Friday, May 27, 2016

The Spirit of Adventure E-Term 2016: As The Journey Ends, Our Spirits Thrive

By Michael Gauldin

Today was the last leg of the Spirit of Adventure E-Term. We began the day at Yogaville in Buckingham, Virginia with a sunrise yoga and meditation session at 6 AM. Seeing a group of twenty college students going from warriors to trees and then to cobras and pigeons was a sight to behold. With our muscles stretched, minds cleared, and not to mention, for those as inflexible as me, bodies sore, we moved along to a breakfast consisting a fresh picked fruits, vegetables, and other organic options. Following breakfast, we did Karma Yoga, which was a form of yoga that involves doing a service that helps others and makes them feel good also, in return, you gain peace. For our Karma Yoga, we helped clean yoga mats, garden, and spread mulch. After our last yoga session, we went to the Lotus Temple for a 30 minute meditation before heading back up to the vans to depart back to Ferrum.

As the journey ends for our Spirit of Adventure E-Term, we look back on what we have accomplished and how we’ve grown throughout the experience. I came in expecting both thrill and excitement to be accompanied with relaxation and peace and this E-Term came far from falling below expectation. From our activities such as, zip lining, rafting, and hiking to the peace of yoga and meditation, we each found a way to grow in our vocational and spiritual calling during this E-Term while acquiring friendships, peace, and excitement along the way. Although, it wasn’t always easy we still managed to learn and expand ourselves. Furthermore, as we leave for the summer, we all will be taking away different experiences that have made each of us grow differently but also in unity and with that, as the journey ends, our spirits thrive.

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Interfaith Comparison

By Tyler Belcher

The Spirit of Adventure E-Term was a very exciting and interesting course. The course began by learning the roots of Ferrum College in the classroom. We learned how the college was established as a part of the United Methodist Church. We then learned more about the Methodist faith. This lead us to our first place of adventure, Lake Junaluska. Lake Junaluska is a beautiful place that is associated with the United Methodist. The World Methodist Museum is located there. The museum was filled with all kinds of interesting things from the past related to the Methodist faith. We also were able to experience different types of prayers and meditations there. The peacefulness of the lake really made a difference for everyone and helped contribute to our learning. During our stay at Lake Junaluska, we visited Cherokee. At Cherokee we were able to see how the Cherokee people lived both past and present, as well as learn their spiritual background. The speakers there stated how accepting the Cherokee are of all kinds of people and this relates to the Methodist faith. It was very interesting to see how the faiths relate to one another. 

The second half of our adventure led us to Washington D.C. During our stay at D.C. we visited Foundry Methodist Church. This church had several different beliefs than what most of our class had, but it was interesting to learn how things are done differently in different areas. We also attended several seminars and went on a nature hike along the Potomac River. Along the hike several of my classmates had to face some of their fears, whether it being the fear of snakes or the fear of heights, they still faced their fears and completed the hike. After the adventures around D.C. we traveled to Yogaville for the last two days of our E-Term. Several of us were skeptical of Yogaville, but we all decided to stay positive and be open minded. I personally did not agree with some of the practices that the people there followed, but I was respectful of their faiths. Although, their beliefs were different, they were still open to all beliefs no matter what it was. The people there are very respectful to everyone just like the Methodist and Cherokee.

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: It’s Yoga Time

By Keith Ricks

Today was awesome; we started off with leaving the nation’s capital and it took almost 4 hours to arrive to Yogaville located in Buckingham, Virginia. My first take on this community was that everyone here was very open minded and free spirited, and I was right! After getting settled in we had orientation and it was long but informational. The instructor Shankari gave us everything we needed to know and she was very clear that this location is filled with vegetarians and shoes are not necessary. After the orientation we had a successful 2 hour long yoga session. In the session we were able to engage our spiritual and physical well-being. Even though it was very hot in the room the class still enjoyed the wonderful experience.

Dinner was not so appealing coming from nothing but a meat eater however, the salad was the best part. Trying out new things has been a wonderful experience but the only time I was able to truly connect with myself was during yoga. To wrap up a very interesting day, we had a lovely speaker who discussed health, wellness and spirituality and their connections. The class really seemed to enjoy it. The first day at Yogaville was eventful and we all look forward to this new opportunity to step outside our comfort zone and learn and experience new things.

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: The Rocks, the River, and the Snakes

By Austin Winkles

May 24, 2016 - Today we took our adventure to Great Falls Park in Maryland. Here we met up with our guide, Beth Norcross the Founding Director of the Center for Spirituality in Nature. She took us on a nature hike through the woods on Billy Goat Trail B. Our walk began with a simple trail, and then began to follow the river. Once we could stop and sit, Beth has us do some spiritual exercises. The first spiritual exercise required the group to find a peaceful place near the trail, to sit, and to write down the things around that caught their attention. I wrote about the trees, and how the woods looked like a good place to climb a tree with my tree stand and hunt.

After the first exercise we continued down the trail. Then Sarah screamed when we came across the first of several snakes on our hike. This snake was a copperhead snake that was about a foot long. Seeing this snake really scared a lot of people, including myself. When I saw that particular snake my first instinct was to run the other way. I deal with a lot of copperheads back home, and I know they can be dangerous. I can usually get away with cutting them up with the lawnmower, but not this time. This time I had nowhere to go other than back the other way. Once I calmed down and gathered myself, with the help of the group, I conquered my fears and went past the snake. Only to find out there were three more snakes up ahead! These snakes were at a distance by the river lying on rocks, but I know that if I can see them they can see me.

Once we finished our trip through Billy Goat Trail B, we met up and went down the road to see what is known as Great Falls. This place, on the Potomac River, was beautiful, and I have never seen anything like it. Seeing the way the water flows, and how it hit the rocks was truly majestic. I am not a big fan of snakes, or climbing over rocks like goats, also I have hiked before, but nothing like today. The point of adventures is to try something new and to face our fears, so in the Spirit of Adventure we took on those challenges today.

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Jerry Wolf and the Spirit of Adventure Tribe!!

By Brandon Bailey

May 24, 2016 - On May 15th we had the honor of going to a Cherokee Methodist church. We had the opportunity to talk to the most beloved man Jerry Wolf that gave us some really great stories about his childhood, his time at war, and a game that the Cherokee played called stick ball. Jerry said that when he was a child that he had to go to boarding school and it was in the 8th grade when he first heard about the war (WWII) and elected to enroll when he turned 18. During his time at war he was moved to a bunch of different duties and one of his first jobs was to teach the new navy members how to march properly. In addition, he fought at D-Day and was sent to Pearl Harbor.

Stick ball to Jerry was a very intense game and he told us a story about how a women came to him about trying to play back in 1999 and Jerry said, “Those women did not play easy it was one of the most aggressive games that he had ever seen”. This was a very great experience for all of us and helped us to understand the Cherokee. We also visited one of the oldest houses in the area. The small cabin housed the reverend and his family, 14 people total and it dated back to the 18th century.

After we talked to Jerry Wolf about his childhood and war memories we ate at a very good meal at Grandma’s Diner. We were greeted by the owner with open arms, and he actually treated us with a little bit of a discount which we all liked. All in all today was a very spiritual awakening for all of us; where we got to pray and give our blessings to one another and some of us shed tears but they were tears of joy and happiness. The Spirit of Adventure group is having a ton of fun and growing closer to one another, and we are looking forward to the rest of our adventures together.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: His Creation, Ours to Protect

By Anthony Konieczka

May 23, 2016 - Today the Spirit of Adventure e-term class woke up to go for a walk down Pennsylvania Avenue past the Capital Building to the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS). This building is one of the oldest on Capital Hill built in 1913. The General Board of Church and Society overlooks the Capital Building and the Supreme Court Justice Building (which was actually built after 1913).

Once we arrived at the GBCS we had an interesting lecture and seminar about some hot button issues that relate to our course. Spirit of Adventure, as I am sure many of my fellow classmates have explained, is all about finding ourselves in our own vocation through the soul searching adventures that we are a part of. First up was Aimee Hong, the Director of United Methodist Seminar Programs, and Amber Feezor, the Seminar Designer, to talk about the Social Principles and the Natural World. Through a film and discussion we really focused in on how the Methodist church helps on the global and local levels in some of the most need based communities. The examples ranged from West Virginia coal miners and the environmental danger of coal mining is, to Kenya and the change from tobacco crops to chili plants to boost farmer profit, to the Congo where a pastor helped build and manage canals to move stagnant water and thus dropping malaria by 70%.

After the discussion Shantha Alonso, the Executive Director of Creation Justice Ministries (CJM), came in to talk about what CJM is and what it does in the world around us. In short CJM protects, restores and serves Gods' works through four faith principles; justice, stewardship, sustainability and sufficiency. CJM is a collection of Christian religions that work together to help shape government policies. They have helped with legislation such as the Green Climate Fund which states that the U.S federal government has donated 3 billion dollars, and the Clean Power Plan which is a policy that will play a major role in energy conservation as our country moves toward renewable energy.

Our third and final seminar was on Climate Change with Rebecca "Reba" Elliot, the Executive Director of Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions in Northern VA. She really hit home with the shocking truth that climate change isn't just far off with the penguins and melting ice caps of the South Pole or in Nigeria where the desert grows by 40 miles each year. She showed us insight on how the increasing water levels are destroying homes in Miami due to the absorbing limestone rock that the city is built on. More importantly she taught us ways we can help, some of these ways we have already implemented in our Ferrum community with our energy saving contests. Just turning the AC down one notch helps!

After the seminar we ended with a great stroll through the beautiful Botanical Garden. I don't think I've ever witnessed so many gorgeous flowers and wildlife in one setting. This location housed every color, shape, texture and plant you could think of. It was truly a perfect gallery for all of God's artwork.