Friday, August 30, 2013

American Dream and Good for the Weekend

Friday night (8/23/13), Chi Alpha hosted The American Dream. This is an event directed towards freshmen during the end of move-in week. We put on the same event on the campus of Arkansas Tech University on Wednesday night. Outside of UCA's 'Old Main', we have constructed a pair of glasses large enough for several people to walk through and have decorated inside and out to look like a vintage carnival. Leaders were all over the steps, lobby, and road dressed as vintage carnies. We had ring masters, a man on stilts, World's Strongest Man, ventriloquist, and tons of vintage-looking prettyheads.

 (the following pictures were taken by Elizabeth Sneed)

(Lauren and Blake)

 (Michael)

 (Travis, Katie Ann, Kevin, Dylan) 

(Tim)

I dressed up as a generic carnie and was a 'Monkey Handler'.

Cutest little monkey around, am I right?

As students came up the steps, greeted by myself and other carnies, they were asked to make several decisions based on what was most important to them in different aspects of their futures.

They took the card that represented what was most important to them and went inside. The message Carp revealed was one of great importance to college students and many new adults.

Society has established an American Dream which includes (but is not limited to) 2.3 children; the perfect, attractive spouse; a high paying job; early retirement. Generally, we are all trying to keep up with the Jones' in every way. So much so, that our lives are consumed by having the life we think we are supposed to have. Even little children are burdened with this American Dream when they are asked what they want to be when they grow up.

Life doesn't have to, and isn't meant to be like this! We are among the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world. We have the luxury of time ahead of us. We have nearly unlimited choices. We do not have to be limited by narrowing worldviews.

When you stop and ask God what plans He has for you, you may be surprised to see you have been looking in the wrong direction and striving for a false goal. This isn't to say that all of us are supposed to give up our majors and become missionaries in order for God to love us, but we are supposed to prayerfully seek after God's plan for our lives.

At the end, Carp asked everyone to go back into the lobby on their way out and trade the cards they originally received for a pair of glasses. Symbolically, looking at life through different lenses.

(image by Elizabeth Sneed;  Jenny, Jennifer, Alexis, Rahel)

After the American Dream, we had Pineapple Whip (a delicious dessert) in the center of campus and the next day we jumped right into deepening our relationships with new friends. On Saturday morning, we met for brunch at Pitza 42, a local restaurant which runs on the same concept as Tom's (1 for 1). Every meal you buy also purchases a meal for a child in a developing or impoverished area who would otherwise go hungry. It is a great restaurant that Chi Alpha and our family supports on a weekly basis. Ashton and Austin, the couple who runs and developed the idea for P42 shared their vision and what God had done in their lives with all of us during brunch.
(image from Pitza 42 Facebook page)

That afternoon, lots of leaders and students went to hike Mt. Petit Jean. Go ahead and guess whether or not we hiked...we didn't! It was about 100 degrees and we didn't want Roman to overheat, but we did meet everyone at the top for dinner and worship. It is amazing to look over God's creation and sing to him. If you haven't experienced this beauty, you are missing out!

(Y'all...this is my amazing husband stretching it out. haha! Look at that beautiful view behind him!)
(Photo creds to Lauren Goodwin)

Pierce (Chi Alpha staff member) led worship and shared some of his personal struggles resulting from the death of his older brother earlier in the year. He showed a true example of transparency for many of our newcomers.
(worshiping on the rocks)
(Photo creds to Lauren Goodwin)

Please pray with us for Chi Alpha as new students come pouring into our ministry. May we receive all of them openly, may God service their needs through us, may they all find a home. Dgroups will launch in a few weeks and I can't wait to report what He is doing!

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