Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February Update

Hello family and friends!

I cannot even begin to tell how much has changed and how wonderful it is here. To try and tell of everything that has happened in just the six short weeks I have been here would take entirely too long. It many ways it feels like I have been here longer and in other ways it feels like I just got here, but one thing is certain, I am not the same person I was when I arrived here. There have been many moments of self-doubt and there are been many assurances of why I am here.

One of those assurances has been just how much I have learned in the little amount of time I have already spent in class and in my studying. One thing that has been very difficult for me over the past ten to twelve years of my life is to open up and trust people. I was so hurt in my past by “friends” and people in my life that I got to the point that I never fully trusted anyone. I have met some wonderful people here and wish I could tell you more than just one story but for the sake of the length of this email I will refrain to just one story. I met Erin at an event for all women on campus to just come and meet each other. Knowing that it was the Hoerner homemaking house for the Women’s ministry I had considered not going, but the day of the event just decided that it would be a good idea to go and at least meet other women here at the seminary. Erin and I had already met at chapel earlier that day but didn’t get to talk. We opened up to each other and it was like looking in a mirror. Our stories were so similar and it was so encouraging to know that someone understood the pain I felt and could talk with me because she had felt it too. Erin by the way is also a strawberry blonde so it really was like looking in a mirror. We have become friends and sit together in Chapel and have lunch together everyday after Chapel. What did I learn from this and do I continue to learn – to trust other people.

In class, I have learned so much about my faith and my heritage and a hunger to know more has been ignited. It is still a lot of hard work, a lot of reading and writing but I must say that I am enjoying learning all these new things. I have learned that what I am experiencing is culture shock and as fate would have it I am in a Missionary Anthropology class this semester learning about this very subject. Now granted, I am not experiencing the same level of culture shock that our missionary’s feel when they leave their country of origin and go to their new one but I am feeling shock nonetheless and now that I understand is I really don’t mind experiencing it.

One last thing I would like to share and I will be done for this update. One of my classes, Spiritual Formation 2 requires students to attend Chapel. The level of worship and sermons everyday just amazes me. If you have the time and wanted to out of your curiosity to check out some of our sermons, go to www.swtbs.edu/chapelarchives. Make sure to go to the Spring 2011 archive and pick out one or two. I can tell you that a great one to listen to would be the one from January 20th. It is Dr. Hayken, from Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY and he gives a history and great sermon about our Baptist beginnings. It was WONDERFUL!! The experience I want to tell you about happened just this week on Tuesday, February 8th. The worship experience just beautiful and one of those moments when I felt my soul lift up and just sing His praise. We were singing the song Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone. Tears welled up and spilled over on my checks and my hands raised high because I could feel that Amazing Grace. And then as the song went on the last verse says, The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine, but God who called me here below will be forever mine. We just had some beautiful snow here last week in Texas and are expecting to receive some more. I watched the snow fall and remember how peaceful and beautiful it was and also watched later as it melted away and also how peaceful that was in its own way. Then we sang this song today and this verse had a new meaning for me. To think that this earth that we temporarily call home will one day melt away like that is strange but the comforting part of the song for me is the last line and starts with a word I have come to love – But God who called me here below will be forever mine. Praise God! My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me and like a flood His mercy rains, unending love, amazing grace. The speaker/preacher today left us with this thought and so I leave it with you as well. Do not be afraid to fail, be afraid to succeed at something that does not matter in eternity.

My dear friends and family I again close with prayer requests. Please continue to pray for me as I go through school. I can tell you with certainty that Satan is unhappy with me being here and is doing a lot to get me to quit and go home. I will not give him a victory. My Lord is victorious and through Him so I will be also. Pray for me to find a job and to find scholarships. Pray that God will continue to reveal to me His reasons for having me here. Please, if you have any prayer request that I may pray for, send them to me. Also, if you have time, drop me a line sometime. I would love to hear from you and see how things are going and where life has you going.


Stephanie Easterly

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