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ALUMNI Speaker

posted Jun 12, 2010, 10:37 AM by Jason Quick   [ updated Nov 2, 2011, 5:26 AM by Sites Admin ]
~ Becca Van Weerdhuizen, '99

“Romans 12:1: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.”

With a few stories of “pure awesomeness,” a Facebook group titled “I’m a Dead Sheep,” a focus on Romans 12:1, and some challenging Rules of Engagement, Faith alum Aaron Weisser (‘96) kicked off this year’s Spiritual Enrichment Week for high school students.

During the first session, students were given a list of 9 rules for the week. The experiment challenged each one to be the Living Sacrifice as outlined in Romans 12. The rules boiled down to two big ideas: 1) Serve others without the expectation of anything in return. 2) Intentionally and frequently spend time with God.

By the next day, more than half of the high school had joined the Facebook group and started posting their experiences. Things did not go so well at the start. In the words of junior Sam Akers, “I think I should title my Day One - EPIC FAIL.” Scrolling through the responses from that first day was quite sobering. Many students found the rules to be far more challenging than they first thought.
As the week went on, Aaron spoke about the realities of being a living sacrifice. He emphasized the pain and the joy that comes from living it out. It showed in the students’ continued responses on the Facebook group. Amanda Sison (sophomore) wrote, “Although these rules have proven to be difficult to fulfill, it sure does feel good when I do accomplish them.” Chelsea McDougal (junior) said, “I love reading through everyone else’s experiences and comments. It is incredibly encouraging and spurring when we see the growth of other people around us.”

Some frustration came out in junior Jessica Conrad’s response, “...the second day was worse than the first. The first day is always the trial day. No one expects you to be perfect or good at whatever you are trying to do, but at the end of the day you say, ‘I have it down, I can do this.’ Then the second day comes and you fall back down to where you started.”

Towards the end of the week, the reflection posts turned lengthier as students really wrestled with the purpose, the out-workings and the lessons the experiment contained. Some described how it became more difficult as each day went on. Some described the joy of being the recipient of someone else being a Living Sacrifice. And some, like senior Nathan Santos, talked about wanting to develop these rules into daily habits.

Conversations about being living sacrifices continued after Aaron’s visit. And that’s probably one of the best indicators of success for a Spiritual Enrichment Week. A huge “maraming maraming salamat” to Aaron, his wife Jenny, and their family friend Colin Andrews for starting and fueling those conversations.