There are so many things I’m excited for and I’m just happy that God has given me joy after my praying and going to bed a little sad last night!

I’m excited for Release!!! Our Black Regional Student Conference with Intervarsity! I’m excited because I’m expecting God to show up in mighty ways and speak into my life like he’s done so many times before… because I get to see so many wonderful faces that I haven’t seen in a while like My BFF ANGELA!!!! and PATRICE!!!! and my wonderful roommate from Atlanta ’08 ALEX!!!! and the potential of meeting new wonderful faces from different schools that people are going to bring… it’s going to be awesome!!!

Work was awesome today!!! I got my babies back! Last week someone was out so I had to be with the middle schoolers and I was very unhappy because they don’t listen to me like at all… but today I got to go back to where my heart is and was welcomed with hugs and opened arms cuz they were happy to see me! They don’t know I was just as happy to see them… cuz I had an incident with the middle schoolers and a parent was upset and that made me upset and I really was worried that I did something wrong, but I talked to the principal about it and she said that the kids told the truth which really made me feel better because the one girl was lying to her mother and making me look bad and the parent was going to talk to the principal and I didn’t know what that outcome was going to bring… but now that the girl owned up to it the pressure is off of me! Plus the director of Aftercare came in my class today and told me I was doing a very good job and that just boosted my day because I worry about that sometimes and just need that word of affirmation to know that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing because I do try my best.

I got to spend time with Utibe today in DC… which was great because even though it was crowded and our time was short we got to talk a little bit and catch up after Atlanta before she makes that trip back to LA… Utibe and I did an Urban Project with Intervarsity in 2006 together. We spent some time reminiscing on that crazy summer! LOL Good times…

Oh and at driving school today my driving instructor asked us what it meant to be saved and it was great just to be able to openly share about Christ in a setting you wouldn’t think of as the place for that… and I found out that one of the students in the class is a freshman @ Bowie State… God is SO funny… connection over break? I mean really WHAT is the likelihood of that happening? Needless to say I’m going to try to connect with her and maybe even try to get her to come to Release… she does attend church… I wonder if she’s crazy enough to attend a conference with some people she hardly knows? LOL We’ll see!!!!

I FINALLY decided what song I’m dancing to for my grandmother’s Pastoral Anniversary this Sunday! Cece Winans’ Holy Spirit Come Fill this Place! I’m excited about it now LOL because at first I just had no clue about what to do… and though I’m sure my grandmother would love anything I do… its like a dance tribute to her and my ministry unto God so I was really like ok… its coming up what should I do??? AHHH!

All in all I’m just excited about God cuz he’s amazing and wonderful!

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December 29, 2008- Dr Jeanne Porter (Apostolic Church of God)

RESTORATION- Jonah 2:1-2, Jonah 4

Restoration- going back to original intent that God had

Dr Porter really gave us an insightful view to Jonah and why he didn’t want to go to Nineveh and paralleled it with the black community. She started with teaching us about Bennett’s Model of Intercultural Sensitivity. There are 2 branches of this model which 3 subsets under each.

Ethnocentric- Denial, Defense, Minimization
Ethnorelative- Acceptance, Adaptation, Integration

Denial of course is saying that there is no cultural difference… like saying to a person who is of a different culture as you “I don’t see color… I only see people”

Defense is when one acknowledges the existence of certain cultural
differences, but because those differences are threatening to his or her own reality and sense of self, the individual constructs defenses against those differences.

Minimization is when one acknowledges cultural differences, but trivializes them, believing that human similarities far outweigh any differences.

Acceptance is when one recognizes and values cultural differences
without evaluating those differences as positive or negative.

Adaptation is when one begins to develop and improve skills for interacting and communicating with people of other cultures through perspective-shifting, the ability to look at the world “through different eyes.”

Integration is when one constantly defines their own identity and evaluating behavior and values in contrast to and in concert with a multitude of cultures. Rising above the limitations of living in one cultural context, these individuals integrate aspects of their own original cultural perspectives with those of other cultures.

Now what does this have to do with Jonah? Well Nineveh was a wicked city… We got that from the text right… Well Nineveh is apart of this wonderful country of Assyria… who was pretty much really evil and fought dirty. They had tormented and tortured every nation that conquered and it was pretty bad. They were especially bad to Israel (Jonah’s nation). So Jonah pretty much had a grudge against Nineveh and there was no way he wanted to go preach to them.

The tie back to us was that there are some places we don’t want to go because of our heart toward those places or things. And that we as a black community deal with alot of those things because of the oppression that we suffered way back in slavery… but that’s not an excuse for us to stay there… Some of the things she mentioned were Addictions, Anger & Rage, Defensiveness, and need to prove ourselves.

After her message she had us come up front to the alter and pray to God to work in our hearts on the issues we dealt with whether those that she mentioned or others. It was really freeing and great. I did have alot of rage inside… I never act on it because it’s bottled up. (unlike my brother who scares me sometimes…) Anywho God dealt with that and I just love that he does things we don’t expect when we don’t expect it.

To Be Continued….

Speaker Bio: Dr. Jeanne Porter is an ordained minister with the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, and is an associate minister at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago. Dr. Porter received both Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, the Master of Arts of Theological Studies from McCormick Theological Seminary, in Chicago, Illinois, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Communication, with an emphasis in Cultural Studies from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. You may visit www.TransPorterGroup.com to learn more about Dr Jeanne Porter and her work for the Kingdom.

December 28- Ram Sridharan (THE Ohio State University)

REPENTANCE- 2 Chronicles 26:16-22; Isaiah 6:1-8

So Ram started the conference off with talks of repentance being that if we are to be well equipped leaders we must begin with a vision of God, and our own sin. We must know that God is sovereign and hear his voice and obey it. This was a great kick off to the conference I must say because it just gave us a bigger view of God and a reverance for God. We learned that God is Holy Cubed 🙂

Isaiah 6:1-8

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.  And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.  With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

We all we called to a time of repentance to confess our sins before God and before one another so that when we heard the call we could say… “Here we are. Send us!” What an experience that was, even though I was doing accountability the next day I confessed somethings (that I’ve never confessed with a stranger before) and got prayer of forgiveness from a staff worker and it really helped me begin to shake off the bad attitude I had from the rooming situation because I admitted how self-centered I was. Good Stuff…

To Be Continued

Speaker Bio:

Ram Sridharan is on staff with IVCF as Team Leader of the Undergraduate Ministries at Ohio State. He grew up as a third culture kid, living most of his life in Tanzania, Kenya, South India and then the United States for his college education. Ram studied Microbiology as an undergraduate and went on to study Folklore and later Human Resources for his masters. He served as a career counselor for a number of years at the University where he worked to create the African American Peer Mentoring Program. Ram has served as a volunteer for 8 years with InterVarsity before coming on staff full time in 2002. Since then he has helped launch Ignite, the Black Student Chapter at Ohio State, lead a series of Bible Studies and GIG’s with Black Fraternities and has supervised Black staff and volunteers.

So LOTS means Lessons Outside the Sessions 🙂

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The enemy’s been defeated. Death couldn’t hold you down. Gonna lift our voice in victory. Gonna make our praises loud. Shout unto God with a voice of triumph, shout unto God with a voice of praise. Shout unto God with a voice of triumph. We lift your name up, we lift your name up!

I saw it fitting to begin again with this song because It is what I’ll be talking about next. So I guess its time for the spiritual journeys and lessons learned at ATL ’08 outside of the seminars and sessions… This is where my life was transformed the most anyway which is why I just love conferences.

So we arrive at the conference center around 2 pm which is good considering we left late because someone was having some issues and overslept or something ( I never really got the story but it didn’t matter) AND because our van was trippin and shaking while we were on the road at first (but thank God through prayer and faith it stopped and we made it safely). So we register and right then and there I’m like smacked in the face with a test. Why? Well somehow I got separated from the group when they were doing housing and so I was pretty much isolated on my own in a different building with a roommate I didn’t know. Now for some people they’re thinking ok, big deal, so what? Yeah well for me this was a very big deal because I saw this as me needing to do more work than I had anticipated (to be included with the group) and (probably more honestly) was willing to do. The fact of the matter was, I didn’t need help isolating myself from the group, because I did that well enough when we were together anyway. So yeah, this was a big problem and I let everyone know it. LOL! I am moping because I will be forced to extend myself to other people when I wasn’t really close with the group I came with in the first place and saw the conference as a potential bonding time. Aren’t we glad that our ideas aren’t God’s ideas? I mean really like I mentioned it wasn’t even the fact that I was with someone I didn’t know… because meeting people is the story of my life… but it was just the fact that we weren’t even in the same building… and like it was a pretty far walk in between, so I doubted anyone would visit my room and vice versa (which actually became true LOL)… So I cry and call my bff (who didn’t answer) so I yell @ God and He smiles and laughs @ me… and then speaks to me through my staff worker saying “Maybe God put you there for a reason. Don’t let this ruin the whole conference for you.” I wish I could say the Hallelujah Chorus rang and I had instant revelation and was all good from that point then… ha! No… My response in my mind was yeah, I know he put me there for a reason and I don’t like it at all… and my verbal response was Yeah, whatever, I’ll get over it. And I did… but that didn’t stop me from being upset at certain points in the conference when what I expected to happen happened like my being in another part of the main conference room because I wasn’t with them when we entered or my eating meals with strangers because we couldn’t coordinate to eat together or the free times I spent alone in my room because I waited for phone calls or text messages to see what they were doing that never came… But in all of that God spoke to me… because he really let me know I had no right to be upset because I really didn’t voice clearly to my group how I felt or what I wanted or expected… what I “expected” for them to do was read my mind… what I “expected” them to do was to think about me and make sure I was included (as if they were intentionally excluding me)… God really forced me to grow up and stop being a baby in that area of expecting people to like cater to my wants and desires… and I’m sure that’s apart of what He had in store when he placed me where he did. Also my roommate was pretty awesome and amazing and blessed my life beyond imagine and made me want to cry and shout all @ the same time in certain occasions where I now have a mutual connection with a good sister and friend that probably wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t roommates.

So for the conference we had morning corporate prayer times (non-mandatory) where we’d get up early 7:30 am and go to this room and pray with the leading of a staff worker. Prayer is amazing… but corporate prayer is just so powerful, especially the way we did it… like it was just such a lifter and a boost in the mornings and I actually kinda miss it and wish I had someone to pray with in the mornings LOL… (I used to try to get us to do family morning prayer times… it didn’t really work too well cuz my mom didn’t like me trying to tell her what to do LOL) anywho… it just really stirred up a fire within me every morning and I was ready to face the day and it was just so great… I don’t even know how else to describe it… and like you’d think it was something great and spectacular, it was just prayer but prayer is awesome! LOL Spending time with Daddy is awesome! 🙂

So speaking of prayer and spending time with God… 🙂 December 30th… Don’t remember what time it was cuz I was pretty out of it afterward… but woo… I already know I won’t do this experience justice BUT I will try… so we did an all conference corporate prayer time after one of our main sessions… they said they were just going to let the Holy Spirit move and whatever happens, happens… HA! Like nothing I’ve EVER experienced before in my life… we started by praising God through reading praise scriptures simultaneously and we were to read and read until the “Holy Hush” (we would just know when it was time to be quiet, no one would tell us) came and would get further instructions from the Holy Spirit there after… Let me tell you the Holy Spirit just rained down like fire on that place after the Holy Hush… we were lead into a corporate moan/scream/crying out to God and I don’t know about anyone else but I was floored (face down prostrate)… and then one of the staff workers prayed over me things that I hadn’t told anyone but that only God knew… and said things that God had told me before but I had forgotten… and such a peace came over me when I got up off the floor (oh and somehow everyone got floored LOL) I couldn’t stand still I was so full of the Spirit and I was FREE like all of my pain vanished (even the physical pain that I came in there with) and all my emotional wounds healed, and in that moment, God took the time to make me whole and tell me I didn’t need to look to any other person for the love and affection that he was currently bestowing upon me.  He was telling me that He was always with me… even in those dark times when I felt that He wasn’t… That HE was the whispers in the night saying Don’t Do it your life is too precious… That HE knew me better than I even knew myself and HE would never leave me and I was protected with Him… and I began to think back to the times where I felt like dying and felt like death had a grip on me… where I felt so close to the edge I just might have jumped… AND I just praised and praised and praised… and that praise has been etched in my heart… and I began singing songs I didn’t know but I was singing and I don’t remember any of the words to the songs but I remember the staff worker praying that I’d be filled with songs of Joy and I totally was… and THEN 🙂 another staff worker led by the Spirit got on the microphone and began to sing theme song!

The enemy’s been defeated. Death couldn’t hold you down. Gonna lift our voice in victory. Gonna make our praises loud. Shout unto God with a voice of triumph, shout unto God with a voice of praise. Shout unto God with a voice of triumph. We lift your name up, we lift your name up!

Talks with my roommate really helped me grow… I know we were talking about places God has called us to be where we don’t want to be and she has been to the place where I don’t want to be but am supposed to go… and I hadn’t told her about it yet… and she just randomly brought it up and was talking about it and I was just like shut up (not the bad shut up LOL) and wanted to walk out cuz at that point I hadn’t like fully committed to go and of course God would bring it up and our conversation like I’m not going to let you forget about this missy! LOL

To Be Continued

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The enemy’s been defeated. Death couldn’t hold you down. Gonna lift our voice in victory. Gonna make our praises loud. Shout unto God with a voice of triumph, shout unto God with a voice of praise. Shout unto God with a voice of triumph. We lift your name up, we lift your name up!

This is the song that marked the most pivotal day in my life. The words speak for themselves because God literally snatched me up from death on December 30, 2008.

But I’ll begin with the beginning because that’s always the best place to begin. The beginning is not even in Atlanta. I don’t remember the exact dates or anything of the sort but when this year began I was excited about the national black student conference in Atlanta because I went to Atlanta ’05 and it was just phenomenal and I knew that this year would be the same if not better because I was in a TOTALLY different place than I was in ’05. I was pretty much ok in my walk with Jesus and I had been through some stuff!!! So I looked forward to the conference, until my staff worker told me that the conference had been changed to a student leadership conference and the numbers had been cut short, meaning only a selected few would be able to attend the conference. I was like aww that’s a bummer, I was looking forward to going again. I think at that point I had been telling people about it, and I was still at York College of Pennsylvania. Well then I probably would still be able to go because I was the only black student leader in our fellowship who would go to a black student conference. Then she told me it was a certain number by region… I was like really bummed then. Not only that, I went through some things that caused me to no longer attend York College and I was now a student at Bowie State University, among many black leaders because its an HBCU (which is a testimony that I even go to an HBCU LOL). So I had my mind set that I was NOT attending this conference, which was confirmed when my staff worker informed me of her selections of students for the conference. I was totally happy for them, and even hounded one of the students to sign up because I was telling her it’ll be awesome and life changing for her and she just needed to sign up and stop faking! I still had it in my heart’s desire to go and felt like I could totally grow in being there but I was content in knowing I would hear great stories of their experiences.

Well so God had it for me to go to this conference. Registration became open so where there was no longer only a selected few would be allowed to go and changed to first come first serve basis. I was excited and I was like I’m going to go!!! And then… I began looking at the things placed before me. Like money (or the lack there of which was going to be needed for the conference), or transportation, or even the desires of my family that I be with them over the holidays (why I don’t know LOL). Money was the most deciding factor, and I was like yeah… I can’t afford a plane ticket and the cost of the conference… it was a nice thought that I was allowed to go BUT yeah I’m not going… My lovely sister/staff worker spoke truth to me in saying You know not to let money be a deterring factor for you not to go somewhere. If God wants you at this conference He will make a way for you to get there. So unless you heard from God that you shouldn’t go, don’t be discouraged. She pumped me up for real! I started speaking in faith, I’m going to Atlanta while doing my happy dance. The other students who signed up for the conference had signed up in faith because they too did not have the funds for a plane ticket. For some reason too they waited and waited to buy the plane tickets like the tickets were just going to miraculously drop to an affordable price (which God could’ve done if He wanted to btw). My bff gives (loans :))  me the $100 registration fee for the conference so I join them in signing up in faith that somehow, someway we’d get to Atlanta. Ok so the conference costs $425 at this point and we’ve all paid $100. Our school gives us each $100 towards the trip. Our region has a scholarship of $200 for us for the trip. And we’re left with a $25 balance. Praise God, Praise God. THEN, (here’s the really really good part) someone on Intervarsity Staff offers their minivan (with just enough seats to fit us in) for us to drive down to Atlanta in and all we’d have to do is fill up the gas tank (which ended up being $20 per person!). So God takes our impossibles and makes them possible! Well so really I was rejoicing with this news, but still operating in faith because I still had no money so even the $45 would be work for me to get. I couldn’t ask  my mother or bff. I told my grandmother about my trip and what I was doing and guess what. She gave me $150!

To Be Continued