Saturday, June 23, 2007


In going through the many pictures people took of the Student Leadership Project I came across this picture. What great hope that this gives me for the future!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Student Leadership Project

Last spring my friend Rana said that she was moving and wondered if I would be interested in the job she was leaving behind--working with Chap Clark (a professor at Fuller) and Young Life on a 2 week conference called the Student Leadership Project (SLP). Looking back, I realize that I had absolutely no idea what I said yes to and am sure glad that I did.

From the month of March on I spent the weeks doing tasks preparing for the students to arrive--things like booking their hotel rooms, requesting petty cash, and making meeting room reservations. Finally June 11th arrived and we hit the ground running. 35 high school juniors were flown in from around the country. They were chosen as participants in a highly selective process--chosen because of their demonstrated leadership skills in their Young Life chapters. There was also intentionality in making the group as diverse as possible--diversity in race, class, and in different hardships that they had faced in the past. I was eager to see how these kids would interact.

SLP took the kids on a journey. They were given a basic practical theology model for understanding the big issues in the world and then taught (both in the classroom and in experiential learning) about those big issues. One of these issues was class--and LA is a perfect place to demonstrate the extreme difference between the rich and poor. We first took them to MacArthur Park. This park is blocks away from downtown LA. It was originally created in 1880's and quickly became one of LA's premiere hang out spots for the wealthy. However a century later the park looked very different as it is still known today for the best place in LA to get drugs, fake IDs, and much gang violence. We gave the kids $5 each to "help someone" in the park. They broke up into groups. My group bought happy meals at McDonald's and passed them out to the many homeless people in the park. This was the group I was with most of the trip--Jameelah, Morgan, Clyde (a leader), Jessica, Marquese, and Tre.
The next day we took the kid to Rodeo Drive--a wealthy 3 blocks in Beverly Hills with stores including Armani, Louis Vuitton, and Versace. Needless to say, it is quite a different place than MacArthur Park. We gave the kids again $5 and told them to go out in the groups and help someone. Quickly they discovered that they could not buy anything in Rodeo Drive and starting searching for people to give the money to. My group gave their money to the doorman at the famous Beverly Wilshire Hotel. This exercise was amazing at seeing and understanding the different needs at both location. Here's my group on Rodeo Drive.
Mixed in with the teaching and experiential learning we also gave the kids opportunities to play and see LA. They went to the beach. Here are 2 guys learning to boogie board for the first time.
They went to a Dodger's game. The adult with the glasses is Cliff Anderson. He and Chap co directed SLP.
And they even got a taste of Hollywood as they went to two movie premeires--Evan Almighty and Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer. They saw The Silver Surfer at Fox Studios and were able to meet with the producer of the movie, Ralph Winter.
The kids went to Forest Home (a retreat center in the mountains) for the second week to focus on spiritual disciplines. I stayed in LA and was able to rest and help prepare for their last night. The last night the kids were here we had a worship service with different stations around the room. Leaders ran stations to anoint them with oil, times of prayer and confession, healing and cleansing, receiving a blessing, and a worshipful response in art. It was beautiful to watch the kids go through these stations and pray with one another. One of the most moving moments I saw was a group of 5 boys huddled together praying and talking. The part that was most exciting was that this was a very mixed group racially. It was an amazing picture of what God's Kingdom should look like...people of all colors standing together and working together for the Lord. I took a picture of the outcome of the art table I ran that night. The kids covered the middle back wall of Travis Auditorium (you Fuller people know that) with their art to God. Here's a snapshot of the art.
All in all it was an amazing two weeks. I still have lots to process so much--that I am going to do an independent study with Chap this year critically thinking theoretically and practically through the Student Leadership Project.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


June 9th marked the beginning of a very exciting journey for two of my best friends. It was Fuller's graduation. Becca and Sophie both walked across the stage to receive their Masters of Divinity degrees. It's been great to share with both of them some of their times in seminary. I've known Sophie for 6 years now--and seen her enter seminary and now leave seminary. I've only known Becca for a 1 1/2 years but we have become close in that short amount of time. How much fun it has been to see both of them learn, grow, and change in that time!

There were celebratory events all weekend. One of my favorite times was joining the Draffins for tea at the Huntington Garden.

The biggest event was a joint party in Becca and Sophie's honor put on by a San Marino church member. Here's a picture of the two of them with 5 of the youth group girls. The party was a great mix of Fuller students and church members. Being a member of both of those groups, I had a great time. :)And the actual event of graduation was...well, long. So long that we made up a graduation degree for Kernie the monkey.

He received a doctorate in philosophy of theology. Yes--we were bored.
But we got through the ceremony finally--and grabbed a picture with the graduates. Way to go girls! Now they are both in the process of looking for calls to eventually be ordained pastors in the PC(USA) church. It's exciting to think of the amazing ways that God is going to use both of them.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Cross that off the to-do list...

I had an academically hard quarter with both my professors being some of the most challenging professors at Fuller--and two of the most powerful women at Fuller. It was a quarter filled with many papers, many books, and honestly many learning moments. But it was also a quarter filled with many to-do lists. But I crossed off my last thing on the to-do list this afternoon in finishing my last final and am DONE with the spring quarter! Whew!