If you're done hearing about ESOAL, then you'll want to skip right over this post. ;) This is probably the last I'll write about it for the time being.
The last night (before the sleep/no sleep torture cycles* began) we watched a reeeeaaalllly boring movie on nutrition. It was almost impossible to stay awake by that point. I stood in the back of the room bouncing up and down just to keep myself awake. At one point my friend Alisa (pictured with me above) came back to stand back there too and near the end of the movie we hobbled out together to use the restroom. When we made our way back the movie was over and everyone had a piece of paper and a pencil and they were all furiously writing. I assumed we were missing a written test (not a good idea during esoal) so we quickly sat down. However, it wasn't a test, but a chance to write out what we had learned so far at esoal. The following is what I wrote...(un-edited)...in my state of delirium!
The Lessons I Learned at ESOAL
The experience at ESOAL has been like nothing I have ever experienced. I have been challenged physically, beyond what I thought I could endure. I have been placed in a leadership position and have felt challenged to really help and support and encourage other women. It has made me realize that I often place myself in roles where I am comfortable and not challenged. Jesus has been pressing into my heart the necessity of women's ministry and ESOAL has confirmed that this is something I need to pursue. Maybe not in this season of my life, but I feel that God is preparing me for something in the future. I have learned to truly believePhil. 4:13 -- that with God all things are possible. I believe my endurance level has been expanded and I am still processing the lessons I've learned on applying perseverance to my everyday life. My major had wonderful words to challenge and encourage me with and I will be reflecting on what she had to share with me for a long time. She encouraged me to live a pure and faithful life not just because I am a child of God, but also because I am an example to my children. Also she encouraged me no to overlook sins in their life that are difficult to deal with. I am so very grateful to have been given the opportunity to take part in this absolutely amazing experience! I was taught to always have joy through my circumstances and that is an infectious thing. Others can be encouraged simply by a smile or kind word and that joy is a testimony to Jesus.
*The sleep/no sleep cycle is a time where they had us lie down on the football field for something like four-seven minutes and told us to sleep. Then they would 'wake' us up and have us do exercises and head to the ice-water baths. There we would have to dunk either just to our waists or all the way to our shoulders. Then we would get out and stand around a very small fire. We would have the chance to earn two extra minutes by the fire by answering TM trivia questions or quoting specific scriptures when we were called on. If the answer was wrong, we headed back to the sleeping bags to start the cycle over again. It was pure torture! But in a good way. :)