Leslie Hayes's Archive

Jace Reinhard participates in Abilene Shakespeare Festival

by   |  08.15.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

This June I was given an opportunity to join an incredibly talented cast in the role of Count Claudio in the Abilene Shakespeare Festival’s production of Much Ado About Nothing. Our director for the show, Adam Hester, developed a new twist on this classic comedy by incorporating hit songs from the 1960’s and shifting the setting from a large estate in the port city of Messina in 17thcentury Sicily to a businessman’s yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean in 1965. This shift posed a significant challenge for my fellow actors and me (as well as our designers and other production staff) to maintain the integrity of the story as we performed it in such a drastically different style. We had to take on as a team the task of flowing smoothly between the classical text of the play and the lyrics of songs like “Respect” and “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.” This undertaking helped me to grow not only as an actor, but also as a student of Shakespeare’s era.

The juxtaposition of such divergent sources of material affected nearly all the acting choices I made for my character. For instance, I had to decide how the Claudio I portrayed in this production would move. A Florentine soldier on leave at the turn of the 17th century would carry himself in a vastly different manner than one in 1965. In addition, the time change called for renewed examination of Claudio’s relationships with the other characters in the piece. As a result, my interpretation of the character had a much more casual demeanor than one would see in a traditional staging. This was especially apparent in my interactions with Hero, Claudio’s love interest, and Don Pedro, his commanding officer.

Despite these character adjustments, I took care not to entirely abandon the classical nature of the piece in my performance. My physical actions had to harmonize not just with 60’s lyrics, but also with the heightened elocution of the Shakespearean language that came out of my mouth. Dr. Stephenson and I had discussed on numerous occasions how I could use certain words and rhythmic patterns in the verse both to honor the richness of the text and to communicate the story more efficiently. Therefore, I worked to retain this aspect in my rendition while remaining true to the new setting. This blend worked quite well in the end. The light-hearted and lyrical nature of the original play lent itself well to Adam’s musical adaptation, and the show was received beautifully.

Gabby Brown shadows OB/GYN

by   |  08.15.11  |  Honors Student Achievements, Uncategorized

Through my experience of seeing several different OB/GYN’s and their practices, I realized the innate humanity of the doctors. It may sound strange, but I realized that the OB/GYN’s are people. They each have their own personality quirks and their own idiosyncrasies, even though they practice the same branch of medicine. Don’t think that the miracle of birth, or the business of the office were not interesting and exciting, but my extended time shadowing this branch of medicine allowed me to look beyond the facade of MD, and into the life of a doctor. I believe that this was important for me to see. Because I witnessed the personalities and lives of the Doctors themselves, I have a more through understanding of what it means to be an OB/GYN, to be the doctor that ministers to women in their most personal of moments. I saw the knowledge required to minister in the office, and the skill needed to work in surgery. I saw beyond what a student shadowing a doctor would see and into what the doctor themselves might see, though I lack a few years of schooling. All in all, I think that my decision to shadow extensively this summer was a good decision before I apply to medical school and begin the journey I believe that God set out in front of me.

Ana Rodriguez spends summer in Italy

by   |  08.15.11  |  Uncategorized

It has now been ten weeks that I have been immersed in a new culture. While working for ACLE, I have had the wonderful opportunity of being able to be a part of hundred of children’s lives. By teaching English to Italian children, having to travel by myself across the country, and staying with host families, I have never before felt so humbled, happy, and challenged all at once. 

Beginning on May 29th, I had to complete a one week orientation in San Remo where I learned the basics of teaching simple grammar skills with energetic games and skills that would make teaching enjoyable. In the Italian scholastic system, children begin to take English classes in elementary school. They learn the ins and outs of all the grammar skill throughout the nine years of school. However, they rarely spend more than one hour a week practicing auditory and speaking skills. Another problem with the Italian scholastic system is that they have no budget for the arts and literally spend most of their day locked up in a classroom with little hands-on activity. When the children arrive to us, they are expecting the same type of summer camp they would normally expect to go to: more school. Italians have not grown up with the summer camp culture that Americans have, and when they get to experience native English speakers and be forced to practice their English they have a lot of fun. They also get to play academic games and be in competitions, as well as performing in a final show at the end of the camp. They get to dress up in costumes, memorize and perform an English show to their parents. Overall, these nine weeks have been grueling in terms of teaching English. As a tutor, we have to show up at 8:30 in the morning and be with the kids all day until 5:30 in the afternoon. I had the opportunity of working in Giampiliari, Messina, Catanzaro Lido, and Soverato. Each camp taught me new things about myself and the Italian culture.

There are many stereotypes I came into Italy having. I thought that being here would tear away the stereotypes I had, but being here has just reinforced my love for these stereotypes. For example; Italians wait at least one hour before swimming after eating, they do not walk in the house (or anywhere) without shoes, they have melodramatic hand gestures, and a three hour multi-course meal is the main night family activity. There are some more things I also came out learning. They really do say ‘Mama Mia!’, they love eating french fries with their pizza, and wine really does compliment every meal. Italians are obsessed with their sports, and families (especially in the South) really do completely out of their way to accommodate their guests. Personally, I know I will come home saying “bo” which is a typical sound that Italians say when they mean “I don’t know”. I will probably insult Americans with my over dramatic hand gestures that I have grown so accustomed to doing. I have genuinely fallen in love with the Italian culture. I know my host families make me eat their amount of food, plus another two or three portions, and still tell me I haven’t eaten enough. “Mangia Mangia”! “Moko Moko”! I am thankful I ran around chasing kids everywhere because if not I would be 5 kilos heavier.

In terms of the language barrier, I was fortunate enough to know Spanish which really helped me pick up on the Italian language quite quickly. I know the first week I was here I was not able to order at a fast food restaurant, and now I am the main translator for my friends and fellow tutors. At first, I was able to understand more than I spoke. However it is true when people say that when it is necessary to learn a language you pick it up fairly quickly. Because I got placed in the South of Italy for all of my camps, six weeks of my time here was spent in an environment where barely anyone knew English except for my camp directors and tutors. My host families knew enough to stay a few phrases but that was about it. To a lot of people this might seem like a nightmare, but you will be shocked at what determination and pantomiming can accomplish. I can have a fairly decent conversation with someone and understand almost everything that is said when in the appropriate context. I hope to hopefully learn how to speak Italian as my third language. Apparently this language has more grammar tricks than English, but I am excited for the challenge.


Overall, I have learned quite a bit. There is an enormous power in understanding distinctive types of languages and families. It is also so interesting to learn the different and unique ideas and philosophies they have about life. It is amazing realizing the influence we have to transform lives and make learning fun. It is so easy and fun to meet new people if you take the opportunity to melt into a new culture. There is a huge importance in getting to know more than your bubble and what you are accustomed to. Getting out of your comfort zone truly is rewarding. I am grateful and happy for every moment spent in Italy this summer. The most important lesson I learned was that genuine happiness is always found in the company of good people, good food, fun places, and even better memories. There is a common Calabrese dialect phrase that I learned that translates into “eat the world”. It basically means that it doesn’t matter if you are in Italy or Abilene, happiness is all in taking advantage of every opportunity to grow and learn.

A Summer of Science Writing by Christianna Lewis

by   |  08.04.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

Every journalist should get to interview a chatty British lady. It’s just a complete joy to listen to British accents, and English phrases make for wonderfully quirky quotes. This and many other pleasures have made this summer in New Hampshire an unforgettable time in my life.

I’m over halfway done with my two-month summer internship at Dartmouth Medicine magazine, and have only finished two articles so far. In the newspaper world, which I am far more familiar with than the magazine world, this would be totally unacceptable.  But these articles are based on research published by the Dartmouth staff. Much more data must be sifted through, the researchers take longer to get a hold of, and at least drafts of the article are passed around four people before it can be approved.

But I have loved every step of the process. I love reading the research publications and seeing all their graphs and data. I love talking to the scientists and learning how their research question came up, or how they thought of a new solution to an old problem. And I love telling their stories, crystallizing their discoveries and conclusions for general audiences to understand and enjoy.

Today I began to write my most daunting assignment – a 1500 profile of the new chair of the Department of Pathology. The work is not as hard as it sounds, because the chair happens to be the talkative British woman I so loved to listen to. It turns out that she is someone that I would absolutely read a 1500 article to learn about, so I hope I can entice readers to do the same. This will be the longest news article I have written in my very short career as a journalist, so I did five additional interviews, just in case. My editor almost rolled her eyes when she heard that.

In the afternoons I get to walk along the Connecticut River, enjoying the evergreens and the midsummer blossoms. The weather here is wonderful, temperatures peaking in the mid 80s on most days. This weekend it’s going to get into the 90s, and the state sent out a weather heat alert. I’m already getting excited to head back to Texas next month, but I don’t mind spending another four weeks here. Anyway, I still have a lot more British quotes to squeeze into my article.

Nate Hurley’s summer internship in computational chemistry at the University of Vienna

by   |  08.04.11  |  Honors Student Achievements, Uncategorized

This summer I have an internship in theoretical and computational chemistry at the University of Vienna through a program called Partnership in International Research and Education (PIRE).  Every summer the PIRE program takes place in either Pisa, Italy; Santiago de Compostela, Spain; or Vienna, Austria.  For the program, undergrads work with PhD students on various theoretical and computational chemical projects.  I am working with another undergrad from the University of New Mexico and a PhD student from Yale University.  We are using classical mechanics to model a simple reaction, the reaction of a hydrogen atom with a hydrogen molecule (H + H2 → H2 + H).  Classical mechanics is much less computationally intensive than quantum mechanics, allowing the properties of larger reactions to be calculated faster than is possible with quantum mechanics alone.  However, classical mechanics is inadequate for completely describing this system as some quantum effects interfere.  One of those effects is tunneling: a reaction can occur even when there is insufficient kinetic energy for the reaction to occur classically.  Ultimately, the purpose of this research is to create a quasiclassical means of including tunneling in calculations without having to do an exact quantum calculation.

Most of the work accomplished so far this summer has been done to replicate the most accurate quasiclassical calculations that have been previously.  In order to do a quasiclassical calculation of the reaction, the three atoms involved are placed along a collinear energy surface that is a function of the two internal coordinates (the distance between the first atom and the second atom and the distance between the second atom and the third atom).  Two graphs of the energy surface are shown.  For some initial kinetic energy of the impacting atom, the initial position of the impacting atom is varied randomly within a range that corresponds to a complete vibration of the reactant molecule.  Then, multiple reaction trajectories are run and the percentage of successful reactions for the given energy is noted.  Classically, no reaction can occur unless the impacting particle has enough energy to reach the saddle point, the highest point along the reaction trajectory on the energy surface.  A graph of a successful trajectory is shown.

The eventual goal of this project is to utilize a concept called Ring Polymer Molecular Dynamics (RPMD) to include tunneling.  Each particle can be represented by a number of beads in a ring of harmonic springs.  In the limit of an infinite number of beads, these systems are equivalent to an exact quantum calculation.  Although the center of mass of the beads may never be above the energy barrier, different beads may at different times pass over the barrier.  Further work will see whether this method can approximate the exact quantum results with a computationally reasonable number of beads.

Education major, Melanie Catteau, spends summer in China

by   |  07.19.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

Day 3 in Beijing

After we finished testing, we went out to lunch without Ms. Talley and Dr. Stewart. We felt so accomplished after we got exactly what we attempted to order. We then went back to the school and got our classroom assignments! Although Prentice and I are not team teaching, we both have a classroom of 6-8 graders. I have the intermediate students and he has the advanced. Our classes are going to be project-based and writing intensive. So far, I have 4 students, one of which I tested. We spent the afternoon setting up our classrooms. I got my whole bulletin board up (our “Poet Tree,” haha, get it?) and the furniture arranged.

July 2, 2011

Purple Bamboo Garden and Summer Palace

Today we visited a botanical garden called either the Purple or Black Bamboo Garden. It was absolutely beautiful. It was so green and full of people. There were people playing badmitten, cards, doing Tai Chi, singing, and playing music.

July 6, 2011

Yesterday was the second day of school! Amazingly, it went even better than the first. I was nervous about yesterday. It was the first day of real teaching. I was scared I’d have to keep Shine in for recess for talking and I was scared I wouldn’t be able to get Tom to talk. However, yesterday went really well. It was the first day to follow the hopefully permanent schedule and I even got some actual teaching in. The boys do really well with the schedule written up on the board and they make sure we stay on track.

Yesterday, we were able to make a Frayer model and a Venn diagram as a class. Hopefully they’ll be able to do it more independently next time since they’ve seen it modeled once. We talked a lot about the definition of the holiday to help them pick a holiday to research (I knew it was going to be hard if they decided to start researching April Fool’s Day) and then used the Venn diagram to compare and contrast Reaping Day (a holiday from The Hunger Games) and Christmas (a holiday we are all familiar with).

We also did an art project yesterday! I took the picture on the first day of school (they just loved that) and printed it out for them to put on a piece of black cardstock. I told them they had to have three pictures/object cut-outs that tell me something about themselves. Of course, some of the boys drew things like a robotic arm attached to their body to show me they like robots but I had one kid, Jung Ho, draw a picture of a boy kicking a soccer ball into a goal. AMAZING. This kid is an artist.

My favorite part of the day is reading The Hunger Games. I’ve just been reading a chapter to them every day and I love the discussion that comes after it. It’s so encouraging to hear their insightful questions after watching them fidget for twenty minutes out of the corner of my eye. I can see that they’re really comprehending and enjoying the book! I try to stretch the book into as much of my day as I can. They do homework about the book, they respond to the book, they use a holiday out of the book in the Venn diagram. I love reading their thoughts about the book and seeing that they are remembering things we didn’t discuss as a class.

July 9, 2011

Today was amazing. We got to sleep in a little bit (I never thought I’d be excited about sleeping until 7:30) and get Starbucks before getting on the bus to go to the Great Wall. The Great Wall was incredible. It was miraculously clear day in Beijing and the Great Wall was beautiful. We got to hike up to the highest possible point (Allen, our tour guide, told us we hiked 4 kilometers) and then walk down and take toboggans (so fun!) to get to the bus. It was a difficult climb in the 95o weather. No one died, we only got a little sunburned, and only 1 girl threw up. Success.

Rebecca Dial studies abroad in Oxford, England

by   |  07.19.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

My trip to England has been a different and exciting experience so far. On our first full day in Oxford, we went to the weekly market in the morning and bought fresh fruit and vegetables and explored some of the city. Thursday was our first class and in the afternoon, went to the Natural History Museum of Oxford. There were many skeletons and casts of dinosaurs, mammals, and other animals. I also went into the Anthropology and Archaeology room in the museum, which was full of various cultural artifacts from all over the world. I particularly enjoyed it because it displayed the different cultures’ work right next to each other, which allowed me to more easily compare them. We also walked around the park in Oxford and saw the massive trees and plants that are much greener and more beautiful than the foliage in Texas. That night we saw the premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two” at midnight. It was very cool seeing the movie at midnight in England with a bunch of British Harry Potter friends.

We had a free weekend this past weekend and all went together to Cardiff in Wales. On Friday, we went to Cardiff Castle and took a tour as well as walked around the grounds. The castle planning was incredibly intricate. The Bute family owned the castle and the rooms had different themes. Some were based on the languages they learned—Hebrew, Greek, and Latin were a few. One room was based on the gods behind the names of the days of the week. We also got to see the falconry at the castle. We got to see a baby barn owl being fed, which was an interesting experience since it eats day old chicks. Saturday we went to Caerphilly, a short while away from Cardiff, and saw the Caerphilly Castle, the second largest castle in England. It was rainy when we were there, but it made it a great English experience. Later in the day, we returned to Cardiff and went to Cardiff Bay, which was a pretty walk. For church on Sunday morning, we went to Llandaff Cathedral for worship service. The cathedral and surrounding area was gorgeous. There was also a World War I and II monument to those who had served. The train rides to and from Cardiff were the first I had been on, and were enjoyable.

This trip is different than others I have taken for a couple reasons. First, I am taking class with science related majors while usually I am with others of the same major. It is good to get new perspectives from people and I like hanging out with them. I have also had to take a lot more responsibility for planning my weekend and day trips, which is sometimes a little overwhelming but helpful in getting used to being on my own. The last part of the trip that has been different is the money conversion, which I have not had to do when traveling around the States.

Though I have not yet been here for a week, I am quite pleased to be here and am experiencing a great deal.

Kelsey Chrane spends weekend in Wales

by   |  07.18.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

This weekend was absolutely incredible! Possibly one of the best in my entire life! We left on Friday morning and headed to Cardiff, Wales on a train. Europe is has an amazing train system, which allows people to travel very quickly and easily cross-country. We had one transfer, but only traveled for about two hours and over 100 miles. Whenever we arrived at Cardiff, we checked into our hostel, The Bunkhouse, right downtown and then headed out to lunch. For lunch, I had traditional Welsh rarebit. Although it sounds very intimidating, it is actually just toast with cheese spread on it. It was tasty, and I enjoy trying new and different things. After lunch, we went to check out Cardiff Castle. It has been there for hundreds of years, and the city of Cardiff has literally grown up around the castle. The history that is around every corner here is absolutely incredible. I cannot even explain what it’s like to walk down the street and see castles, as well as views that belong on postcards. According to their website, “Cardiff Castle is one of Wales’ leading heritage attractions and a site of international significance. During 2000 years of history, the Castle has been a Roman Garrison, a Norman stronghold and in Victorian times was transformed into a gothic fairytale fantasy.”

Saturday morning we got up early to make sure that we made it to our appointment at the horse farm on time. The sky looked a little stormy, and we were all a little bit concerned about how that was going to work out. We made it to our train and rode to Brigend, and then took a taxi to the Ogmore Farm Riding Center. There were castle ruins right on the land of the Ogmore Farm, and we could hardly wait to get a closer look. After spending some time exploring the ruins, we still ended up getting there a little bit early, but they let us wait in the tack room until it was time for us to go on our ride. The door was open, so we could see that it was continuing to rain. So we said a little prayer, and tried not to worry about it. We put on riding helmets and boots, and by the time we got ready, the sky had cleared and the day was looking very beautiful. We rode across rivers and through the Welsh countryside. The views were breath-taking and gorgeous. I absolutely felt like I was in a movie, forging streams, riding through the countryside, and enjoying the beautiful weather that God had provided us. We rode to the ocean, and Kaitlyn and I got to run our horses down the beach. It was unbelievable. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for my entire life, and I know that I will cherish these memories forever.

After we got back from our horseback ride we had lunch in a charming little cafe right by the farm. We then decided to walk to cliffs that were about three miles away, in Southerndown. We asked one of the workers how to get there, and had to make a pretty impressive climb to get there. However, once again, we walked through some amazingly beautiful countryside, that was right out of the movie PS I love you. After some assistance from some very helpful Welsh people, we made it to the cliffs. We went down onto the beach, as well as hiking up to the top of the cliffs. We also got to explore some more castle ruins, but these were even more special than the one before. Inside the ruins, there were incredible gardens. It was like we had stepped back in time into the Secret Garden. While working in Washington DC, I had the opportunity to watch the introductory video to the Capitol tour. In the opening scene of the movie, it shows a panoramic view of the coast of California (I believe). From the first moment I saw the view of the waves rolling in towards towering cliffs, I knew that I wanted to see something that beautiful in my lifetime. Incredibly enough, I was able to see a view like that less than two months after I realized that I wanted to. What an amazing blessing. After we finished exploring, we walked back to a nearby restaurant to call a cab that took us back to Bridgend and the train station. Before we left, we had dinner at a restaurant that served traditional Irish food.

The next day was our last day in Cardiff, which broke my heart. There has never been a more perfect weekend! We went to breakfast as a group and had a lovely meal of traditional Welsh food. After breakfast we walked to Llandaff Cathedral, the most famous cathedral in Cardiff. The parishioners were extremely welcoming and very kind to our group. According to their website “Llandaff Cathedral stands on one of the oldest Christian sites in Britain.  In the sixth century St Dyfrig founded a community close to the ford where the Roman road crossed the river Taff. Nothing remains of the original church but a Celtic Cross that stood nearby can still be seen near the door of the Chapter House.” After church we headed back to Oxford on the train. A great reminder that even perfect times cannot last forever, but I’m exciting to have more new and exciting experiences over the next several weeks!

Seth Bouchelle from Australia #2

by   |  07.15.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

For the last few weeks we have been helping to run a few Christian Camps. The first of these was Camp Orion, the objective of which is to reach out to and build relationships with unchurched youth from the Brisbane area. Orion was smaller this year than in past sessions, however the small size proved advantageous as it allowed us to really engage with the campers in a more personal setting. Our second camp, Camp Connect, was more focused on networking and encouraging youth from the churches around Australia. While Orion was primarily active team building activities and nightly opportunities to discuss life and faith outside of a “churchy” atmosphere, Connect consisted mainly of lectures and worship sessions, leaving little time for much personal interaction. Between camps we have spent the majority of our time with our friends from Camp Orion. Most days, after breakfast of course, consist of picking up one or more of our new friends and spending the day either at a local shopping center or in the homes of one of the church members. All of the nationals have proved to be incredibly hospitable: be it allowing us to sleep or eat in their homes, or utilize their space for activities with the local youth. Most afternoons and evenings are spent either with our host family, some of the older university students, or the lipscomb mission team whom we coordinated with to run camps.

The church here has given my partners and I many opportunities to speak publicly. Also, I was able to speak yesterday at Redland’s College as part of their Spiritual Emphasis Day. Our experiences with the church here have been educational, to say the least. Australia is a very laid back culture, but at the same time very reserved. There seem to be many people who would regard themselves as “seekers” and who wish to know Truth, but they are highly suspicious of Christendom. This, combined with the relatively small size of most congregations, results in an evangelism which is highly relational with a lesser emphasis on the programmatic. Most churches are not large enough to facilitate the enormous programs that would draw in a crowd, nor would they have the facilities to manage mass-visitation. They generally seem to focus on building relationships with those people they interact with on a daily basis, seeking to model the love of Christ in the hopes that their example might be seen and move a few to ask why they have the hope that they do.

Red Thread Movement continues on summer tour promoting awareness of sex trafficking. By Samantha Sutherland

by   |  07.15.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

At our second festival, Alive, it rained on and off, but, despite the muddy playground inside the merch tent, there were some upsides. When the downpours would come, masses would cram inside the merch tent to wait out the storm. There was a group of people crowded up next to our table so I offered them some reading material for the wait and they gladly accepted. Awareness spread.

We met some awesome people, some shared some really touching stories with us about pasts of sexual abuse.

We were also mentioned on RadioU’s morning show and by a speaker on one of the stages.

Dawn from Fireflight passed by our table and gave us a fist pump and Hello Somebody came by our table later and said that she came over to them and said, “I love the Red Thread Movement.” ha ha, we love her too. The Fireflight street team frequented our table and became good friends of ours, they had picked up their bracelets last year from Don’t Wake Aislin and were sporting the second edition Red Thread bracelets ha ha.

We ended up bringing in around $2,800 and almost selling out of bags! By the end of the week, the crowd was speckled with red bracelets and several youth groups joined the Red Thread forces. We also were excited to add To Every Cynic to Red Thread Music. They are a great group of guys on fire for what God has planned for them and a huge heart for the cause.

After leaving Alive Festival, Kelcie and I met up with Red Thread supporting members, Sound the Ruin and Harp and Lyre, in Urbana, IL and joined them for the last couple nights of their tour to Cornerstone.

This year at Cstone, Red Thread sponsored the Underground Stage. We set up the booth the second day of the festival and it was pretty slow-moving at first.However, there were a lot of supporting bands playing that I was able to finally meet and it was a blessing to get to know them all! We truly have an incredible group of supporters that stand behind us with everything they have. I can’t even describe their passion and kindness towards this cause! It was fun being able to hang out with them all week.

The last two days we saw a drastic change, and it served as proof that effective marketing can make all the difference. I spoke with some good folks at Frontgate media, who were organizing part of the festival, and they gave me some onstage time. I spoke on the mainstage after our buddies in Seabird played and before Blindside came on. We also had Gallen speak for us on the Underground before a few sets and, that night, we more than doubled our sales!

I asked to speak again the next night and they put me on mainstage before the headliner. I also spoke three times on the Underground and was allowed to go up before the Chariot, the big Encore show of the final night, when the tent was packed, and tell people a little about the situation in Nepal. God provided so faithfully and we pulled through with a strong ending. The final day we welcomed 5 new bands on the spot and I got to meet and watch many other supporting bands.

Afterwards, with our car overflowing with bags, we headed for Chicago where two friends departed and my brother and I hung out for a couple more days at a friend’s house. We met up with another friend we had met at the festival and he showed us around the headquarters for Jesus People USA, it was not at all what I expected. They have an incredible community there!

We started our first run on the Van’s Warped Tour the next week. It was so very different from what we were accustomed to at the Christian music festivals. A majority of the girls walked around in bras, literally, and most of the guys’ sported shirts with the f-word somewhere on it in bold letters. The reception was, as you can imagine, quite different for a cause there. We met up with our friends in the Got Your Back movement and their feelings of horror paralleled ours. We didn’t do nearly as well in sales and it was more difficult to talk to people about having compassion.

However, it hit me, when I was talking to a girl with an “I love sex” sticker on her shirt with her jean shorts rolled up and unzipped to reveal her swimsuit, that perhaps the horrors of sex trafficking is the perfect cause to introduce in this kind of setting. I watched as one girl read our flier and, with each sentence that described the graphic reality those girls face, her face creased in disgust and horror. A lot of these girls don’t realize that they are making themselves the objects of exploitation and are degrading themselves and their worth by giving in to the over-exposed image that society tells them is acceptable. Boys would come up to the table with offensively suggestive things written on their chest and would buy a t-shirt that says they are against sex trafficking. Something about it is terribly hypocritical. If anything, I think that the sex industry and the things that happen to these girls is a direct consequence of perverted love in our world today.

We did four days of Warped back to back. We would load in at 9:30 am and work until 6:30 pm when we would load up, eat our only meal of the day, and hit the road. We would drive all night to the next location and sleep a couple hours in the car if we arrived early and then go again. We definately began to question if the tour was worth it, but stayed surprisingly optimistic. Our next festival begins tomorrow in Minnesota. I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces of some bands and non-profits we know and being in a Christian environment again. We join back up with Warped afterwards and I’m still working on booking some more festivals for us after that. I love being on the move, we have been so very blessed by the people we’ve met on the road and have found safe havens in each state we’ve gone to where people have opened their homes to us. Chicago has a particularly special place in my heart, our new friend there was incredible and he taught me how to skateboard which may become a new obsession ha ha.

God is good, and He never ceases to surprise me!