Lee and I work with Chi Alpha Campus Ministries at the University of Louisiana Lafayette.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Food From Around the World

Every Friday night is Chi Alpha International. We've met over 20 new international students this semester, and we have quite a few returning students who come regularly on Friday nights.

It definitely didn't get started out that way. Just over 4 years ago, we had about 3 international students, and one of them, Rike who is from Germany, was an intern, but she was international!!

Rike actually helped us get to where we are today...(along with the advice from many others who are staff professionals at Chi Alpha International around the country.)

On a regular Friday night towards the beginning of the fall semester, we were eating dinner, sitting around the table talking. There was probably about 10 of us total - staff and international students...and Lee began saying "schnitzel" over and over again in a way that only he can, and it was making everyone laugh. Rike said, "What, do you want me to make it or something?" And then the light bulb went off in my head..."YES!" I said!!

And that was a turning point for us. The next Friday night we had schnitzel made by Rike and Myrthe, a student from Holland. And from then on we've tried having as many international students cook for us as possible!

We've had authentic food from such a wide variety of countries. It has been an amazing way for our international students to share their culture with us.

We also get to share our culture with them.

Just this week, Lana, our intern from Texas, made chili and grilled cheese sandwiches...served with corn chips and sweet tea. (And I must say, that with the weather change, it was perfect chili weather!!)

We are on a cultural exchange. I know that our international students are excited about learning about our culture...and they are here to share their culture and their lives with us.

I know that Lee & I, and our kids too, are going to have much richer lives because of the students we've met...the meals we have shared...and the friendships that we will carry with us forever.

And it all began on Friday nights....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Sneak-Peek into Our Calendar - July

It doesn't seem to take a long time for our calendar to fill up. July is no exception. It's full!

July is a great month for the Blakney family...

Both of our birthdays are in July - today just happens to be Lee's and mine is next weekend (and we are planning on celebrating with my family in Buras!).

The 4th of July is this month - we get to celebrate the freedom of our great country. This year, we'll be celebrating with Crossroads Church here in Lafayette. If you are in the area, this is a great, huge event to attend!! There will be games for the kids, free food and drinks, one of the largest fireworks displays in all of Lafayette, and live music - which Lee will be playing and singing with the band - something definitely worth seeing! :)
Check out www.mycrossroads.org for more information.

Then our anniversary is this month - on the 5th. We'll be celebrating 8 years of marriage!!

Also in July is the Young Minister's Institute (YMI). This is an event that has changed my life. Lee and I are helping lead it this year as well as teach classes. It is a very special event for us, and we are happy to be a part of it again.

We are hoping to have a fun night with our international students this July as well!! We're in the works of getting that on the calendar!

This whole month, we'll be having our TNL - Thursday Night Live - worship meetings at Cafe Chi Alpha - Thursdays at 8 pm. Lee will be leading worship there for these meetings.

Along with all of that, we are getting ready for the fall semester to begin. Orientations are taking place during the weeks leading up to the fall. There will be a new crop of freshmen students entering the campus in August. It's our goal to reach out to them, and to do that we must be prepared. It will take a lot of prayer, focus, and vision to make that happen. Lee's role is to empower his guys to be ready to take on this campus, and he's mentally preparing himself by praying and spending some time fasting and in solitude to know that He hears from God.

Please be in prayer with us as we continue to minister this month and enjoy celebrating our birthdays and anniversary as a family. God is so good to us. And we know that He is hearing your prayers on our behalf.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bella Is Not Quite 100% Yet

Thank you for all of your prayers!! We appreciate them so much!

It's been a long week already.

The prescription medicines for Bella are just too hard on her little body. They make her nauseated...she complains of her tummy hurting. She definitely seems back to herself after taking ibuprofen, so we are sticking with that.

But she's coughing. It could be sinus related because we've all had problems with that in our house lately. Then it could be a tickle in the back of her throat...

Either way, the cough is our biggest problem right now. Her throat hurts, so she doesn't want to cough. And she starts crying, which makes her have to cough more. She's had some sleepless nights due to that cough. Therefore we've had some sleepless nights, too.

And then it gets difficult taking care of Brennan. When she's up, she usually wakes him up...sometimes intentionally, which drives me insane. I can't imagine having to take care of more kids. I'm in awe of the women who have multiple children. It's wearing on me right now. Thankfully Brennan is a laid back kid...besides getting fussy when he's hungry or tired, he plays by himself well - unlike his sister. There are moments when he cries if I get up from one place or leave the room. It is then that I feel trapped...I glue myself to the couch when they are both playing so that I don't interrupt the universe.

Her biggest disappointments are that she can't go outside to play, and she can't have chips or popcorn - her two favorite foods. There's an occasional meltdown, but for the most part, we are doing well.

I also feel bad because we have a student living with us for the summer...and he works late at night...so he should be sleeping late, but I know that we're waking Darrin up. He's ok, though. That's the joys of sharing a house with little kids.

She's just out of her routine. She's either been up until 6 am or waking up at 6 am. Neither are very fun. And right now, she just crashed at 10 am, and Brennan is wide awake and ready to go.

I know that we'll get through this. I know that she's still not herself yet...not 100%. It's my responsibility as her mom to get her there, which will take a lot of juice, popsicles, medicine, and love, and bandaids. Yes, that's right...bandaids are the cure all :)

Getting out of the house helps her too. So, we've gone to the cafe to visit her daddy and her friends there. It does seem to work wonders.

We may try going to our summer Thursday Night Live (TNL) which is the worship meeting for our Chi Alpha students. So, if you or a student you know will be attending UL in the fall, we'd love to have you at a TNL this summer. It's Thursdays in June and July at 8 pm at Cafe Chi Alpha. If you need more info, just let me know! I'd be happy to help! It's a great opportunity to meet other Chi Alpha students before you get on campus this fall! And getting out of the house on a Thursday night is just as good for you as it is for Bella! :)

And...if you are going to be at UL's orientation this summer - look for Lee and our other Chi Alpha staff members during the Student Organization Expo! Stop and say hi.

And for those of you who will be attending another state school, and you are curious about Chi Alpha, you can contact me and I'll get you whatever information I can!! You need to be connected!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blakney Support Team

We do not receive a salary from Chi Alpha. All of our income is from family, friends, churches, and businesses who choose to become a part of our support team. We have an account in Springfield, MO, where our money is collected and disbursed to us. We are regulated in what we can get, but we can only get what comes into our account. Some months are lower than others.

We are dependent on the generosity of others...Ultimately we are dependent on God.

It took me a little while to really come to terms with the fact that God was in charge of my finances when I was a teacher and received a calculated salary every month just as much as He is now when it is not the same every month. He's still God, and it all comes from Him.

Recently, we've been able to bless others because of what God has given to us. That is always exciting.

Yet, we are at a point where we need to fulfill the financial budget obligations that have been placed upon us by the national Assemblies of God office. We are accountable to them. They have set this budget in place for us so that we can live a modest lifestyle and have money to cover extra work expenses, health expenses - like our personal insurance plan, travel expenses...things that would be covered by a business if we were working for someone else.

We are closer to being at 100% of our budget obligations than we have ever been, but we are not there yet. We are in need of some more people to join our support team by giving financially on a monthly basis to help us continue reaching out to the students at the University of Louisiana Lafayette. The amount can be $500, $100, $75, $50, or whatever else you may feel led to give.

When you become a financial Blakney Support Team Member, you are investing into students who are changing the world. You have a part in their story. You are helping us teach them, challenge them, and empower them to live their lives for Christ and help others along with them.

We also need people to become prayer Blakney Support Team Members...to join with us by praying for us to have wisdom as we mentor students, to have creativity to reach out, and to have favor as we minister to others.

If you are interested in joining our team, please know that all contributions will receive a tax deductible receipt. It's a benefit for being a blessing to us!

Feel free to contact me at bri@lachialpha.org if you have any questions or you would like any more information.

There are also some links on the left side of this blog to connect you with more information.

We appreciate all of our current Blakney Support Team Members, some of whom have been with us from the very beginning. God has been so faithful to us through your sacrifices, and we hope that you have been abundantly blessed in return!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Few Prayer Requests

Here are a few areas where we could use your prayers:

1. Bella has tonsillitis again. Poor baby has ran fever, and her tonsils are just swollen so much. I mean, they are huge all of the time, whether they are infected or not. She has a hard time eating and drinking, especially in the morning. Our pediatrician asked us to see an ENT, and the ENT said that our best option would be to have her tonsils removed. Please pray that God would heal her little throat and give us wisdom in this area. It's so sad to see her sick, but most days you couldn't tell if she was or not!

2. Please pray that we will get rest during this short break before summer school starts in June. We can definitely use the refreshment. Lee will still be going into the cafe, and there are things to get together for the summer...and it's time to start preparing for the fall. Please pray for wisdom and creativity as we seek the Lord on ways to reach more students on this campus!

3. Please pray for the students who will be returning home this summer. Some of them will be returning home for the first time as a new follower of Christ (and the only one in their families). This will be foreign for them and their families, so pray for grace, peace, and encouragement. We hope that they find a good church to attend during this time. We want them to continue to grow spiritually, and they definitely need our prayers!!

Thank you for joining with us in your prayers! We are making it on this adventure because of your prayers and the financial sacrifices you are making for us to minister to the students of UL.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Empty Desks

They did it!! They've graduated! They are moving on...

The semester is officially over. Graduation took place on Saturday, May 14th, and our graduate student and seniors walked across the stage to receive their degrees.

Some are now looking for jobs...

Some will be attending graduate school...

Some have already been hired and will begin working in their fields...

Some will be doing the Chi Alpha Campus Missionary in Training Internship to become Chi Alpha campus pastors...

All will continue to be missionaries...They will take what they have learned here about discipleship and will keep this as a part of their lives.

It doesn't matter if they are working to transform the marketplace where they work or the university where they studied, they are all going to continue to transform the world.

We are so proud of these students who have graduated. They have left an impression on the students who will be following in their footsteps.

We don't have too much time to be sad about them leaving...we are already planning how we will meet the 3,000 freshmen this summer who will come through orientations and walk onto our campus as students this fall.
We are looking for the next leaders who will become a part of Chi Alpha and continue with the challenge of transforming the University of Louisiana Lafayette by the power of the Holy Spirit. They may not even have a relationship with Jesus yet or want anything to do with God, but who they are today will not be the same person who walks across the stage in a few years from now.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Best Is Yet to Come

we are celebrating finishing 4 years here at the University of Louisiana Lafayette Chi Alpha.

1. We are seeing our first class of students graduating. These freshmen who started when we started the internship in the Fall of 2007, and they are going to be receiving their degrees this May (and some in December too). Some of them are going to graduate school here at UL, some are staying around in the area to work, and a few are doing the internship to become Chi Alpha Campus Missionaries themselves.
We are soooooooo proud of all of these students for finishing strong. We know that they are going to continue reaching out to people and sharing Jesus with them wherever they go, whatever it is that they do...because they have learned from their time in Chi Alpha that this is a lifestyle...a way of living...it is discipleship.

2. We are excited about the future. We will have the largest group of leaders this coming fall that we've had in the 4 years we have been here. That is awesome! That means that our students are working hard to reach out to others. The vision for growth has been put out before them, and they are working to make it happen.

(this is the men's leadership from this year and the leaders for next year)

3. God has done so much in us and through us during this time here. There is still so much for Him to change in us, but as we continue doing what we are doing, we see His hand upon us. He is changing us to become more like Him. This is not always easy, but it is for our good.

It's been a great time of reflection for us as we look back on what God has done and where He has brought us. It's amazing to see the students' lives continue to change before our eyes as the Holy Spirit works in them. We have so much to be thankful for!!! And the best is yet to come...