Hi, my name is Ryan Dowling and I am one of the two bloggers for "Service, Missions, and Leadership". I am an English/Langauge Arts major with a Secondary Education minor. Yep, I am one of those future tolerators and educators of awesome teenagers. I am a Junior with Senior privileges-it's one of those Judson things. My accent is a compliment of Tuscaloosa, AL; the place I call home when I get the opportunity to visit. And, I love being used by God. You will get to read all about the great ways God surprises me on a daily basis. Stick around. It's going to be interesting.
Wow, it is October. School is going by so fast! It felt like just yesterday (well, more like six months ago) that Amanda Nolander and I were planning Pageant for this year. We planned for this awesome opportunity to bond as a sisterhood for countless hours since last April. We worked on casting, designs, fundraisers, etc. during the summer while being summer missionaries and we prayed that our class would bond through love and kindness. Thanks to God, we did.
Proverbs 27:17 (New International Version)
17 As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another.
I think I miss seeing my sisters every night the most. Sure we were working the whole four hours of rehearsal every night, but in downtime we got to know each other. I know my sisters now. I, for the most part, know their strengths and weaknesses, I know who would make me smile if I were having a bad day, and I know if I needed help I could call on my sisters.
When the curtain calls came on Pageant night after the Virtues took the stage, Me, Amanda, and Laney said our introductory speeches, and the ridiculously talented class of 2012 performed, Into the Woods, I realized the awesomeness of our class.
Romans 12:6a (New International Version)
6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.
I am so blessed to be a part of such a diverse and Christian class. Throughout Pageant they surprised me again and again with their talents. Sarah Dunn, Holly Beth Johnston, Beverly Cox, to name a few, have angelic voices and proved so during their performances. Corey Finlay, Molly Beasley, Janice Washington, and Charolette Emmons defined the play's comedy effortlessly. Kezia Dahl and Kim Albino, two weeks before the production, were re-casted with lead roles and learned all of their lines without complaint. Every girl that participated used their talents to the fullest for their Big Sister class and for their class.
Galatians 6:9 (New International Version)
9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
As the Pageant Director, I cannot express enough thanks for the lifetime memories of this past month and a half. To my sisters, thank you for all of your hard work and understanding of the word sisterhood. I count you all as my sisters and I wouldn't trade this time I have spent with you for any other corny statement that expresses my thanks. :)
Perspective students-When you come to Judson, be ready for the time of your lives!
Wow, has September been crazy. Because of CM meetings, music rehearsals, GED programs, 18 credit hours, SGA, RA, and Pageant my planner has become my best friend. When I started school this year, I knew August through early October would be insanely busy. Why? One word, Pageant. And, boy, have I latched on to my planner tightly.
For those of you who don't know what Pageant is, I will give a brief description without giving too many secrets. J. Here at Judson, one of the ways we stay connected is through something called a sisterhood. When freshmen come to Judson they are adopted into a family by a big sister (it's not forced, but a mutual agreement by a sophomore and freshmen). For example, last November I asked Elizabeth Tucker to be my big sister. For the next three years, she will carry me through traditions and help keep a lot of Judson fun going for future generations. This year, I will have the honor of becoming a big sister. One of the ways a little sister class shows their love towards their big sister class is by putting on a play in October of every year. The little sister class chooses a director, assistant director, music director, play, etc. all while trying to hide it from their big sisters because it's supposed to be a "surprise". There is MUCH more to Pageant, but most of them need to be kept secret. Sorry.
This year, I have the great honor of being the Director. Woot, woot! It has been a great blessing with a lot of responsibility and time investments. Time investments, especially. This previous Friday, me and two other sophomores left Judson at 11am and spent eleven hours in Tuscaloosa getting costumes for Pageant. ELEVEN HOURS! We went from store to store looking for all we needed in Alabama game day traffic. If you have ever been to Tuscaloosa on a game day weekend, you know what I am talking about. TALK ABOUT DEVOTION TO OUR BIG SISTERS.
Even though we didn't get home until 10pm that night, we had a great time. We got everything we needed except for one thing (sorry, Molly). We learned a lot about each other while relieving a lot of stress because we were getting stuff done. I think what made the day so great was Molly, our costume director, had everything organized ahead of time. I mean, she color coated the items by store and in order of where we should go first. Mostly due to her organized efforts, our list was 75% done with our first visit to Wal-Mart. Needless to say, we were ecstatic.
For the rest of the day, we laughed and got to know each other better. We organized our time and had fun while doing it. What a wise concept. When I arrived at Judson, bed was the only thing on my mind. I didn't have to worry about getting stuff or checking my list for anything else to do because our organization covered that for me. Believe me, that felt good.
Now, we have to organize the rest of this week. Why? THIS SATURDAY IS PAGEANT! I don't mind the organization. It makes life easier.
12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Last January, Kay Warren spoke at our Christian Emphasis Week that Judson College has every year to motivate us as Christians. She spoke about her life works and how, through Christ, it impacted many people. As we sat and listened to her, I said to myself, "what could I be doing to help my community". I evaluated the gifts God has given me and the one that seemed to stand out the most to me was my comfort in teaching. I love to be in a classroom setting, educating minds along with my own, and it occurred to me that maybe starting a GED program would be a good idea.
As I thought about it, it seemed more and more plausible. Most people are always looking for ways to better themselves, a high school diploma would look great on a resume, and, ultimately, it gives a great sense of accomplishment. So, where do I go from here?
I knew I couldn't do this on my own. I felt led to ask Hannah Tucker, a Junior this year. Hannah is quite the opposite of me in various things. She is very detailed and organized. I am not. She doesn't like to wait until the last minute. I do. She is great at communicating what needs to be done. I, however, need to work on this. Obviously, we balance each other well for this task. This balance helped us get every detail we needed for our program proposal. We had to present this to two different organizations, Sowing Seeds of Hope (a non-profit organization in Marion) and the Kappa Delta Epsilon Chapter (or KDE, the Education Organization for Judson College). We needed these two organizations because Sowing Seeds of Hope had the classroom, central location, and it would allow this to be an annual program and with KDE involved it would be a great way for future teachers to get their feet wet.
We knew what we needed and we knew what we had so, the proposal didn't take long to organize. We gave the proposal to Sowing Seeds of Hope and KDE and by May both of the organizations agreed to help us. All we needed now was the GED books and supplies. Of course I waited for the last minute to get the stuff.
I let my procrastination get the best of me and I didn't send out, or let Hannah help me send out, donation letters to churches for help. Fortunately, there is a wonderful organization called Faith Based Service and Learning here at Judson. We went to Susan Jones, the head over the department, told her our situation, and she agreed to buy TEN GED PREPARATION BOOKS for us. This was such a relief.
Galatians 6:9 (New International Version)
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at a proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
With the books ordered, we could start the program on time. Our first day was last Tuesday, September 15. Ten people showed up. It was amazing. For two hours, all ten people took their language pre-test. This test has three sections and took the whole two hours to finish. Each of them, surprisingly, didn't mind the work. I mean if I had to take a test for two hours, I would not be happy. The four volunteers that were there didn't mind the work either and were anxious to work again.
In all, this program was worth all the time and effort we put into it. To be honest, it really wasn't that hard. Sure it was a lot of work, but God's help made it easy and if I stressed I shouldn't have. He lined up the volunteers, the organizations, and the participants. As Christian's doing God's work isn't always easy, but it's always rewarding, whether the reward is sudden or if it takes a while to receive. God gave me the ambition, energy, and will to do this project and with His help and the help of His people it has been a success thus far. I ask that you pray that the people involved in this program will be blessed by it; that the participants will receive what they are working for, that the volunteers will know how to help the participants, and that the organizations involved will be blessed for their help.