the pain
The agony
My life is ruined!

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

Lessons from a WWII Veteran: Student Response

Last week we were privileged and honored to host Metanoia guest speaker, Clayton Nattier (see photo above), World War II Air Force pilot, purple heart recipient and former POW. Mr. Nattier shared stories of his personal experiences leading his flight team, parachuting into enemy territory and enduring the hardships of life as a POW in a German prison camp. His compelling stories left an impression on Anastasis students. See some of their comments below:
Times are changing. It’s not before long when souls move on and their legacies remain. Thank you so much Clayton for sharing your inspirational story. I’m still amazed that I got to speak with a national treasure such as yourself. Your story showed me the dire importance of Bravery even when fear seems to crown itself, the importance of hope when the lights seem to fade away, and the power of love even when times seem as if they are out to destroy us. I encourage you to keep spreading your story and inspiring souls in this universe. Your story has made an impact on our world and an imprint on my heart.
Even with hardships I saw the amazing faith and positivity. The story that you shared with us is so special and heroic. It’s amazing to think that through trauma God has a plan for all of us. When you told the part of your story when you had to bail from your plane, I was astounded by your true bravery and courage. You have inspired me and I am so lucky to have heard your story. Thank you, Clayton, you are truly a national treasure. 
Thank you for teaching me something that I will never forget. Something that will not just be planted on my heart, but rooted in it. You taught me that when life is hard, God is good. That when life isn’t going how we planned, all we can do is put a smile on our face and believe. Believe that something will change. Believe that God isn’t a dictator or an enemy. He is a Father, our Father. “You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.” You have taught me that it’s not just about how you have lived life, it’s about what you 
have learned from it. 
Thank you for serving in a hard war and wanting to do it again. Thank you for being vulnerable and talking about it. Thank you for sharing I learned that it helps to share your story so we can learn from it. Thank you for taking precious time out of your day. You are a great story. 
Clayton is truly an inspiration to this day. He had hope, faith, courage, and bravery in one of the most hardest times in history. Thank you so much Clayton for sharing your incredible story with us today. It is truely an honor to hear and see you to this day still living life to the fullest. Thank you for coming and serving your country.
Not many people will be able to say they have heard a story of a war hero. Today I was lucky enough to listen to Clayton’s story and how he protected our country. The most amazing thing ever to hear is that even though Clayton was a prison or of war, that he lost some great friends, that thousands of people died, he would do it all over again to protect our country. I would like to thank Clayton and all the veterans of World War Two for protecting myself and all the citizens of America. These veterans are treasures of the war that should 
never be forgotten.

Thank you, Mr. Clayton for everything you have done for our nation. I thank you for having served bravely with the love you have fueling your spirit. We are forever grateful to you for protecting our freedom and way of life, as well as protecting our independence. I thank you for that. I thank you for every act of love you have shared, and I thank you, most importantly, for never forgetting who you are.
Clayton was a brave and inspirational man. I loved hearing his story and that if he could change anything he wouldn’t. I loved hearing him talk about how he got to fly the airplanes and how much work that was. I took a lot away from this but something that I will remember for a long time is that he was brave and didn’t give up. Thank you Clayton for speaking to us and serving our country.
Clayton is a national treasure to many people. Not too many people are still alive today from WW II to show the new generation what true courage and bravery is. Thank you Clayton for sharing your story and being a primary source to all of us. My grandpa was a Colonel in the Army and hearing his stories was life changing and every single time I hear a story from experiences from war they all sound different in there own special way. Your faith and joy throughout your experience is inspiring to me to be more faithful and be brave. Thank you.
Clayton, thank you so much for all you have done for me and this country. Your really are a national treasure because there’s not many people left that are similar to you. I loved hearing your personal story and your experience in World War II. My favorite part on what you said was about how even in all that had happened to you, you still had hope. I think you were super brave to go and be apart of the war and you would still do it if you traveled back in time. 
May God bless you.  

Cultural Pilgrimage: Reflections from the Protestant Church #comments4kids

Reflections from Team Fink’s pilgrimage to the Protestant Church.

Going to the Protestant church I already knew what to expect. There was nothing there that was going to surprise me or make me feel uncomfortable. But as Pastor Peter was talking I felt as if I had never learned of Christianity before. My mind drew blank and I learned about it as if I have never heard the word Jesus before. He answered all questions in away that I wouldn’t have thought of. Pastor Peter talked about perspective with all questions. That’s something I loved, that he would put perspective into every and all question.

God exposes you to Him if you are in the absence of light. Also God talks to people in different ways. We think God doesn’t answer our prayers, but really we don’t open our eyes to realize our answer right in front of us. All of our answers look different, and our relationship with the trinity looks special and different than anyone else. With the unique relationship I have with God, I’m realizing he is making me more new in every way. I loved going to the Protestant Church and learning more about the love of God.

Going to the church has helped me understand my own religion better. One thing pastor Peter said was “In order to fall in love with Jesus we have to experience the bad.” ~ Peter this reminded me of the saying we must experience the rain before we can see the rainbow. I think God puts trials in our life so we can resort back to God when we need a hand. One of the questions I asked was who is God at the core? Peter replied God is Jesus. I found this interesting because at the Catholic church the man said God is love. Peter said love can be used in wrong terms. So he said God is Jesus. Also one thing I thought was cool that he said was Gods wrath is Gods love. When God is mad it is because he loves us and cares for us.
Overall this trip has impacted my life greatly and has taught me to trust God in the darkness.

God is the groom, God is the light, God is our daddy, God is the consuming fire. I walk and so often I trip on the shadow Satan has cast on my path, I fall in love with this shadow because it hides me from the things I can’t see. I become dark like the shadow and it feels good because I’m scared of what the Light might expose. With each fearful thought a piece of my flesh falls from my body and is plastered to the shadow. The shadow takes form. This creation I am making from the shadow says we are friends, yet I am a slave to it. My flesh keeps falling off. This creation becomes bigger and gives me orders and calls them deals, but I never benefit. Pieces of my flesh keep falling. This evil creation I make deceives me and I become evil too. My flesh is gone. Now I am ugly and broken and I ask the shadow that I made into a monster if it would help me. It leaves. I am left with no hope, I am dark and I crave the Light. I want the Light and I know the Light exists. I search and search. Soon I grow tired and go sit against a wall. I look up and a cloth is on the wall. “Tear the cloth.” Light speaks to me. I grab the cloth and rip it in half and light seeps through. I am covered in the Light. It scorches me and I cry. Why would Light do this to me, it must hate me, but I don’t realize Light actually loves me. Light is a consuming fire. My skinned body is burned to ash, and I become made new. I am in love with the Light. The Light then holds me and I know it will never let me down, because the Light is my Daddy; even when I stray from Him, He will never stop loving me. The soulless creature I have made dies. It no longer has my skin, because I have been reborn.
The church was a refreshing place. At the church today I realized how often I slip into the shadow of evil. “With fear you put flesh on the evil one.” (Peter). Satans biggest weapon is fear. I constantly fear the unknown and it makes Satan stronger. Satan drowns us in darkness and we easily forget God can give us a breathe of Light. There is always light in the darkness, even if we can’t see it. “In order to fall in love with good, we have to experience evil.” (Peter). Without darkness we would not celebrate the Light. God gives us trials, to rejoice in His greatness. Peter talked about how first we have to want God, then we have to search for him, and God will let us find Him. We are the brides to God and it is the most beautiful marriage ever. Some religions believe God is not like a dad or does not want to help us if we don’t seek Him, but God is truly our father and His presence is constantly by our sides. God is the groom, He is the light, He is our father, God is the consuming, and God makes us new.

We reject God but He still love us anyway. We push Him aside because we don’t have time for Him, but He still loves and strives for us. We act like strangers and have a disguise over ourselves so we can hide from Him, but the disguise is like glass, and He can see through it. God is always with us “we aren’t a number on a waiting list.”(Peter). Even if we are in a really bad situation, in the end I believe that “You make beautiful things out of the dust, You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of us.” (Beautiful things). He has a purpose for everything so in that bad situation something good will come out of it, but it might take some time. God will re-sculpt us and those ashes that we were once, will one day convert us to become pure, because that’s how much He loves us.

God is the river that gushes into our soul. The water of Gods river is sweet because of the flavor of love and grace He has put into it. This Spirit does everything out of love even if we forget sometimes. The Divine has the power in which He can eternally torture Adam, yet He chooses not to because he is good, and good always conquers. God is the almighty, yet He does not use this power to torture humanity, but He uses it to bind us with Him out of this unbreakable love. (Pastor Peter). The Lord is the river of love that is open for us to swim amongst its waters, yet we choose to create our own river.
The river we have created is bitter and salty because we have dumped sins and lies into it. One of the lies is that we are sin at the core and because of this lie we try to justify our wrong doings. God destroys this lie we believe about ourselves. God destroys this lie and purifies our murky waters out of His love and embracing us in His wrath. (Pastor Peter). The Lord destroys this lie in each person differently just like He communicates to others in different forms.
The Divine comes in different ways so we may spread the Gospel according to what He has taught us as individuals. (Pastor Peter). Sometimes we see the Spirit and sometimes we don’t, but God is always there even if we can’t hear Him. When our ears become numb to what God tries to tell us we feel as if He has become absent from our lives. In these moments when the Lord doesn’t seem transparent we feel consumed by darkness.
In this darkness it is easier to see the light that shines. (Pastor Peter). Light is always around us, but in the darkness light becomes easier to appreciate and notice. God is always around us channeling His river of love into our everyday lives, but if we don’t experience darkness we can not appreciate this river He has made for us.
God immerses us in His river everyday. We must allow Him to filter out our dirty lies and sins. We shall rejoice in the darkness as much as we do the light, and most of all we must recognize He is always with us even if we do not see Him right in front of our faces.

My hand closes around a small metal key. Although I sit in the darkness, I can feel the key gleaming in my hand. This is my way out. This is what I have been waiting for my whole life. I start crawling until I slam into the wall. My hands start working their way up the wall until they find the little keyhole that I discovered months ago. I reach into my pocket and grasp the little key. I shove the little key in the slit. I twist it and turn it but nothing happens. I must have been sitting on the cold floor twisting the key for hours, but how would I know? I haven’t exposed to time for years. Finally, I hear a little click. I hold my breath and wait. The dark cold walls of my dungeon fall, and the light blinds me. “The worst thing that can happen if you believe that you are darkness, and God exposes you to light.” (Pastor Peter). I scream. It has been so long since I had last seen light that I forgot what it even looked like. I forgot how wonderful and warm it was. I looked down at my bruised hands and dirty clothes, and wondered how long I had let the Evil one tempt me into despair and darkness. I remember my father. I remember his last words to me. So I ran. I ran right into the room where I last left him, and there he was. Sitting on his throne gazing down with his beautiful eyes that I almost had forgot that could light up the world. He sat there with his arms wide open and a big smile on the face. “I knew you would come back, there wasn’t a moment that I ever doubted you.” Then I started crying. I started crying because I knew I couldn’t say the same. Because I knew that I had doubted. He read my thoughts, and pulled me into one of his loving and strong hugs, that I had so dearly missed and said, “I love you.”

Poverty Walk- Student Reflections

Last week, Team Fink went on a poverty walk hosted by Network Coffee House as part of their Power of One inquiry block. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience that built empathy and community. Below are student reflections of the day.

Poverty walkIMG_6218

Angelina B- We are so quick to judge others, but have we ever put our selves in their shoes? When we see someone on the street corner holding a sign for money, what is your first thought? All they want is money for drugs. They just dressed up like that to get money. Society tells us that homeless people are bad, scary, lazy. But have you heard their story’s, why they did what they did. We act as if we haven’t done anything bad in our life. We held up a sign that says, ” Anything helps.” I got dirty looks from people in there car, not one person in their cars looked like they cared. We did get one dollar from someone, but that person wasn’t in a car. It was a homeless man who gave it to us. The person I would not think to give me anything was a man who was homeless. I had only herd things about the homeless that people have told be about them. The bad things they do, stealing, hurting others, braking things.  We only see their 10% and don’t try to look for their 90%. We are so quick to judge others, but have we ever put our selves in their shoes?

Izzy-    Today we went on a poverty walk at The Network. It truly was an amazing experience. Even bad experiences can be used for good. Fear can transform into lessons. I especially liked holding the sign, because it showed me how we are. How we just go on with our lives and not pay attention to who and what is around us. Even the people who have nothing are willing to give. The walk put us in a vulnerable position, but it is good to out yourself into other people’s shoes. Stereotypes disappear when you become part of it. It doesn’t seem so strange anymore, just different.

Angelina H- The poverty walk opened my squinting eyes to the world of poverty surrounding me. The most impactful thing was holding the sign up. People just looked at me, and kept going. I was really put into the shoes of someone who is forced to do that. Watching other people, and praying, and learning, was all a new and amazing experience. Being upper middle class, and still looking around to make sure I was safe, I couldn’t imagine what being homeless would feel like in that situation.

Macie- This experience opened a new lens of humility and empathy into my life. The assumptions that we have for the homeless are not all true. I met some giving homeless people who don’t have as much as we do. We were only out there observing for about an hour, but it happens everyday around us. We have so many opportunities to help, but we are too lazy. Like the video we watched this morning showing that one person can make a change can make a difference. Just one drop of love can overflow the sea. It only takes one person to recognize that not all homeless people match up to who we think they are. One man showed his kindness through asking us how our day was and took the time to talk to us. Today I held a sign on the side of the road and a woman who drove by started cursing and yelling in her car toward me. Why do we have such a stern, hardened heart towards people who need a little love? If we were thrown out in the streets after being in our warm, comforting homes, I bet we would never walk past a homeless person again and feel disgust and assumption in our hearts. We are in our own personal bubble filled with possession and money etc. The homeless popped that bubble and have been through experiences that we would never dream of while we are wrapped in our cozy blanket sitting next to a fire. We are all interconnected so why not help one another.