Friday, October 28, 2011

Why would You Ever Choose to Be an RUF Intern?

Curious about what the internship is teaching me and my fellow interns? Wondering why we would ever do this by choice? This is a helpful diagnosis of our sickness:


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

On Finding a Routine

Routine is elusive in the RUF intern lifetime. You may have a few consistencies: large group once a week, small groups that meet regularly, or other such activities. But for the most part, your schedule depends upon the schedules of the 20-450 individuals that might make up your RUF community. This means flexibility, fluidity, and thinking on your feet.

As someone who loves to plan, organize, and schedule every detail of my life, this has been a tricky adjustment for me. It means that when no one can show up to my small group that I scheduled on Tuesday nights at my house, it might mean that moving the small group to a different time and place is the best and only alternative, even if you'd rather continue to meet on Tuesday nights at your house.

It means that every day's schedule is different than the day before, which makes it essential that you write down every appointment you make or you'll never remember them all and possibly overbook a single time slot.

It means that sometimes your perfectly scheduled day can rapidly fall apart the moment you get a text from a student who needs to cancel that day's one-on-one just an hour before you're supposed to meet.

For me, this new adventure of never knowing exactly what my day will look like is one that is challenging to my personality but gets me excited and keeps me engaged. Yesterday I hung out at the library for a few hours and texted students that I was there and had four students come by to hang out, study, chat, and offer to buy me orange juice for my sore throat (sweetest part of my day).

Sometimes it means getting home later than a regular work day would require, which causes your roommate who is not a believer to ask what exactly it is that you do and leads to a conversation about your ministry and the Gospel.

So yeah, if you're looking for a routine, the internship is not the way to go. But wow, my job is awesome.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The First Week - brought to you in Color

The first week was full of highs and lows - definitely some moments of exhilaration as well as some moments that were underwhelming. Here are a few of the highlights:

1) It was awesome to be on campus. I'm starting to get a feel for what the campus is like and what the student community in general is like. There are definitely a lot of differences between here and OU, but I'm learning them and hopefully can get in tune with them really quickly. The main adjustment in that regard is going to be getting used to how much people here study. It's all the time. It's instead of fun things. That was definitely not the Oklahoma way. Hahaha. I did get free tickets to a UW Husky game (vs. Cal-Berkeley) and so I think I'm doing my part to work my way into the culture here. (Huskies are 4-1!) I'm wearing a purple Washington shirt in this picture, to make it official.
2) It will take some adjustment of expectations to get used to how much the rain can bum us out. Our first day on campus was supposed to coincide with a HUGE concert in Red Square - the main central gathering point on campus - where RUF was going to join the party with a giant inflatable slide and cotton candy machine. After days of beautiful sunshine before (and now, days of it afterwards) it rained nonstop from morning until night on Monday, and we weren't able to rent the slide. This was a huge bummer because our students were excited about it and it was a fun way for us to engage the campus and meet students during this first week, but we tried to compensate as best we were able - we handed out free hot chocolate to the wet and cold concert-goers and did our best to look cheerful despite our dampened spirits.
3) If there's one thing this RUF seems intent on doing, it's bringing out the athlete in me that's been hibernating since early 2004 when my high school cancelled their sports program. On Tuesday, Ryan and I met students on campus for a pick-up soccer game. These kids are hard core - we played for over 2 1/2 hours before Ryan could convince those guys to break for lunch. We went and got burgers afterwards - something I'm way more familiar with. Between the frisbee game on Friday night, soccer on Tuesday, and football on the beach, I'm becoming more and more athletic by the second. It's a fun way to spend time with students as well, which has been awesome.
4) One thing I'm excited about is working alongside other campus ministries - we got to meet the staff people from Cru, Navigators, Intervarsity, Huskies for Christ, The Lutheran Center, University Christian Fellowship, and several others campus orgs while tabling to meet students on campus. It's encouraging to see these other groups on campus and to have relationships with them rather than falling into a tendency to feel competitive with them. One of the staff people from Cru is from Texas, and so both being from the South, we bonded immediately over barbecue and fried chicken.
5) Wednesday we had the highly anticipated, penultimate FIRST LARGE GROUP, and served dinner beforehand - stir fry that was cooked up by one of our sophomore guys! By this time in the week, I was absolutely exhausted, but it was such a rush to finally see the quarter get kicked-off through this first official event. It was exciting to sing with the students and to hear the word from Ryan - this quarter he's preaching through the parables of Jesus, which I am stoked about. It was neat to start to see the RUF community come together and to get a feel for what that will look like and how I can best serve them. I started by serving them cupcakes.
6) Thursday and Friday were pretty anticlimactic days of tabling on campus - Ryan said that this was the worst year of tabling in his six years here - the students just weren't coming by! One thing that is a challenge for all of the campus orgs right now is that the Student Union here is under construction, so there's no natural meeting place and much of the regular places for catching traffic on campus are closed for that. We did meet a few students and tried to give away our Tim Keller sermon cds and old RUF t-shirts and did our best, but the thing this probably served the most was to meet some of the leadership from the other student orgs and ministries on campus, including the Secular Student Union - who we ironically shared a table with at the religious orgs fair on Friday.
7) Friday night was our grand adventure, we decided to risk the chance of rain and host a beach bonfire at a nearby park - Golden Gardens. It turned out to be an enormous success - we bused over to the park with a bunch of students, played touch football in the sand, roasted hot dogs, toasted marshmallows, played campfire games, sang campfire songs, and enjoyed probably one of the last nights on the beach before the season ends. It is getting colder and rainier in Seattle every week. It was a really awesome and fun night and a cool time to get to spend with the students - every minute of which I am soaking up right now.
There is more planned for the upcoming weeks and lots going on for me as well - church hunting, friend hunting, new running buddy, presbytery this weekend, housewarming party at our place, etc. I appreciate your prayers so much and will do my best to keep you updated with all the exciting news as best I can! In the meantime, since the Huskies have a bye-week and OU is headed to Dallas without me (although I will be watching at kick-off starting at 9am)....