So by now, my home church, GTaustin has announced that as of June 28th, Master's Commission of Austin will shut it's doors and will not be running anymore.
I must admit, I found out about it two Thursdays ago, and I'm still dealing with so many emotions. At first I was ardently angry. Then I was overwhelmingly sad—8 years of history was coming to a halt. I had to come to the realization that I would not be going to any more MCA Graduations, I would not be going to any more Alumni Retreats... I wouldn't be able to talk to students who were having a hard time going through A LONG DAY (see below), sharing stories and encouragement with them. Then I felt like I was misplaced. I felt confusion...why? really? could this really be happening? Then I felt shame...that I was taking this so hard... it's so hard letting go. And then after long talks with a few people, I was able to find some sense of balance and understanding. I still feel like crying sometimes. But it's not in my hands. It never was. Now I realize that from here on out, the connections I've made (and will try with everything I am to maintain) and the memories will help me keep things in perspective.
And though I'm sure there will be some growing apart... busy people...busy lives... I know that the memories and more importantly the lifestyle will always be a part of who I am.
For those of you who don't much about my history or about Master's Commission, it is a 9 month hands-on ministry training school...so think like bible school mixed in with an internship at a church. There's really a lot more that goes into it, but for now we'll leave it at that. So, I went to school at Master's Commission of Austin as a student for 3 years right after high school graduation (2000) and after my 3rd year, my original director transitioned out and moved to Louisiana to start MC Industries—another Master's Commission program in Broussard, Louisiana. While most of my fellow classmates chose to go to MC Industries as well, I felt in my heart that I needed to stay in Austin and serve the new director and help him and his wife in any capacity I could, in accordance to all the things I learned as a student. I then joined the support staff of Master's Commission of Austin under a new regime as the MCA Media Director. After my year on support staff, I joined the full time staff for 4 years and in the summer of 2008, I stepped out of my position and life there to pursue my dreams here in Seattle, WA. I got the call two weeks ago that there was going to be a transition—after Graduation this June, there will no longer be a Master's Commission of Austin. The director and his wife are moving back to Rockford, Illinois to step into a new passion (not that the old one is less than, it's just time for the transition). Having had to say goodbye to MCA before, I know it's gonna be tough on them, on each and every student, and on the home church that has relied so heavily on MCA in the past. The sad times will come, the confusing times will come, but more importantly, the building times will come. It's bittersweet, really it is. But I pray that they will continue to live in the resolution as well. :D
So to reflect on the good ol' times, I thought I might share a list of 10 of my favorite things/memories from my 8 years in Master's Commission of Austin. And yes, I know that it will make this post crazy long, but since this blog is about my life in my words, and MCA is such a HUGE part of it, I think it's worth it. ;)
1. DISCOVERING MY BEST EVER FRIEND IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD
Sarah (Warner) Noble has been such a major part of my life since day one. The day I stepped into the big dorm and got settled, and met Sarah... my life changed. Here was one person who was able to show on the outside what I felt on the inside. Over the years, our friendship has only blossomed more and more. My first year for Christmas break, she invited me to come home with her and share in her family's holiday traditions...that Christmas I learned so much about TRUE FAMILY, true friendship and how to grow up in so many areas of my life. And ever since, her family has considered me a part of their family...always. :D She was with me through everything... travel trips, holidays, Coram Deos, credentialing, transitioning directors, transitioning to Seattle, and even last week when all this hit... i KNEW who to call. I knew that she would help me work through things. She is one of my biggest gifts ever in life. Had I never been a part of MCA... I would have never met her... and my life would not be full of as much LIFE as it is now. So many of my memories from MCA involve Sarah.
2. SRMC RETREATS
the SRMC is the South Regional Master's Commission programs of the US. Since my first year, I've been going to SRMC retreats (except for the 1st year after the director transition) and every year I have been so refreshed and revived. The biggest one for me was my 2nd year when Pastor Greg Phipps spoke on Initiating the Romance...life. changing. And every time I hear the song "THE BIGGEST PART OF ME" I remember the message he spoke and I'm humbled all over again. The retreats were also a time where I could reconnect with my friends along the way. I love that when I first became a part of MCA my director instilled in me the priority of building relationships outside of our little MCA bubble... I made some of the best friends with people from other programs and I still to this day stay in touch with them.
3. MY ORIGINAL CLASS (2000-2003)
These people are without a doubt the most amazing, real, and beautiful people I know. These people have helped to shape me so much through the years. We've had our ups and our downs and our everything else's. We've been through A LOT together... and we've been there FOR each other through it. Class hangouts were always so fun... and to any of my class members who are reading this... I just gotta say:
- Beer and pizza... all the way
- Escuda MC lives on
- My head hurt dawg
- FireworkStands/FlowerStands... and of course. the cookouts at the Potts' house!
4. DISCOVERING MY PASSIONS
to teach, to work with junior high students, to rise up to the challenge to love 'the tough cases,' to be a listening ear, to be different (in a good way), to be a true friend, to help others along the way. Everything I do now, I learned from MCA. From the way I clean to the way I socialize with people.
MCA is the place where I first discovered my love for the people of Seattle.
5. MY FIRST EVER MEDIA TEAM
Dustin, Grace and Chad...times spent with these guys and gal in MCA will always be a large part of my memories in MCA. From late late late nights in the print room. From brainstorming sessions. From Tracks and from lots of interoffice drama... we've always been an amazing team. They've taught me a lot and they've pioneered a lot of the standards and grace that has developed in all the teams that followed. To you I say:
- House of Fear...'nuff said
- Grace cutting GT20 flyers with Dustin's face on them
- Pen wars
- Track wars
6. RICH WOLTER
He deserves his own bullet point. This guy is just hilarious. Anytime I've been around him, I've done nothing but laugh so hard. At first we didn't get along (story of my life), but through the time we've known each other, he has been a strong pillar for me. I remember the time he tried to do EVERYTHING imaginable to break a Nalgene bottle...ran over it with a car, beat it with a baseball bat, then finally taking a saw to it... and when he took it back to the store, they asked him what happened to it.. and his response was: "oh. it fell off the counter." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAA! He's the first one to introduce me to the hilarity that is Dane Cook and taught me that there is such a thing as "the magic touch"...i mean really...getting a laptop fixed for free after taking a baseball bat to it...really?? really?? ;)
7. FAMILY DAYS
During my time as a student, family days were a time to have fun without the 'daily grind' and a time to celebrate birthdays. They were always so fun and enjoyable! My favorite family day though, had to be during my first year on support staff... we did this dinner and a murder mystery thing and I was the murderer...and the guy that i was supposed to marry was the character played by my new director... and I felt COMPLETELY awkward...cause I didn't really know him very well...and all night he was like in character being all sly and romantical...and I kept having panic attacks and avoiding him every time he came near me...i must've seemed completely outta my mind! and the whole night he kept calling my character's name: REBECCA! and I kept running away! but at the end of the night, I still got away with murder. ;)
8. ROAD TRIPS
My favorite part of MCA was traveling... I've seen so much, been to so many awesome places thanks to MCA. My two favorite trips were the East Coast Tour with my first director and then the MCA Road Rules Trip my 1st year on Support Staff.
The East Coast Tour was so much fun and I got to meet some amazing new people, plus hang out with Three Nails Short (a band that toured with us), and got to meet up with my best friend and have some great times hitting up tourist spots along the way.
MCA Road Rules was another great time...trying to beat out 2 other teams for a prize..and earning points for going to different landmarks along the way from Austin, TX to Phoenix, AZ. Getting to (A) see the Grand Canyon and (B) convince everyone that we actually got a helicopter ride to the bottom of it...was amazing!
9. A LONG DAY
Well, seeing as how it no longer needs to be kept a secret, A LONG DAY is something that was initiated by the new director. It is based off of Navy Seals training, where they go through intense training. They have some weeks of training and then what they call A LONG DAY...because it's a day that spans over many days...but they don't get to sleep so it seems like one long day. It's meant to push limits and build team skills and camaraderie. Being on the staff side was different, but I still got a lot out of each year's A.L.D. as much as the students did. I loved being able to talk with students during A.L.D. because it gave me so many teachable moments with them and it challenged me to see life through different eyes. To every MCA student who has gone through A Long Day...it's over. ;)
10. BEING ON STAFF
Being on staff with MCA taught me so much. It taught me how to challenge myself. It taught me grace and wisdom and patience and so many other things. Staff hangouts were so much fun. I loved being part of such an amazing team! One funny memory from staff hangouts was when we were at Carrie Sealy's apartment and we were playing Rock Band and it in the middle of playing, I farted. really loud. And let me just tell you...I had tried SO HARD to keep in all of my farts from the staff...REALLY HARD. So the moment it happened, I partly hoped they would ignore it...but it was so loud...and Pastor Dan (the 2nd director) laughed so hard!! I was completely mortified...but now I can only look back and laugh :D
June 28th, 2009 will mark the end of the MCA Legacy as it's been known. But I know that the legacy will live on in each alumni (for good and bad). So what happens next, after the doors are shut? I dunno. But one things for sure, the memories won't die. In my life, the standards won't die. And to all the alumni—please make an effort to stay connected! This isn't the end of the world by any means, but it is a challenge to stay connected more than ever before. We need each other, whether we're willing to admit it or not. :D
There's really so much more I could say, but I'll leave it here for now. :D Feel free to comment (as always...no censorship)