Welcome to Colorful Colorado! That’s what the sign said when I drove in on Tuesday evening, and I’ve barely had any time to think, much less blog or keep in touch with people since. I feel absolutely awful! I hope that this entry will fill in my friends and family on what I’m doing in Denver, who I’m with, and what prayer requests I might have.
For those of you who may not be aware, this summer I am participating in a program called DUS – Denver Urban Semester. DUS is a strange (but awesome!) mixture of a two month leadership seminar, ministry outreach program, and summer camp all rolled into one. There are 12 students participating in DUS from all over the country – California, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Nebraska, Texas, etc. Each of us have a Christian-ministry-based internship within the city that we do Tues, Wed, and Thurs, and then we have class / reflection seminars on Mondays and Fridays. We have Saturdays and Sundays off and are able to fill our time exploring the city, discovering ourselves, and bonding with each other.
My internship is at a law firm called JAMLAC (Justice And Mercy Legal Aid Clinic), and they work with victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. I’m not sure what exactly I’ll be doing since I have zero law background, but I know that I will be able to attend court with the lawyers on staff throughout my time here. I’ll keep you posted on the details of this section of my trip! :)
DUS students live at a place called Issachar, which is essentially a huge house divided up into multiple apartments full of DUS or Issachar students. The Issachar program is basically a year-round version of DUS, and there are maybe 10ish people involved in that program. The building has such a fun atmosphere; we all leave our doors open and hang out and laugh together – no matter if you’re DUS or Issachar. The Issachar building and DUS program is super diverse; you can find someone from almost every racial background. When we are all together, laughing and having fun, I can’t help but see the beauty in the differences between us. Everyone is already so bonded, and we’ve only been here for 2 or 3 days, I can’t even imagine how it’s going to be by the end of July!
I suppose I should talk about the important people involved with DUS, since I will most likely be mentioning them from now on. The DUS team consists of myself, Tamara, Jennifer, David, Michael, Benton, John, Jordan, Gabe, Austin, Caralee, and Cuyler. We come from Northwestern College, Sterling College, Taylor University, Wheaton University, and University of Colorado in Boulder.
Tamara is from NWC as well, and she lives in the Omaha-ish area. She’s soft spoken and sweet, and is interning at the African Refugee Center. In the last few days, we’ve discussed how she could be taken to be nearly any race – Asian, Native American, Latino… But she is technically half white, half Asian. She’s also one of my roommates in my apartment in Issachar.
Jennifer is also from NWC, and lives in Orange City. She kind of has a hipster feel, and is interning at Dry Bones – a center for homeless teenagers. Jennifer is my other roommate.
David is the final person from NWC, and is Jennifer’s boyfriend (ooh la la! Haha). He is also working at Dry Bones. Dry Bones is a different section of Mile High Ministries, so their internship takes them away from a lot of our group bonding activities.
Michael is from Taylor University, and grew up on a pig farm in the Mason City area. He is shy at first, but full of dry-humor one liners once you get to know him. He also kind of reminds me (looks-wise) of the guy with the missing tooth in The Hangover, orrrr Steve Carrell. I see both. He is interning with Tamara at the African Refugee Center as well.
Benton just graduated in May from CU Boulder, and he’s originally from southern Colorado. I don’t remember off hand where he’s interning, but that’s ok I guess. I’ll remember later. Haha. He is obsessed with bikes and drumming, and he is seriously one of the coolest guys I’ve met in a while. He has a mohawk, and we have decided that we are getting tattoos together by the end of the summer. Hahahaha. We shall see. Sorry mom! ;)
John goes to Sterling College (which is apparently right in the middle of Kansas), and is from southern Ohio. He is studying to be a youth pastor, and he has already founded his own youth group called 1031! Another cool thing about John is that he is actually half blind. He was born with cataracts in his eyes, and even with corrective tools, the best vision he can get is 20/70.
Jordan is one of the students from Wheaton, and she is from Mid-City (which is basically the heart of L.A.). She’s interning at a place that provides baby toys, clothes, and other necessary items to impoverished women who would normally not be able to afford things for their children. She is almost 6’2”, so I’m sure we look hilarious next to each other, but I absolutely love her!
Gabe is another person who goes to Wheaton, and is from Irvine, California. He is a pastor’s kid, and is pretty quiet (at least compared to me. Then again, who ISN’T quiet compared to me. Haha). He is the sweetest boy, and provides amazing truths and bits of wisdom during group discussions. His grandparents moved here from China I think, but he and his parents don’t speak any.
Austin is the third person from Wheaton, and his family lives in Dallas. He is a missionary kid, so he moved around a lot, but he is currently from Texas. He is interning at Joshua Station and working with kids from poor backgrounds. Joshua Station’s children are hurting, but surprisingly and beautifully pleasant – Austin is going to have an awesome time!
Caralee is the final person from Wheaton, and she is from San Diego. She plays water polo for Wheaton, which basically means that she’s literally jacked and tan. I can’t remember where she’s interning, but I know that she plans on biking there everyday? Props to her and her health conscious orientation! Haha.
Cuyler is the final DUS student, but he is finishing up with a missions trip overseas right now, so he isn’t here yet. I know he goes to Sterling, but that’s about it.
In addition to the DUS students, we are almost always with the Issachar students as well: Ricardo, Ramone, Ike, Nester, PT, and Dee. They’ve been together for at least a year already, so they know the city well and are able to help us newbies out!
The people in charge of DUS are Greg and Millie. Millie is originally from Texas, and is the sweetest woman you’ll ever meet. She is a single mom of two adopted kids – DJ and Rebecca – and they are hands down the most gorgeous and social African American children I have ever laid eyes on. I’ve already told her I would babysit! :) Greg is probably in his early forties, and has lived all over the world! He has a heart for the inner-city, and encourages us to do the same. He’s a self-proclaimed “master of ADHD,” so he bounces from one topic to another rather quickly. I like it. I feel like he is one of the few people I’ve ever met that can keep up with me! Haha.
We’ve done so much in the city of Denver since I’ve been here, but that needs to be saved for another time. I promise I will try to keep in touch with all of you better; orientation week has just been crazy! Thanks for reading and caring about what I’m doing with my summer. If you could, please pray that God would give me patience in learning new jargon and tasks in my internship at the JAMLAC law firm, and that he would continue to bring myself and the other DUS and Issachar students together as we continue our two month time together.
There will be much more to come, hopefully soon!
<3 That’s B Dike’s thought of the night