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...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tony's Story...

It is Thankful Thursday again...and we're so thankful for Tony Jones!!

Tony Jones is one of our Chi Alpha students who will be graduating in a few weeks. Tony holds a very special place in the hearts of the Blakney family. He's originally from the Westbank of New Orleans - he graduated in the same class as my niece, Chelsey, from Belle Chasse High School. He has family from my hometown of Buras. I didn't know him back then, though. And today he's not the same person as he was at that time.
He came to college at UL, and seriously wanted nothing to do with God. He liked the things of this world.

He was invited regularly by Tyren to a Life Group (small group Bible study that meets in the dorms), and he regularly turned that invitation down. Tyren kept inviting, and eventually Tony accepted the invitation. That semester, Tony received Christ as his Savior and was water baptized as an outward way to show his commitment to following Jesus.

Tony is a story of redemption. He left the things of the world and has followed Christ wholeheartedly. He has also become an amazing discipler. He leads other men to the cross where they find Jesus. He pours his heart and his soul into the men he disciples. Tony, who wanted nothing to do with religion 4 years ago, now has a deep relationship with Jesus, and is called to be in the ministry.

We are so proud of Tony. We know that he loves us too...all of us, not just Lee. :) Not too long ago, he wrote this on Lee's facebook wall:

I appreciate you big daddy and all you do. I thank God that you sought his will in becoming a Campus Pastor and nothing you do goes unnoticed, and you can see the fruit from your love for college students and the men's leadership. You are always showing each and every one of us how to be a man and more importantly a Man of God just by simply living your life. Thanks for your wisdom, and I pray you continue to seek God for more to be able to pass on to others. I love you, man and do NOT stop doing what you are doing for God and UL Chi Alpha.

Tony is graduating this May, and he will continue to be at UL this fall to complete the Campus Missionary In Training internship like Lee and I did 4 years ago. He is going to do an amazing job. We cannot say enough how proud we are of him.

Thank you, support team members. Your prayers and financial sacrifices are helping us reach more students like Tony.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Summer Is Around the Corner...

I'm looking forward to the summer. We are not "off" like I was when I was teaching. If the students are in school, including summer sessions, we still have events taking place during the week. There will be a weekly TNL (Thursday Night Live) at 7 pm on Thursday nights...it will be at Cafe Chi Alpha instead of on campus in the student union. During the summer, staff and student leaders take turns speaking. It is more laid back, casual, and of course, there is always a fun time afterwards...which usually includes a volleyball game at our own sand volleyball court.
There will also be Life Groups which will meet during the summer for the students who stay around. These are also different than during the semester...and a lot of fun for all who are involved.

It is just a more laid back season of the year, with more time to dream about what we want to happen in the fall semester. We actually start dreaming before the summer, but during the summer it is the time to make those dreams a reality. We take the steps necessary to make our big events at the beginning of the fall semester happen.

Another thing that Lee and I get to do during the summer is meet students at New Student Orientation. We go to the student union for the New Student Expo, where the new freshmen can see many of the organizations on campus (to see the list of Student Organizations at UL click here.) This is one of our first opportunities to make a huge impression on the 3,000 incoming freshmen. Each orientation has about 350-400 students...and we have about 30 minutes during the expo for all of them to "Experience" Chi Alpha and that's only if they want to.
When Lee and I first did orientation, we met several students that we reconnected with when they returned in the fall. This was exciting for us. Not last summer but the summer before, I personally met 3 girls at orientation who are now student leaders in our Chi Alpha group. And we know that there are more...That's just exhilarating!!

So, for this summer, I'll be working with my babysitting crew at the Chi Alpha house, and I plan on being a part of orientation. This helps me feel a lot more connected to the ministry. I know that there are students who I will meet this summer who will be a part of our student leadership team in the future, and this gives me a unique connection to them. It helps me to have an idea of who Lee will be talking about when the fall starts up.

We are finishing up our 3rd year on staff...our 4th year of being here at UL...it has been an exciting adventure! And the best is yet to come...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Baptisms in the School Pool

A week ago, Lee as the men's discipleship pastor, and Kelsey, the women's discipleship pastor, baptized 9 students in the swimming pool at the Aquatic Center at Bourgeios hall. After our weekly Thursday Night Live (TNL) worship meeting, everyone headed over to the pool to see this take place at the end of the semester. There were 9 students who made the decision to follow Christ in obedience and take their relationship with Him a step further!!

This was Lee's first time ever to baptize anyone as a minister. I'm so proud...there are tears in my eyes as I type this.
I know he did a wonderful job.
I know that it meant a lot to him because some of the 5 guys who were baptized will be in leadership next year.

When a student gets in the water, he or she has a chance to explain why he/she has chosen to be baptized. They get to say that they have made a decision to follow Jesus and are following Him in obedience by being baptized and making a public proclamation of faith.

Then, each person getting baptized is prayed for by his or her life group leader. This is a very special moment...hearing those prayers, and this has been another proud moment of mine.

It's so neat for Lee to see someone who he is discipling who is discipling someone else knowing that next year, both of those guys will continue being discipled and then potentially disciple someone else. Amazing. That's how Chi Alpha grows...that's how the Kingdom of God grows.

*I have to say thanks to the photographers Heather P. and Lindsay C. for taking such great pictures.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thankful Thursday - One Candle

The semester is almost over...already. Spring break is next week, and then there is a week of classes after that, then finals. It has been a great year for us at UL Chi Alpha. We are being able to see the students grow and mature in their faith right before our eyes. We are very grateful for this privilege. It's exciting to see them share this growth with those around them. It makes me think of this:

"A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle." - Erin Majors

That is exactly what our Chi Alpha students do...they light another person's life with the Light of Jesus. They don't lose anything for doing this - actually they gain so much more. This is the process of discipleship, of helping someone else become more like Christ. This is what we do. Lee and I get to be in these students lives to help them if their candles start to get dimmer...if something is trying to get in the way of them letting their lights shine, which prevents them from lighting someone else's life. We are there to encourage them in this season of their lives.
We are truly thankful that we can be a light in these students lives. All it takes is one candle to light another.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Life Group Olympics

The first Life Group Olympics were held on Saturday. Life Group* members were able to participate in events like: Book Balancing Race, Saltine Cracker Eating Contest, Three-Legged Race, Jeopardy Questioning, Blindfold Maze Race, Water Balloon Toss, and other events.

Each Life Group was assigned a color to wear and had to come up with a team name. The Chi Alpha staff had a team called "Staff Infection," and the Blakney family was there in full-force. Lee directed Lance in the Blindfold Maze, and then won the silver medal in the Saltine Cracker Eating Race. (He had to leave early because he was playing on the Crossroads church worship team that day, so Bella received his medal.)
* I must thank Sherronda, Shelly, and Joy (along with several other students) for watching our kiddos while Lee & I participated in the events - so much fun!

I was with Miranda for the 3-legged race. We started practicing, and thought that our tie was a little loose. It was tightened for us, and it was a little too tight. So tight that I couldn't even finish the race. Everyone else was running around us, and I could barely walk. My ankle took a little beating, but the battle wounds are worth it! Bella & I also did the "Who can hold the Plank Position the Longest." I definitely didn't win, but I wasn't the first to drop to the ground! :)

Our team started strong with Kelsey and Hope winning the gold in the Book Balancing Race, and Ken and Lance placed in the Water Balloon Toss. We even won the team with the most spirit!!
Go Team Staff Infection!

It was a beautiful day to be outside. There were probably 60 or so students out there to participate and watch. Lee & I and the kids had a great time. We love what we do.

The students did a phenomenal job of organizing and making this event happen. It was such a fun day!

We are going to start practicing for Life Group Olympics 2012!

*Life Groups are small group Bible studies that meet on campus in the dorms. They are led by student leaders, who are amazing at what they do!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thanks Student Leaders!!

I almost forgot that it was "Thankful Thursday" today!

We have so much to be thankful for here at UL.

We are thankful for the student leaders that we are working with to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ on campus. They are amazing. These students are full-time, which means they take over 12 hours of classes. A lot of them have jobs, some working more than 20 hours a week. And then they put in about 20 hours a week as a student leader: attending resource meetings, preparing for Life Groups, holding Life Groups, meeting with other students to disciple them, and meeting with their pastor for discipleship meetings. It's a lot. They make this ministry happen. They are raising up the next generation of student leaders.

We love them so much!! We have some great guys and girls who are transforming this university!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Another Thankful Thursday

It was a great week at District Council. Great, but very bittersweet. Lee's parents have been a part of making District Council happen for the past 23 years. This year they have accepted a new job working with college students in Texas, so they are no longer living in Louisiana. That's where the bittersweet part comes in.

On Monday night there was a reception to celebrate their 23 years of service. It was beautifully decorated, and they were able to see a lot of the friends they have made over the years. Lee and I were both able to share a little bit of how much they meant to us...both as parents and as spiritual leaders. They both have been the primary mentors for us as ministers.

This was the end of an era. It was hard having the change. Even for Bella...she didn't quite understand why her Nana and PopPop were not at the campground at the same time she was.

Lee and I have learned so much about being ministers and doing ministry as a family from both of our parents. We are blessed to have the parents who love us and support us. I am very thankful for that today.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Heading Out

We're getting ready to go to the Louisiana District Council. It's going to be a great time. There will be meetings and services for the Louisiana Assemblies of God pastors from around the state. But, there will also be a Chi Alpha luncheon...where we'll get to present what is happening in Chi Alpha around the state as well. It's encouraging to hear how our other Chi Alpha groups are growing as they minister on their campuses.

We are really blessed in Louisiana. We have great Chi Alpha leaders and groups that are making a difference on their campuses. It's not just here at UL...it's everywhere!!

The luncheon will be a lot of fun...it's a great presentation that I know everyone will love!! We are looking forward to it!! Hopefully I'll get some good pictures to put on here soon...as well as some good stories about how Chi Alpha is changing Louisiana and the world!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thankful Thursday

For our support team members, you may not have a clue what is going on at the University of Louisiana Lafayette. You don't know what your financial sacrifices and prayers are doing.

So, here's a thank you to Lee that wouldn't have happened without you.

It's from Ben. He's a sophomore from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He's studying Computer Science...he's really good at math!
He's a part of the Men's Leadership at UL Chi Alpha, which means that he leads a small group Bible study in his dorm. This is what he had to say:

Lee, I appreciate you for being a clear example of Christ for me when He may not be so clear for me sometimes. Just by living your life you challenge me to dig even deeper into my faith and express it to others who may not know him. Thank you SO much for being a genuine friend in my life when I needed it the most, in my transition to college, Soli Deo Gloria!
-Ben N.

As you can see, your prayers and finances are helping us make a difference in the lives of the students of UL. Ben is changing the world. You are helping us help him do that. Thank you!

If you are interested in becoming a member of our support team, just let me know!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Introductions Please

I finally figured it out. It's a two fold thing. Every time we go somewhere, Bella introduces herself by saying, "This is Bella (as she points to herself), and this is Brennan (as she points to him)..." Sometimes she goes straight to pointing out Brennan. That is a diversion tactic. If she doesn't want the attention on herself, she'll point out Brennan. She used to do this with her shoes by saying "Look, I have shoes." This was before Brennan entered the world.

The second reason she does this is because she is used to her daddy introducing us when we go to Cafe Chi Alpha, or Chi Alpha International, or to a church. If Lee is already at the cafe, he can be talking to someone when we get there, and she'll run up to him. He'll pick her up and then introduce us by saying, "This is my wife Bri, and this is Bella, and this is Brennan." She's heard that a lot because we're always meeting new people!!

I'm happy that she is such a friendly girl, especially towards kids. She's shy around adults still, but she loves to play with kids whenever she can. And, when around adults (yes, we do consider college students to be adults), she is ok with introducing herself and her brother.

It's very interesting watching them grow up as a part of Chi Alpha. This is how she is when she's 2...There's no telling how she'll be a year from now...Brennan too. I don't think he's going to be as shy as her. It's a fun time for us...and for the students too!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Soul Train

We have a very diverse group at UL Chi Alpha. It's great seeing such a wide variety of colors, ages, and backgrounds be a part of one group making a difference on our campus together.

One of the ways that we celebrate this diversity is through having our "Soul Train Awards." The students do an excellent job of putting this production together. There's live music, live performances, presenters, videos...It's a lot.
Lee got to do a lot for this year's "Soul Train Awards." He made the whole video presentation, put together the recordings, the music tracks, and taught the house band the music. He definitely enjoyed himself.

The kids and I enjoyed it too. It also felt great being at the cafe for an event (we've been home a lot because the babies have been sick). You can't have the "Soul Train Awards" without having a dance party afterwards. This group loves to dance!!! Bella had the best time running around and dancing with her friends. On Saturday (the next day) she was even singing some of the songs that she had heard the night before.

I love it that my kids are going to grow up with diversity as a part of their lives.
In this picture, Bella went to get in the picture with some of the performers of the night. :) It's not even going to be an issue for them...the only issue will be with people who are not open to it. They h
ave met students of all kids of colors...and they love these students...and these students love our kids. It's an awesome experience for us and for them.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Help Wanted

One of our international students is looking for a job. He has a master's degree in petroleum engineering. He's really open to working anywhere doing anything right now...just one of those times where any income is needed.

It feels really good to be able to help out an international student in this way. We've known Rasta for 3 years now. He's changed so much since we've met him. He has always been a fun guy to be around, but there is a new sensitivity to him now. We love him, and I know that he trusts us. When I told him that I was praying for him to get a job, and that I had my dad praying for him (because my dad has a supernatural faith for jobs!), he sent me this:

"I really really appreciate it. You do care as well as a nice sister would. Thank you. Let me know about any opportunity. if a real job, I will make an appropriate resume for and if temporary job, I am ready no matter what. Thank you again."

I may not be at every event that UL Chi Alpha does. I may not be at the cafe to hang out with the students very often. But I still love helping the students when I can. Whether it is a student who has grown up in church who is getting connected with our Chi Alpha or another one in the state, or an international student who needs a job and is also searching for the truth, I get to help them in the journey that they are on!

PS. You can contact me if you know of any job openings, and I'll get him in touch with you!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


A year ago for Christmas, UL Chi Alpha blessed Lee with an awesome Christmas gift...a MacBook Pro. Such an amazing computer!! Our director, Eric Treuil, personally delivered it to our little apartment so that Lee could start playing with it.

It has been a great tool for Lee. He's written and recorded songs using it. Now, his newest thing is making and editing videos. He's really good at it. He made this video, When, for the new speaking series for our Thursday Night Live weekly worship meetings. I have to say that when I saw this, I was moved to tears. It is very compelling.

I'm really glad that Lee is being able to develop this talent and passion. He's done some funny videos, and serious ones too. He's just got a knack for it. I'm thrilled that he's getting to do one more thing that he loves.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Students from Around the World

"Chi Alpha International (XAI) happens every Friday night during the semester @ 7 pm at the yellow house behind Taco Bell." Those words roll off of my tongue so easily now because we've said them so often. I think even Bella knows this phrase. Repetition works, though.

We have had many international students come to the Chi Alpha house (which is different than our Cafe Chi Alpha) on Friday nights representing many different nations. Just this school year - 2010/2011, we've had students from: Nepal, Haiti, Cameroon, Columbia, Cuba, Panama, several Muslim countries in the Middle East, India, Honduras, China, Vietnam, Nigeria...and many more!

It's been amazing to meet these students and develop relationships with them. I think that international students are the bravest students in the world. I cannot imagine going to another country where my first language is not spoken - and learn in that language!! I can barely speak another language...I don't know how I would learn in another one!!

To make this a little easier on them, we hope to provide these students with a comfortable environment to make new friends, learn about America, Louisiana, Lafayette. We also want them to feel free to share their culture with us because we truly want to celebrate their cultures with them.

We also have the opportunity to share what the Christian Bible has to say...discover the teachings of Jesus Christ together. A lot of these students are open to learning about Christianity. It's one thing to hear about it, but to study it is a different thing. These international students are actually excited about it because they want to see it for themselves.

I cannot imagine going to another country, or anywhere really, and have someone tell me that everything I learned about my faith is wrong...that my parents were wrong. And for some of these students, it would be like I was telling them that every one of their ancestors was wrong for not following Christianity. So, we don't do that. We hold the discussions. They are free to ask questions. We are there to answer questions. Honestly, there have been some tense moments over the past year when these discussions were held. But there has never been anyone who has felt unwanted on a Friday night.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Celebrating Leadership

Monday was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. A day of celebrating diversity. What a great way to celebrate it - holding a leadership training day for our UL Chi Alpha leaders. The spring semester is starting, and these students are ready to continue the work they started in the fall.

Sometimes it is hard to start again. The momentum has to be restarted. For some, this is harder than for others. No one knows what each student faced as they were home for the past few weeks. Some went home to very difficult situations. Others went home and got comfortable there and may not be ready to face the discomfort of sharing their lives with others again. It can take a lot to get back into the mindset of school, too.

But, Chi Alpha is off and running again. Lee is getting to encourage and speak life into his guys. He loves them so much. And we know that they love him, too. It's a special relationship - a brotherhood...a bromance. He definitely celebrates these guys and what they are doing on the campus of UL. They are out to change the world, one student at a time.