Every December 31, I like to reflect on the year, looking back on everything that transpired over the past 364 days and what I hope the coming year will hold. I'd like to take the time to highlight some of the big events from 2008:
1. Rock the City & Franklin Graham Festival - attending these events were both fun because of the huge crowds present at both and being able to witness so many people either returning to God or giving their lives for the first time.
2. Thanksgiving in July - while this event was trying and time consuming, it was also so much fun to see twenty-some people come together and fellowship. What will forever be etched in my mind is the whole turkey thing. I didn't know it takes several days to unthaw a turkey so we had to creatively thaw it...that's all I'm saying.
3. Xtreme Camp - getting away from everything for 4 days was so much fun. We definitely experienced our share of fun things but we also encountered God. The thing that stands out to me the most was our first night there when we came together for our first service. We began with worship but it ended up lasting for the duration of the service. I'd never felt God like I did then and I remember right before we walked up to the stage I went to one of the girls in my cabin who had started crying while we were praying together. I gave her a hug and told her, "God hears you and loves you so very, very much." She started crying again and that caused me to cry. I think that night was a time of healing and breakthroughs for teens as well as leaders.
4. L.A. Missions Trip - this trip included a lot of firsts for me. It was my first mission trip, first time on a plane, first time going to Disneyland and first time going completely across the country. The week was so incredible - it was a time of fun but also of out-of-my-comfort-zone moments, too. Meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds was probably what I will remember the most. Hearing accents from all over was so cool and being able to work alongside people I probably wouldn't normally cross paths with was the perfect example of brothers and sisters in Christ joining together under a common goal.
5. Graduating...Finally! - being able to finally be done with school is both a huge accomplishment and a transition. Knowing that I won't ever have to deal with papers or professors or deadlines ever again is a hard thing to comprehend but it's also a relief to have it behind me.
This has been a busy year but it's been good. Sprinkle in a two concerts (John Reuben and Pursuit of Red at Zuma), a few worship nights and some movie outings to finish off the year. While I'm glad things have slowed down a little bit, I'm also really excited for all of the "beautiful surprises" awaiting me in 2009. See you next year!!