Friday, November 3, 2017

Kaléo 2018,

My name is Virginia Flahr and I was nominated this past year for the “Adventure Award.” First off, I’m totally stoked for all of you to be here! I believe that from the moment you hopped on that plane or jumped into the car, you were saying a BIG “yes” to an adventure-filled future God calls each one of us to (and I’m not just talking about the outdoorsy kind). Adventures always have an element of fear to them. Sometimes it specifically zeroes in on our uneasiness of the unknown, but more often it merely focuses on our expectations. By that I mean, we fear what we expect - what we conclude and label our situation to be. We see those “mountains” looming in the distant horizon (cough cough, Mt. Albert Edward) and instantly, by default, dread the ensuing elevation gain that brings with it insurmountable fatigue. We don’t by habit think positively. It takes experience, practise, and perseverance to realize that every summit is attainable - whether that be in the classroom or out - as long as we pack the right equipment (no knock-offs). So here’s my personal full-proof packers list that’ll get you through those mountain passes (and not lost with one shoe and no water in some backwood horror story).

1.) A GUIDE. Actually, His name is Jesus and He’s better than a guide. He’s like the trail master. He’s done every trail anywhere. He knows how it feels when you’re scared, exhausted...hungry! And besides, you should never attempt any sort of adventure alone (it’s just a bad idea). Life is one BIG ADVENTURE but it won’t feel like one if you take a go at it solo. Jesus honestly needs to be at the core. He’s your solid ROCK. You’re going to be walking a lot of miles this year both figuratively and literally. This is your chance to really grow in your relationship with Jesus. Get to know Him deeper and find time each day, to “walk with Him.” Take it seriously.

2.) A MAP. Not the kind you buy at MEC, nah it’s a better one. The Bible. It’s like, our compass and map put together. It’s a lifeline and if you aren’t prepared to find time to delve into the Word, than you might as well just start walking into a forest....

3.) CAMPFIRES. This is called the community program terms. It literally is your classmates, professors, interns, qords, church, youth groups, and leaders. Try to have daily “campfires” with these people. Talk with them. Invest in their lives. Take initiative. Discuss concepts, thoughts, and s’mores (more like cereal in the kitchen). Share your day’s occurrences. Cry and laugh together. Be real.

4.) RANGER CABIN. This is what I like to call your dorm room. It shouldn’t be a place of gossip, clichés, or weeklong hibernations. It’s where you need to be proactive. Take time to get to know your roommates. Be real with each other. No one likes talking about the weather (we all know it only rains anyway). Take the time to really get to know AND support your roomies. Take the time to get to know the other “ranger cabins” too. Plan games, outings, gym sessions. Just DON’T ever plan a math and science quiz contest.

5.) REST. This is so important for anyone out adventuring. In the Kaléo Program, it is vital to set time aside to rest. God mentions it so many times in the Bible. Try and make it a priority to find time once a week to just do nothing. And by nothing, I don’t mean absolutely nothing. But try not to do homework. Spend some time with your awesome Creator. Go for a walk. Breathe the fresh air and just allow your soul to say “It is well.” Challenge yourself and do another fast or silence and solitude.

6.) NUTRITION. Fuel your body, mind, and soul with the right kind of nutrients. This is your chance to really rid yourself of those nasty toxins. If you found yourself struggling with things back home - something as simple as too much screen time, unhealthy Netflix addictions (Wi-Fi kind of kicks this one), etc. - this is your time to address them. Don’t rid things out of your life though without replacing them. For instance, change out screen time with writing letters to your friends back home or taking a afternoon out in the town with some of your fellow classmates. Tell someone you trust about it too. Don’t keep it to yourself. There are so many people here that actually care about you and love you. Talk to them (your leaders would be a good choice - they have nuggets of wisdom).

7.) DO IT! This is it. This is your year to really challenge yourself and grow. You’re really only going to get as much out of it as you give. So go all out. STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. That’s where we grow the most and that’s honestly, where I believe God wants us to be - where we can no longer rely on ourselves but God alone. Again, I cannot tell you all enough how pumped I am for you!! God honestly used the Kaléo Program to impact me in such big ways and I have no doubt He intends to do the same for each one of you. I hope you can take something out of the “packers list” and really apply it to your journey ahead. Finally, I want to leave you with one of my favourite verses that I think is very applicable to us.

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

- Isaiah 40: 30-31

All the best, I’ll be praying for you.

Virginia Flahr

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