Saturday, November 26, 2011
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
It was a great two weeks in Seattle and a real pleasure to connect with these 23 amazing students and 10 outstanding staff. I'm so thankful for everyone who supported Carolyn & me to make this happen. Going into the Transition Seminar I knew that I cared a lot about MKs and their "Third Culture" nature. I also have always known that I thoroughly enjoy being with college students. What I didn't realize that this seminar is a great fit for my collective passions.
My impression of how important this seminar is has been blown out of the water. I thought it was super important, now I know it's in a higher echelon of impact. It really was a privilege to invest in the lives of some great people and support the body of Christ in this way.
To all those who prayed and supported financially, thank you. Thank you so much! I wish I could articulate better exactly how strongly I believe in this ministry and how much you've helped, but for now I want you to know I'm grateful.
Friday, July 15, 2011
It's been a very busy week here at the transition seminar and it's going very well. The map above is full of post-it tags showing where in the world everyone at the seminar have lived. It's truly amazing how these students have come from so many different cultures, but have been able to connect together so well. Yesterday morning I helped guide the students through their Myers-Briggs personality types. It was a great discussion and they seemed to enjoy understanding themselves better. We've also started our small groups, which gives the students a chance to talk about their own stories with peers and talk through the main issues they'll be facing in the midst of this transition.
There have been many highlights. There has been tradition of having silly challenges each morning and we've done things like making balloon animals, had a dance off, paper airplanes, and everyone even tried learning how to juggle. We've also had some free time each day to play at least one game of basketball, soccer, or ultimate. It's a little hard to believe that we're already half way through our time, but there is a lot more good things we're going to work through and I think next week is going to be great.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Well, we're off an running. The transition seminar is in full speed ahead with 23 students and 10 staff members. The students arrived yesterday afternoon and we've been engaged in a lot of activity today. We headed down to 7-11 for free slurpees this afternoon and we also had a great game of ultimate during free time. This is a great bunch of people I'm working with. I feel really great about the staff and all the different strengths they bring. I'm really amazed how complimentary our strengths are. The picture above is the whole staff together the night before the seminar began. Thank you all for your support and for praying, this is going to be a great two weeks with some amazing students.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Happy Summer to you! I hope things are going well in your life. I'm writing this letter not only to briefly catch you up on life in the Brock family, but also to tell you about a ministry opportunity Im participating in this summer.
Carolyn and I have just completed our first year back in Portland. Elisa is now 3 1/2 years old and Jonathan is 20 months. It's amazing how much they've changed in the last year. We're still working with college students and are serving at Warner Pacific College in SE Portland. We live on campus where I work in residence life. We have stepped back into community at First Covenant Church and have really enjoyed connecting with our home group there. This summer, Carolyn & I celebrated our tenth year of marriage and took time to celebrate and rejuvenate after the busy academic year.
I have recently been asked to be a counseling staff member for a Missionary Kid Transition Seminar this summer from July 10 - 22. This opportunity will allow me to invest in the lives of students who are coming to North America to enter college that have grown up overseas as Missionary Kids (MKs). Many of you may remember how Carolyn and I spent time in Eastern Europe working with MKs several years ago by helping start a summer camp for them. It is amazing that once again I have the opportunity to invest in the lives of students who have grown up in a different culture. The first year of college is difficult for any student and is filled with major transitions. Add onto that the fact that most of these students have never attended school in the states and are coming from a completely different high school experience. The seminar provides tools to prepare students for the transition into college life in the North American context. In addition, students can find a safe place to understand, share, and live out their story as they embrace their past, understand the present, and build toward their future. During the seminar I will serve as a member of the counseling staff, teach, facilitate a small group, and be available to listen.
I would like to invite you to prayerfully consider how you could assist this ministry. There are two meaningful ways you can help:
- First, you can pray for me before, during, and after the seminar. Please pray for stamina for the long days and nights. Pray for wisdom, discernment, and flexibility as I communicate and form relationships with the other staff and transitioning MKs. If you would like to receive updates from me, check this blog. Also, pray for Carolyn as she will be acting as a single parent for the two weeks while I'm gone.
- Secondly, you can invest monetarily in this ministry to MKs by contributing to help cover the living expenses of the seminar. I have been asked to raise $1,000 which will cover room & board, and programing expenses. Please email me (brockemail @ gmail . com or through blogger) if you'd like info on how to give a tax-deductible gift.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Does 10 years of marriage make us old? Maybe two kids does it? Either way, I couldn't be more happy to be spending life together with Carolyn. She's great, fantastic, and amazing. We had a great anniversary trip and I'm so thankful that we be partners in parenting, life and everything else.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
With the Lakers early exit this year, Phil Jackson is planning on walking away from coaching. He is one of the greatest coaches of all time. He's won 11 rings. That's simply amazing. Bill Simmons wrote a great article that summarizes what made him a good coach, it was managing relationships.Granted Phil coached some of the greatest players to ever play the game, but that isn't a guaranty of winning and doesn't limit how impressive his resume is. Simmons points out that balancing MJ's ego with just the right about of pushing him towards teamwork is what made Jackson so successful with the Bulls. I'm the first to admit that I hate the Lakers and I couldn't stand Chicago during MJ's reign. However, I do respect what Phil did and I don't think his success will soon be replicated. If you are a basketball fan I highly recommend this article, check it out here.
Monday, May 02, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
It was game four, with Portland down to the Mavs 2-1 in the first round series. It will stand as one of my greatest memories as a Blazer fan, even though they lost the series. When the Blazers were at their lowest, down 23 points in the third quarter I said, "Wouldn't it be amazing if they came back to win? It would be something we could tell our kids about, but it'll never happen." It did. The Rose Garden was dizzyingly loud (It took two days for my voice to recover from so much yelling). The range of emotions experienced in this game were ridiculous; they went from total disappointment to complete amazement and shock at the final result. It happened so fast it was unbelievable. Everyone stayed in their seats for well over 5 minutes after the game cheering. Both teams were off the court and still everyone stood and cheered. On the concourse leaving the arena someone would yell and everyone started cheering and chanting, "Let's go Blazers!" Strangers were hugging and I don't think I've ever high-five'd so many people in my life. 45 minutes after the game and a mile from the arena people continued yelling on the streets and honking their horns. It makes me excited for the day when a championship finally is won again. For all that Roy went through this season, to lead this team in the biggest comeback in Blazers history (second largest in NBA playoff history) is a very compelling story and the video below does a great job highlighting this amazing performance.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Yesterday our team vetured out to explore the city during the first half of the day. It turned out being a day of paradox. One strange occurance was half our team had Thai food in little Italy and the other half had pizza in Chinatown. The other thing students wrestled through was the polarized incongruence of affluence and great need in such close neighborhoods. Having spent the majority of our time in the neediest parts of the city, it was hard to reconcile the excess of the tourist traps to the hungry kids we had dinner with later that night.
Today we spent the morning helping the Salvation Army deliver meals to home bound people. All the deliveries were to single room occupancy hotels in the Tenderloin district. It was sobering to realize that our breif interaction dropping off food was the only personal contact most of these people would have today. In the afternoon we helped do some organizing and cleaning in the basement of the Outpost and some went to a local high school track meet. In the evening our group split in two once again. One group served food at the next door residential transitional housing program and soup kitchen for men while the rest of us stayed at the Outpost for the youth game night.
It was another long day and we have seen great need and are humbled by the opportunity to serve.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
We arrived Saturday night after a long and partly snowy drive from Portland. The team from Concordia University also has 12 people and arrived just after we did. On Sunday we started the morning with a prayer walk around the neighborhood and we participated in two church services. One was held here at the Outpost and the other was a called the Homeless Church. It is an outdoor church that meets in a plaza on Mission street. Both services were very different from church back home and we helped serve food and talked with people for a few hours. In order to experience some different culture on Sunday night ate dinner at an Indian restaurant that was fantastic. For many of our students it was their first experience with Indian food, so it was a great cultural encounter.
Today we spent time working at the San Francisco food bank and helped prep over 4,500 pounds of food. In the evening half of our group stayed at the Outpost to help with the youth drop in night. They played games with the neighborhood kids, basketball, had dinner together, and even got in some break-drancing. The other half of the group helped put on a Bingo night at a low-income housing building for families down the street.
Our team is definitely starting to feel the physical strain from the constant activity. There are about 3 students who have some degree of sickness, but they are all starting to feel. It's great seeing the students wrestle with the issues they are being faced with and how this experience is stretching and challenging them. The insights being shared during our nightly debriefs are really impactful and it's easy to see they're getting a lot out of it.
Tomorrow will be our day to be tourists and explore the city. In the evening we'll start two nights of lessons and games with another group of neighborhood youth. I'll try to get a few more updates in throughout week so check in later.
Friday, March 18, 2011
I'm pretty bummed to be leaving the family though. Leaving Carolyn for a week take care of everything on her own is hard and I just miss being with my family. They're my most favorite people in the whole world. The drive starts tomorrow and I should be back sometime late Friday night. I'll let you know how it goes next weekend.
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Tonight we went to Chipotle for dinner because they gave out a coupon this week that was buy one get one (click here if you'd like one for yourself). It was good, but I realized my expectations are never met with Chipotle. It's good and all, they just aren't as good as Qdoba, they overload on rice, and don't give you chips and salsa like Baja Fresh. The depth of flavor just isn't there, but it is good and we had fun. Anyway, the picture above is Elisa having a great time in Barnes & Noble. I had to return a book and even though we hung around for a while, in the end she still didn't want to leave. The girl just loves books.