Spiritual Life

My Time at HoneyRock's Summer Leadership School

Posted August 10, 2017 by Philip Kwong '20

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This summer, I got to partake in the ministry up here at HoneyRock that is Summer Leadership School (SLS) as an Advance Camp Counselor. The leadership program began with five weeks of intensive training. I became certified in water rescue training, First Aid, CPR and many other wilderness skills all while learning what facilitative leadership looks like, how to lead Bible studies, and how to deepen my own personal relationship with God. However, it was when campers arrived that the real training began.

You can attain so much knowledge about how to counsel, but until you are actually in that position of leadership and the application of that knowledge is paired with your experience, can you then begin to really learn. From 6:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m., I had the chance to walk alongside my campers in their physical activities such as climbing or archery, cabin-based activities, and witness their spiritual growth in their acquisition of truth in worship, Bible studies, and cabin reflections. I had the opportunity to celebrate every achievement and triumph with them, but also the opportunity to be present with them amid their deepest struggles and fears.

Practically, the second I began this walk with them, I felt inadequate and stretched in every possible area. I have never thought of myself as someone who listens well, or a person physically suited for all the activities. My biggest struggle was feeling unable to do anything to get my campers to desire God. These frustrations and feelings of inadequacy really brought me to terms with my own weaknesses. It is through this that I have been learning more of what it means to truly live into God’s grace in my leadership. For His grace is sufficient for us, His power is made perfect in our weakness. He has humbled me and taught me time and time again that “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15). As inadequate of a counselor I am, God has reassured me that it is okay, because He says the broken counselor I am is enough. It is when I can't do it on my own strength that I have to remain in him and have him work through me. All He demands of us is faithful obedience and ultimately, it is only He who deepens my campers’ desire for Him. We are just mere partakers in God’s grand scheme of salvation. 

HoneyRock has taught me about the heart of ministry: that HoneyRock’s goal is to make both campers and staff more aware of our God who so deeply desires for us to return to Him despite our brokenness. That once we have tasted the goodness of the Lord, that even when we leave this place, the taste is something we cannot live without.

If you have any questions about SLS, feel free to stop by the HoneyRock office or pull me aside if you see me on campus at any time. I would love to tell you more about how God spoke through my experience there.

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Philip Kwong ’20 is a Christian education major pursuing certificates in youth ministry and Christian education leadership development who participated in the SLS program at HoneyRock during summer 2017. Photo captions (from top): Philip with Advance Camp students at HoneyRock; Philip with friends at sunset on Long Lake at HoneyRock.

To learn more about HoneyRock's Summer Leadership School (SLS), visit their website. To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

A Look Inside Wheaton’s Pilgrimage to Santiago Trip

Posted July 12, 2017 by Falecia Sanchez '18, Wyatt Anderson '19

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Falecia Sanchez ’18 and Wyatt Anderson ’19 traveled on Wheaton’s Pilgrimage to Santiago trip during summer 2017, and share some insights about their experience visiting Spain and hiking the Camino de Santiago trail in the blog post below. 

Falecia: After watching the movie The Way, visiting the Cathedral of Santiago, attending Pilgrim's Mass, listening to a Camino scholar lecture on the history of the Camino, and talking to pilgrims who arrived in Santiago de Compostela during the Wheaton in Spain study abroad trip in 2016, I found myself hoping to return one day to walk the Camino. Thus, when Professor Sharenda Barlar of the Modern and Classical Languages Department asked a year later if I would assist in her research of pilgrims on the Camino, my immediate answer was, "Yes!"  

Wyatt: This summer, we walked across Spain, along an ancient pilgrimage route called “El Camino.” We first flew to Madrid, and toured many of Spain’s northern cities including Pamplona, Roncesvalles, Leon, Santo Domingo, Burgos, and Astorga. In each city, we took in the history, culture, and cuisine, visiting everything from museums and cathedrals to restaurants. We then left from Astorga, and began the long walk of 273 kilometers to Santiago de Compostela.

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Along the way we learned a great deal, though exactly what we learned varied depending on who we met and what we saw. One of the people I met was Tania, a middle-aged woman from Germany, who didn’t know what to think of religion after some deaths in her family. My friend Eric and I walked with her for 10 km. It is amazing the subjects you can cover in a 10k conversation. We talked about everything from siblings to faith, and we were all able to talk about what we believe and why. In the end, I gave her my fidget spinner, given to me by a man named Tony the previous day, and told her to pass it along to someone else in the spirit of the Camino.

Falecia: In the future, I hope to become a professor of either philosophy or Spanish literature, and Wyatt’s conversation with Tania is a perfect example of why this trip was a wonderful opportunity for me to apply the knowledge gained from my study of Spanish and philosophy at Wheaton. My Spanish courses have provided linguistic, historical, and cultural contexts to better understand and connect with Spaniards and other Spanish-speakers while my philosophy courses have provided a logical foundation to tackle the hard questions that many pilgrims on the Camino are asking, such as: What is my purpose in life? Does God really exist? If He does exist, why is there so much suffering?

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Wyatt: As a biology major, I paid a lot of attention to the woods along the Camino, and I think I found my biggest takeaway in the woods of Galicia. They stirred in me a nostalgia, but I had never seen them before. They reminded me of stories I read when was young, but I wasn’t sure which one. They reminded me of someone I once knew, but forgot. They reminded me of home, but again, I had never set foot there before. The conclusion I came to was that these longings betrayed my longing for God. And I recognized that my longing is part of His story of redemption that runs through all cities, suburbs, farmlands, and forests, if we only take the time to look.

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Falecia Sanchez ’18 is studying Spanish, and Wyatt Anderson ’19 is studying biology, Spanish, and chemistry. They both traveled on Wheaton’s Pilgrimage to Santiago trip during summer 2017. Photo captions (from top): Wyatt and Falecia in front of a statue of Santiago el Peregrino (St. James, the Pilgrim); a walking path along Molinaseca, Spain; Falecia overlooking the morning fog along the Galician mountains; The woods of Galicia.

To learn more about Wheaton’s Pilgrimage to Santiago trip, visit their website. To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

Top 5 #MyWheaton Posts From 2016-17

Posted April 28, 2017 by Kelsey Plankeel '18

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It is Friday, April 28: the last day of classes for the 2016-17 academic year. Looking back, this year has been full of excitement and unique experiences for individual students and the campus as a whole, many of which have been featured in this very blog. Continue reading below to discover the “Top 5” student posts from the 2016-17 #MyWheaton blog, ranked according to readership.

1. My Wheaton Experience as the First-Ever Undergraduate Student from Estonia

Simona Andreas ’18 fulfilled her 6-year-old self’s dream of coming to America in 2014, when she became the first ever student from Estonia to enroll at Wheaton College. Though it is often challenging being the only student from her home country, Simona says her favorite part about Wheaton is “the people” and she is excited to have paved the way for future students from Estonia to come to Wheaton.

2. Why I Came to Wheaton

Wheaton College wasn’t even on Rebecca Carlson’s ’20 radar in her early college searches. However, when Wheaton began to frequently “pop up” through interactions with a church intern and various alumni, she decided to visit. Now wrapping up her freshman year at Wheaton, Rebecca says, says, “As a public high school graduate, I am still constantly amazed that, through the liberal arts curriculum, I am discussing how biology, elementary education, Spanish, and many other topics are ‘For Christ and His Kingdom’.”

3. The Study of Creation

What could Biology and Art possibly have to do with each other? Just about everything, according to Natalie Flemming ’18. A junior biology and art major at Wheaton, Natalie hopes to enter into a career in medical illustration after graduation. Watch this video to learn more about her liberal arts approach to the study of creation. 

4. Spreading a Message of Love

Graduate student Steve Gaskin M.A. ’18 worked as a traveling hip hop artist with The Impact Movement prior to coming to Wheaton. In his post, Steve recalls how one professor reminded him of God’s purpose for him at Wheaton, despite initial discouragement as a racial minority. Watch this video to learn more about Steve and his work for Christ and his kingdom. 

5. My First Semester With Christ at the Core

The 2016-17 academic year marked the first of the new Christ at the Core curriculum, a liberal arts curriculum designed to foster a distinctly Christian understanding of the liberal arts. Freshman Class Vice President Octavia Powell ’20 was among the first students to study under the curriculum, and she says her First-Year Seminar class, Relationship to Creation, spoke directly to her passion for environmental issues. Describing her Wheaton experience as “attractive, beautiful, and graceful,” Octavia is happy to report that Wheaton has been “insurmountably better” than she ever could have imagined.

Stay tuned for a series of summer 2017 #MyWheaton posts dedicated to showcasing Wheaton students' study abroad, internship, and curricular opportunities, and share your summer experiences on social media using the hashtag #MyWheaton.

To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

Spreading a Message of Love

Posted March 31, 2017 by Steve Gaskin M.A. '18

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#myWheaton Graduate School | Steve Gaskin '17 from Wheaton College on Vimeo.

Steve Gaskin M.A. ’18 is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Biblical Studies and serves as a Graduate Resident Adviser and Adviser for the Orientation Committee at Wheaton College. As an undergrad, Steve majored in Sociology/African American Diaspora and minored in Theater & Drama at Indiana University. 

Before coming to Wheaton, Steve served as a traveling hip-hop artist with The Impact Movement, through which he was able to witness the Gospel being spread across the globe. He also helped plant a church in Chicago from 2014-16. 

Graduate Orientation marked Steve’s first day on Wheaton’s campus, and what very well could have been his last. He was discouraged by the lack of African-American male representation in Barrows Auditorium. “I felt like I couldn’t relate to anybody… I felt alone, I felt sad; I felt like this just wasn’t the place for me.” 

But his mood changed when one professor excitedly called out to him in the hallway, saying he was “so glad” Steve was finally there. At that moment, Steve knew God had a purpose for him at Wheaton and since that day, he has had a “peace” as he is constantly reminded that he is exactly where God wants him to be. 

Steve considers himself passionate, fun-loving, and a “reckless dreamer” and hopes to use the foundations of his faith and his artistic talent to reach people with a message of love, hope, and redemption. 

Watch the video above to learn more about Steve’s #MyWheaton experience.

To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

The Best of Both Worlds: My Experience as a Conservatory of Music Student-Athlete

Posted March 24, 2017 by Alice Zhang '18

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My experience as a Conservatory of Music student-athlete has been a challenging and rewarding one. As a member of the swim team and as a double major participating in two Conservatory ensembles, I am fortunate to be a part of so many dynamic communities. 

Being a member of the Wheaton College swim team is one of the best decisions I have made. In my experience, the swim team is the most tight-knit and crazy community on campus, sewn together by numerous team activities, idiosyncratic inside jokes and pranks, and our fearless coaches. A highlight of mine as a Wheaton swimmer is competing in the CCIW Conference Championship in February. After months of relentless training, the team unites one last time and delights in each other’s athletic successes in a whirlwind of emotions. This experience is by far the best example of how the body of Christ is greater than the sum of the individuals. 

Managing these commitments requires a great deal of flexibility from my ensemble directors and coaches, and I have had to establish a balance between rehearsals, swim meets, and concerts early on. My teammates and fellow musicians have been very supportive of my endeavors, often filling me in after missed team meetings and rehearsals. I find that enlarging my perspective during the busy days is especially advantageous because it gives me a moment to see how God has blessed me with versatility and an ability to adapt in such distinct communities. 

For those interested in the athletics or Conservatory of Music programs at Wheaton College, I would encourage you to try one of these groups because I believe that participation in these groups is essential for a liberal arts education. I have discovered that the skills I have fostered in the pool, like discipline and mental toughness, are also integral parts of being a thriving student and musician, and vice versa. You will find that joining an extracurricular group—or multiple groups—will greatly enhance your Wheaton experience.

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Alice Zhang '18 is a Music and Economics double major and is also taking elective studies in business. She is an active member of both the Symphonic Band and Symphony Orchestra at Wheaton, and the 2016-2017 academic year marked her third as a member of the Varsity Women's Swimming Team. Photo captions (top to bottom): a Symphony Orchestra performance; Alice and fellow swim team members.

To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now

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