MLK Serve Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was more than just another day off of school for many George Fox University students this year, as they partnered with student volunteers from over ten other Oregon colleges and universities to participate in the fourth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Serve Day.

Similar to fall Serve Day, MLK Serve Day focuses on sending students and staff out into nearby communities to complete volunteer projects. MLK serve projects focused on the topic of literacy this year.

The day began with a rally on the campus of Concordia University where 1,000 student volunteers joined together in preparation for a full day of service.

“It was really exciting to see all the different colleges and universities represented at the serve day and to get to work alongside students from these other colleges and universities,” said sophomore and first time MLK Serve volunteer Hope Kenyon.

Kenyon spent her day alongside ten other university students, sorting and cleaning children’s books that were to be donated to schools and low-income families in the Portland area.

“This experience reminded [me] of what a blessing it was to grow in a house with books to read and to be read to, because the books we were cleaning and sorting were going to children who had few books or no books at all to read at home,” said Kenyon. “It was a reminder to be thankful for the blessings I have received and to in turn bless others.”

While many students spent the MLK holiday catching up on classes or squeezing in a little extra sleep, Kenyon suggests that MLK Serve Day was truly a rewarding way to spend her day off.

“It is a great way to remember and honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr, and a chance to be a part of his legacy,” said Kenyon.

To get more information on participation in this year’s MLK Serve Day, contact the university’s MLK director and coordinator, Shelley Yonemura or visit the George Fox University website.


Women’s JV Basketball Overview

A team can be defined as a group of people coming together to compete in a sport or game. That is exactly what the recent addition of the junior varsity team did for the George Fox women’s basketball program.

The purpose of the new JV team was to give students who played high school basketball the opportunity to compete in college. Since they had no more available spots on varsity, the coaches decided to form a JV team. The team was coached by varsity assistant coach, GC Hillburn, who was recently added to the coaching staff.

Starting on Oct. 15, team practiced for two hours every day, including morning practices, and had individual work outs on the side. They played a total of 10 games, and finished with an overall record of 7-3. Most of the teams they played against were community colleges, and other Division III JV teams, one of which included Linfield, who they played in the beginning of the season and suffered a close loss. George Fox came back to defeat them towards the end of the season.

“It was an awesome season,” said Hillburn. “I loved it because the kids were successful, they improved, and they liked being around each other because they had great chemistry.”

The program plans to continue next year, with the potential to expand, and increase the length of the season. Freshman point guard Jaynani Cababat had a great experience playing for the team, and plans to return next year.

“I tried out because I love basketball,” said Cababat. “I didn’t want high school basketball to be the end of it, and I also knew since Fox’s varsity program has been and is incredible, playing for the same program would be extremely rewarding, and it was.”

The Bruins played together for only two months, but the team bond was so strong that it felt more like the team had been playing together for years.

“We all bonded quickly, even before the season started, during open gyms,” said freshman point guard Jayce Montgomery. “We were cohesive and there was no drama. We won most of our games, and our coach was a good coach, who worked to achieve our maximum potential.”

Trinya Murray: Lead in Upcoming GFU Winter Drama


Lights, camera, action! I sat down with Trinya Murray, current George Fox University transfer student, to talk about her experience of receiving the lead role in the upcoming winter drama, Mrs. Packard.

Q: What’s your major?

A: Theatre.

Q: So tell me some of your hobbies. What do you like to do?

A: Sing; I play piano; I’ve recently gotten into the horrible self-destructive habit of playing video games for hours at a time, which is not conducive to anything except mindless entertainment. (Laughs)

Q: How long have you been in George Fox’s theatre program?

A: Since “Mrs. Packard” started, I guess. I’ve been working in the theater offices since I got here, but as far as being involved, the only thing I really did was strike the set for “Servant of Two Masters” and that was after auditions had already happened. So, we already knew who had been cast as what, but this is my first experience with George Fox Theatre.

Q: So you, I understand, are a transfer student and you’re already the lead in the play. How does that feel? How’d that come about? That’s pretty significant.

A: Mind-blowing. The audition was kind of a last minute decision. I was having kind of a crisis with my major and my life and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. It was a last minute decision because I thought it would be a good way to meet people. Even if I didn’t get cast I could at least be part of it somehow, and it would be a really good way to just get to know people and get myself involved somehow.

Then the casting sheet went up and it didn’t sink in. My roommate was with me and she looked at it for me because I didn’t want to look at it. And she looked at and started freaking out and I was like, ‘You better not be kidding right now.’ And I didn’t believe it. I had to go back and look at it like five or six times and I still didn’t believe it. Then Rhett came and found me and was like, ‘Congratulations!’ and I was like ‘Ah! This is real life!’ So it was very exciting and kind of terrifying, because you know, just new kid, like I didn’t know anybody except for people that I had met at auditions and all of the sudden it’s this huge thing!

Q: So, what draws you to acting, singing, and theater in general?

A: Everyone’s wired differently. And for a lot of people, I’d say for the majority of people, they enjoy watching something and hearing the story, and being affected that way. I enjoy that, but I much prefer to be telling the story.

It’s complicated because there are times when it’s really difficult to open yourself up that much, but theatre is opening yourself up to something that maybe you would never experience and feeling it and sharing that with people through the guise of somebody else.

So, it’s really fascinating to be able to get in front of people and be at a combination of, ‘This isn’t me, but I am telling you this story and I am feeling this and I want to share it with you.’ Without it really, usually at least, being something that will emotionally scar you for life, you know? Because there are hard shows, I mean I did a show about eating disorders. I’ve never had an eating disorder, but to be able to share that and leave that message with people was very emotionally trying for everyone who was involved with it. But at the same time, you know, we weren’t super emotionally scarred by it or anything.

Q: Do you have any influences? People who you look up to or admire in the theatre world?

A: In the theatre world, yes.

Q: Who are your influences? What continues to inspire you to be ‘Trinya’?

A: It’s a combination of everything, and I think that’s true for everybody but a lot of people don’t take the time to notice it. You learn from everyone you come in contact with and you grow and you adapt because of everyone. So, where I am now is a combination of experiences in the past, and experiences that I’m still having and I don’t think anyone ever really stops growing. But as far as people that have influenced me in my personal life, parents and friends, you know, just people that make you who you are.

As far as like professional role models, there are several. And this is a really stupid teenage girl answer, but Johnny Depp. Because, and I know it’s going to be like, ‘Because he’s gorgeous!’ (he is, yes!), but because Johnny Depp is one of the first actors that I really remember. I watched something and I really liked it and I wanted to figure out why I liked it and what it was about him that made me want to see more of what he was doing. And I finally figured out a couple years later, that because no matter what character he was playing, there were elements of himself, but the characters were all different.

Q: Do you have any funny theatre stories about yourself that you’d like to share?

A: (laughs) Yes. The second show I ever did was a one-act version of “The Tempest” which is a mistake in and of itself. I was thirteen years old and our theatre department had no budget at my high school, so we had to build everything ourselves. So our set was a bunch of flats pushed together. Flats are essentially a wooden frame with a thinner piece of wood that you paint and that makes your set. And it’s held up with these wooden braces. So we had a bunch of those pushed together, but you can’t completely fit them together because we made them wrong.

And I had been cast as like four different characters. So they filmed the performance and I’m like, ‘Yay! That went great!’ And we sit down and we’re watching the performance in class the next day to, you know, what can we learn from it? Yada, yada, yada! And you can see straight through the crack in two of these flats! You can see me changing my costume! (laughing) I mean I had something on underneath it, so it wasn’t like, ‘Oh my gosh! I’m naked!’ But my director is looking at the film and she just goes, ‘What are you doing?’ And I was like, ‘I was changing.’ And she was like, ‘So the whole audience could see this?’ And I was like, ‘I would assume so.’ And then we watched the tape again and you can hear people like giggling a little bit at that part and it wasn’t a funny part of the show, so we’re all like, ‘What’s going on?’ And it was because you could see me putting on a new dress.

Q: When you’re on stage acting or you’re in the moment, what are you thinking? What are you feeling? What is going through your mind… besides the lines?

A: Besides the lines, this is one of the biggest struggles that I personally have with acting, is that it’s acting and reacting. For it to be honest and real you really have to listen.  It’s not so much about, ‘I feel like I need to be doing this right now or this is what I am supposed to be doing right now.’ We are given lines to say and we are given places to be, but the rest of it is really acting and reacting. It’s something that I’m still learning and still getting used to because it’s really hard especially to open yourself up to that level of feeling.

You have to listen to what the other actor is giving you because there are instances in the show, tons of times, where we will run it once and be yelling at each other and we’ll be so mad and just yelling at each other and just screaming and you know like holding onto each other really tight, trying to you know, ‘I’m angry. I need to get this message through to you.’ And then we’ll do it another time and somebody will switch something ever so slightly, where it’ll be, ‘I don’t have a reason to be mad at you anymore, but I need you to listen to me.’ So it’ll be completely different. So instead of yelling at each other or whatever, it’ll get like really soft and like, ‘No, please listen to me.’ You know, and it’s really just a combination of listening to what you’re hearing and making other people listen to you. Especially with this show. It’s all the motivations that we have and stuff.

Q: Tell me a little bit about Mrs. Packard.

A: Mrs. Packard is based on a true story. It’s a historical drama. In the mid 1800’s a law was passed in Illinois that a man could commit his wife or child to an insane asylum without proof of insanity. The context that’s given with the law is in the script, so the context that’s given with the law is if the wife or child is distracted or disturbed. That was taken very, very literally because men had all the power at that point still.

So, this woman, Mrs. Packard, had been raised by a minister and married very young to a Calvinist minster. And this is years down the line from their marriage; they’ve been married 21 years, they have six kids, and she has started disagreeing with him theologically. She has started leaning more towards Christianity as opposed to Calvinism. So her husband considers this a mark of moral perversity and insanity.

And nobody is completely sane, that’s something that you learn from theater. Everyone’s a little crazy, but he puts her in an insane asylum against her will. He has her dragged out of their house and transported to an insane asylum so that she can be cured of this moral perversity and insanity.

It’s the story of her in the insane asylum, talking to the doctor and learning what is happening. She has lived a relatively safe life up until this point. She was well off, the wife of a minister, a mother. She was everything she was supposed to be, everything she was raised to be, and now she’s thrown into this world of complete horror, as far as she’s concerned, as far as anyone’s concerned once you’ve seen it.

But it’s the story of her trying to decide which convictions she’s willing to keep, what she’s willing to lose to get back to her children and get back to her family. While at the same time knowing that everything that’s happening around her is not just or right and trying to figure out how to adapt and assist in that situation.

Q: So you’ve been preparing for a long while, tell me a little bit about that.

A: Actually, this is funny; it feels like we’ve been preparing for a long time. We are in the fourth week of rehearsals. We had two weeks before Christmas break, and then we did a run and then we had four weeks off for Christmas break, and we’ve been back rehearsing for two weeks now. So yeah, we just finished our fourth week. As far as George Fox is concerned and where you should be able to, six weeks is a good amount of time to put up a show and get it ready.

Q: What do preparations and rehearsals look like? What does that entail?

A: We started off with table work, which is, we get all the actors that are needed for whatever scenes we’re going to be looking at that night and we all sat around a table and we just read through it together and we figured out a little bit of, ‘Why are we saying the things that we’re saying?’ Because we’re given the lines, but if you don’t know why you’re saying it then you shouldn’t be saying it. If there’s no reason then don’t say it.

So we sat down together and we figured out why we’re saying what we’re saying, what is motivating us out of other people’s lines to do the things we do. We just kind of got a grasp on the show and the story and everything like that and once we put it on its feet, we figured out basic blocking, which is movement on stage based on where furniture was going to be and how we needed to move in certain ways to make the situations work.

Now that we’re really full swing in rehearsals, we are going once scene at a time, four scenes a night, and we just spend our three and a half hours, depending on how long it goes over, running through those scenes and fixing all of the little details and making sure we’re where we need to be. We’re making sure that we’re being as honest as we can be. I’d say we’re less working on the technicalities of it and more making sure that we are reacting honestly.

Q: Is that a stressful workload on top of all of your school- work?

A: Yes and no. Rehearsals are always a total blast now that I know these people and they’re so great and fun to hang out with. It’s always fun no matter the situation that we’re working with. But it is hard, in that, we all have busy workloads on top of that, so rehearsals are kind of a nice break from all of that, but emotionally it is sometimes very trying. There are moments when it will just strike me, ‘This actually happened. Yes, I am portraying this, I am telling this story, but this actually happened to somebody.’ And just how unfair that is and it’s really hard, I’m still having trouble with it, but it’s getting easier, it’s really hard opening up especially for this show, to this level.

With every character you open yourself up to it, but with this one for it to be honest and real, we have to really open ourselves up to it because it is truth. It’s not a fiction that somebody has put down and said, ‘Now do this. React to this.’ It is true. So for it to be honest, we need to be honest. And that is sometimes very difficult, but it’s always nice to have the knowledge that at the end of the night we’re okay. Everything’s okay. We can hug each other and go back to our lives. These people couldn’t. At the end of the night, we get to leave the asylum and go back to our lives and they could not. They were there. And that’s hard sometimes.

Q: What makes it all worthwhile?

A: That it’s such a beautiful thing, being able to tell stories that this way. Because there’s such a difference in me sitting down and telling you, ‘Mrs. Packard was this woman. And this is what happened to her. And this is what was said and this is what was done.’ Then for you to be able to actually see it and me to be able to feel it. And it really helps you grow as a person and with yourself when you are able to feel these things, that like I said, you maybe never would’ve felt before. Because I’ve never been in an insane asylum and I have never had someone, that close like a husband. I’ve never had someone that I was that close to that I had shared my life with betray me deeply.

It really helps you grow as a person and learn things about yourself that you maybe didn’t know. To be able to share these stories this way. And I mean, you get great memories and friendships out of rehearsals because when you are in a situation where you have to open yourself up like this, there’s no way not become close with everybody involved. You have to become really close friends very quickly, which is fun.

Q: I can see just by talking to you that you’re so passionate about this. So what motivates you and inspires you to keep going in this passion that you have?

A: It’s the only thing I’ve ever done where I’m able to sit back and look at it and feel like it’s right. I mean, I’ve done a lot of stuff, I’ve had a lot of experiences, but theatre is the only thing that at the end of the day I want to be able to do. Honestly a lot of people hear things like that and they’re like, ‘Well you’re never going to make it. You know, you’re not going to be famous.’ I don’t care. I just want to tell stories. I don’t care if 20 years from now I’m working a standard office job and playing the bit parts at a local theatre. I just want to be able to share stories and share myself with people that way.

Q: If you were going to give some advice for people who are aspiring actresses/actors, for people who want to do what you’re doing, what would you say to them?

A: Don’t stop and take anything you are given. I know a lot of people who want to pursue theatre but they do the, ‘I auditioned for this show and I got offered ensemble, so I’m not going to do it.’ Then you don’t want to do theatre. Because if you really want to do theatre, you’ll take anything you’re given just to be part of it. And I know that’s easier said than done. If you want it, you have to work for it and that needs to be something that you’re willing to accept.

Q: What would you say to somebody who’s on the fence about coming to Mrs. Packard?

A: I would say, why? Why are you on the fence? And that sounds really cocky if you don’t know the context, but why are you on the fence? What are you scared of? Is there anything that you’re scared of? I don’t know why people would be on the fence about it. I would tell them that there is something for everybody. There is drama, history, it’s a true story, there’s theology, funny moments, a little bit of a romantic sub-text…it’s got everything! And if for no other reason than to support your classmates, why wouldn’t you come?

Q: Okay, just to finish up we’re going to do this fun little thing. Well, hopefully it’s fun. I’m going to give you a word and you’re going to tell me the first thing that pops into your mind!

A: My mind is a plethora of 80’s song lyrics, so this is going to go downhill really quickly.

Q: Backstage.

A: Giggles.

Q: Script.

A: Highlighter.

Q: Applause.

A: Bows.

Q: Lines.

A: Memory.

Q: Break a leg.

A: Literally. (Laughs)

Q: Call back.

A: Terrifying.

Q: Wardrobe:

A: Fun.

Q: Do you have any last, closing comments?

A: As far as the play’s concerned, I want people to be aware that we are doing talk back nights. For people that are on the fence about the show especially for emotional reasons or for being afraid of the intensity of it, the talk back nights would be a good night to come. We are going to have discussion with the audience about the show.




XLVIISuperbowl XLVII Preview

When the lights flick on and the action begins in Super Bowl XLVII, prepare yourself for an all Harbaugh coaching matchup. Super Bowl XLVII will feature the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, teams coached by brothers Jim and John Harbaugh, respectively.

Super Bowl XLVII will be hosted at the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Kickoff time is 3:30 p.m. PT on Sunday.

John, 50, led the Ravens to victory over the Patriots 28-13 on Jan. 20, avenging their loss last year in the AFC Championship game. He has seen plenty of success as head coach in Baltimore, however this victory is the biggest in his career.

Jim, 49, will face his big brother for the first Super Bowl in history slating brothers as head coaches. The 49ers defeated the Falcons 28-24 on the road after coming back from an early 17-0 deficit. Super Bowl XLVII will also mark the most significant moment in Jim’s NFL coaching career.

The Ravens beat the 49ers 16-6 last season in a game marking the first time two brothers faced off as coaches in the NFL. Despite that loss, the 49ers have been listed as 5-point favorites in Super Bowl XLVII.

The 49ers are capable of winning on the strength of both their offense and defense. Offensively the 49ers made a smart quarterback switch halfway through the season, opting to go with dual-threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who leads the 49ers into New Orleans. NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith and the rest of the defense finished ranked second in the NFL in points allowed per game.

Baltimore on the other hand arrives at the Super Bowl in the same way they usually do — by winning with their defense. This year Baltimore is also lethal on the offensive side of the ball, led by Joe Flacco who is capable of putting up 300-plus yards and three touchdowns a game.

The key matchup to watch is the 49ers’ offensive line against the Ravens defensive line. If the 49ers are able to give Kaepernick enough time to open the passing game, it could be a long night for the Ravens defensive, especially with the play making ability of Kaepernick both through the air and on the ground.

That is much easier said than done against the hard-hitting and physical Ravens defense led by linebacker Ray Lewis, who has already announced his retirement following the end of this season. Lewis was the MVP of the 2001 game, the Ravens’ only Super Bowl win.

I give a slight edge to the 49ers and predict a 31-24 victory for San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII.






The Fashion Beat with Lauren Parker

Hey everyone! I hope you’ve been enjoying this awesome launch week! I know I have been. I’m Lauren, and I’m the writer for the fashion beat section of the Crescent Online. Being a huge advocate of personal style, you’ll see all sorts of things in the weeks to come–everything from men’s and women’s fashions to George Fox street style, from restyling tips to facing print-mixing fears, and even some fashion DIY projects and a ton of other fun things.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a fashionable person, everyone has a personal style, and this beat is all about celebrating that and our ability to manipulate clothing to portray a message about who we are. It’s fascinating to get a glimpse into a person just by looking at the kind of shoes he wears, the style of her dress, or the color combinations they come up with. And for those who want to express themselves better through their clothes, I hope this will be a place you can go to for inspiration and insight.

As for a little bit about the girl behind this beat, I am a freshman English and Studio Art double major from Alaska who loves cats and card games and potatoes. On top of being a writer, I also take pictures occasionally and keep up with a personal blog. You can usually see me running around campus with a camera, a tripod, and probably some insane prop in my hand, or hanging out with my friends watching too many episodes of “Community”, and having knitting parties.

I’m so excited for this new direction that the Crescent is taking and also for the Fashion beat! If there’s anything you guys would like to see, please don’t hesitate to let me know! You can leave a suggestion in the comments or on any of my other internet haunts. This is a community and together we’ll explore some awesome aspects of fashion and personal style.

Have an awesome day everyone!

Foxtale: A Resourceful Nuisance

Foxtale is a great online resource for George Fox students and professors to interact with the material and each other more.  From submitting an assignment to chatting with a classmate, it is all possible online.

However, when Foxtale was updated last semester, it was difficult to learn the new set up.  All that was heard on campus was how much Foxtale was hated due to not knowing how to work the new version.

Even professors admitted to being frustrated with trying to figure out how to post assignments and reading material.

Then there is the maintenance that always seems to take place whenever you need Foxtale the most.  For me, most of my classes rely heavily on Foxtale and the maintenance always happens at the worst times.  Then, of course, you have to email your professors praying that they will take Foxtale being down into consideration.

“I think [Foxtale] is easily accessible and allows for direct communication between the students and staff.  It allows for a more collaborative learning process through its online forums, allows students the freedom to submit up to a certain allotted time, and easy submission for assignments making it easy to track,”  biology and psychology senior Shane Gill said.  “However, it is prone to error and is constantly having to have maintenance.”

Most of the students I talked to about Foxtale had mixed opinions saying it was both great and a nuisance.

“I like the resources it provides along with the instant access to grades,”  english sophomore Ali Wittrig said.  “However, I dislike taking exams on it because they are always timed and if something goes wrong then you’re pretty much screwed.”

However, not all the students on campus have mixed emotions about the online resource.

“I like it.  It’s an easy way to get assignments and connect with professors,” biology junior Sarah Patton said.

If there was a way to fix all the kinks and avoid continuous maintenance, students would have a better viewpoint of Foxtale.  However, until that day comes, students will continue to view Foxtale as a wonderful but sometimes annoying resource.








Baseball Heads to Arizona

The George Fox University Bruins will play four games in four days against NCAA Division III opponents in the Arizona Desert Classic Thursday-Sunday, Feb. 7-10, at various locations in the Phoenix area.

The Arizona Desert Classic features 10 D-III teams. Four are from the Pacific Northwest, three from California, and three from Texas. Games will be held at Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Phoenix and at Boulder Creek High School in suburban Anthem.

The four teams representing the Northwest Conference at the Arizona Desert Classic are George Fox University, Pacific Lutheran University, Whitman College, and Linfield College.

The George Fox schedule for the week begins with a game against Concordia University Texas on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at the Rangers Complex. On Friday, the Bruins meet the University of Texas at Dallas at 1 p.m. at the Boulder Creek Varsity Field.  On Saturday, they take on the University of La Verne at 10 a.m. also at the Boulder Creek Varsity Field, and then conclude the tournament Sunday against the University of Redlands at 9 a.m. at the O’Connor High School Field.

“Our expectations are always high and we plan on winning games,” said Bruins Head Coach Marty Hunter when asked about the trip to Arizona. “In order to win games we are going to need to play well and play together as a team.”

The Bruins baseball team has made the trip to Arizona for the past couple of seasons and always looks forward to the warmer weather, even if it is only for a few days.

Make sure to keep an eye on the George Fox baseball schedule found at as the times and locations of the games are subject to change.


Overview of SPiL


This year’s Chapel theme, “Origins,” asks the questions ‘How does my faith root my identity?’ or ‘Where do I belong?’

Continuing with this theme, Chapel this semester will be focusing on the Gospel of John. The central verse is John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice and I know them.”

Speakers include Robin Baker, president of GFU; Sarah Baldwin, campus pastor and dean of spiritual life; Rusty St. Cyr, associate pastor; Jamie Johnson, associate pastor; Steve Sherwood, assistant professor of christian ministry, and many more. Special guest speakers include author and speaker Graham Cooke,Pastor Sunder Krishnan; author Rachel Held Evans; President of National Hispanic Christian Conference Samuel Rodriguez; and Chris Seay, president of Ecclesia Bible Society.



This year’s Spring Retreat will be to Trout Creek Bible Camp in Corbett, Ore. on Mar. 1-3. The Guest speaker for the retreat is Josh White, pastor of Door of Hope Church, and the guest band is Loud Harp. More details to come.



Serve trips are weeklong mission trips that allow students to serve communities in need and build relationship with one another. Over Spring Break, SpiL is offering Serve Trips to Neah Bay, Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. More details will follow.



This semester’s pick for Faith and Film is “Lincoln.” Directed by Steven Spilberg and featuring Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, is partly based on Lincoln’s biography, “Teams of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The film will be showed on Apr. 23 in the Cap & Gown room and in Hoover 105 at 9 p.m.



This semester, SpiL is providing two new avenues for worship on Fridays!

  • Totus Tuus: With the help of the Campus Catholic Fellowship, this chapel will study the Gospel of John, and learn and engage in conversation about the Catholic faith.
    • Where: Lemmons 12
    • When: Fridays, 10:40-11:40 a.m.
    • Contact: Heather Ayala at
  • Book Discussion: This chapel will focus on the book “When the Kings Come Marching In” by Richard Mouw, and Isaiah 60 to explore the concept of bring God’s image bearers.
    • Where: Hoover 205
    • When: Jan. 25, Feb.8, Feb.22, Mar. 8, Mar. 22, Apr. 12, Apr. 26 ; 10:40-11:30 a.m.
    • Contact: Paul Otto at


Aimless Wanderer

A week has passed since arriving in Kigali, Rwanda. New experiences have been lived, authentic African food has been tasted, and bucket showers have been taken, all in the first few days here. I’ve learned to answer to a new name as well- “mzungu,” which is the common name for white person (literally translated “aimless wanderer”). I am just starting to get accustomed to the added attention of being a mzungu, a flagrant minority here.

Once we set foot on the rich red soil of Kigali, which contrasted the lively green of the palm and pine trees, it didn’t take long to fall in love with the raw beauty here. Intense sunshine. Afternoon thunderstorms. Beautiful people. Life and beauty can not be avoided in Rwanda.

Plagued with death, civil war, and political instability in their past, the genocide in 1994, Rwanda has worked to renovate and restore their infrastructure to guarantee a refined future. Profound pain and heartache take root in the hearts of the people, yet there is a presence of hopefulness and firm expectancy of a brighter tomorrow, felt from a passed smile of a local on the crowded streets.

After only seven days living in Africa, I’ve quickly learned that adapting to a new culture takes time and a good sense of humor.

On our first day touring downtown Kigali, we were to catch a matatu, the Rwandan bus system, home. Lines of people waited on the curbside hoping to catch a seat on the next one available. Anxious to get back to the house from a long day out in the sun, we tried to guarantee our spot on the next matatu. Experienced Rwandese were assertive to get aboard. It started filling up fast, and with a few seats left in the front I sat on my friend Kellie’s lap to make more room. One more seat for another passenger, I thought.

As soon as I sat down, everyone behind me let out a gasp and sudden laugh (trying to be polite, but certainly audible). I looked to my right and left, and the people I sat next to, with huge grins on their faces and a slight shake of the head, quickly scooted over to make room for me graciously attempting to subdue my embarrassment. The suppressed chuckle didn’t seem to leave the matatu until I stepped off. I quickly learned the wrong way to ride a matatu that afternoon.

There’s a need for a carefree, relaxed spirit while traveling that I’m beginning to learn. You don’t realize the differences of living when you are aren’t forced to adapt to another’s culture. Grace to make mistakes and laughter to direct at the latter are both necessary to ensure enjoyment in the day-to-day living.

The proper way to ride a matatu is not sitting on the lap of your neighbor. Eye contact and a friendly smile is not the way to greet locals. This is only the beginning of acquired knowledge thus far. There is still much to learn and mistakes to be made while I try, but as an aimless wanderer in Rwanda, I’ll choose to live, learn, and laugh along the way.