Each semester after all of the tests are done, final papers submitted and trips are completed we have a final banquet to end the semester together. It's a time to celebrate everything the students have accomplished academically as well as the ways they've grown emotionally and spiritually. Each staff members requests students they connected with over the semester and publically we speak over their lives the worth that we see in them and the hopes we have for their future. It's fun and festive at moments and solemn and reflective at others. It also involves lots of pictures since after a semester of living in "jungle clothes" such as leggings and ratty t-shirts we finally clean ourselves up a bit!

Just a few of the students from this semester ...

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Johnathan was a buddy who immediately stood out with his bright smile. He has had a lot of sadness and hardship in his life, without any consistent home life, but he deeply loves community and family. He always made my kids feel welcome and pursued honesty in relationship. He loves walking as much as I do and we took many a walk to Galleti, a local coffee shop.

 

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Noe (middle) is the life of the party with his dance moves and ready laugh. He is someone unafraid to give a good hug. He was also unafraid to pursue mentoring and met diligently and regularly with Aaron (left, a professor), Justin (his RC) and me. His growth was exponential and inspiring and he seamlessly allowed me to enter his life as a clinician and as a friend. White water rafting with him was a highlight.

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Kayla is bubbly, talks a mile a minute and is open and inviting. She also thinks and feels deeply and desires so strongly to love those who have placed in her life sacrificially. It was my honor to have her open her heart to me.

 

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Living and Learning Staff (most of us) ... there is not enough good I could say about this crew. There have been so many blessings with saying goodbye to my old job and starting with LLI but co-workers is at the top of that list. They are people of integrity and passion who pursue Jesus and who live Jesus out to others. They are trustworthy, we are honest with each other and unified. They have been a breath of fresh air and I've noticed how being around them pushes me into daily dialogue with Jesus about different things. They are fun and laughter, we hold each other's tears, frustrations and try our best to be a team with the same goal of Christ-followers. They are beautiful inside and out.

 

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I'm so glad for co-horts at the end of the semester because I likely wouldn't have gotten to know LeeAnn or Ethan too well without them. LeeAnn is a partner in loving adventure and a total beach girl. She loves unfiltered talks and impromptu time. She is a leader among her peers and a confident musician who blesses others during worship. Ethan is quieter and not at the center of everything. He shies away from the crowd but is tenacious in pursuing deep and transparent relationship with those he cares about. He talks fast, he thinks fast, he asks questions non-stop. He and I sat under a beach umbrella for two hours, discovering that we have a lot in common in how we perceive and interact with the world. He loves good meals and his family, is ultra-competitive but put up with me in spike ball and is always willing to encourage someone when he sees something good in them.

 

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Oh you probably know these guys by now! Christine works as an adjunct English teacher some semesters, including this one. It was of course fun to have our best friends celebrate the night with us. We have a LOT of fun together.

 

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This guy has been so supportive of my new job, constantly encouraging me in my passion. It could be really frustrating because this new job causes me to work weird hours, have more schedule conflicts with him, need more babysitters, travel more, have more people in our home, and have my brain elsewhere at times but he loves me and he chooses to always support my dreams and hopes.

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Email:  nktaube [at] yahoo.com
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