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New Year, New Responsibilities, New Excitement

Amanda, our friend and co-worker, blindfolds Alisha during some Student Life team-building exercises.
A bit of an apology for this post. The text was all written up by Alisha in and we were ready to find pictures to make it nice and then...the Internet went out for 1.5 months. No joke -- such is the life that comes with living in a resident hall. A new update will be posted next week to give a proper update.

Life on campus at LCC International University has been extra busy as students return. For many students, summer is a time of working, studying and relaxing. We spent the last two weeks training our Resident Assistants (RAs). The training was extremely successful and I’m very excited about the new student leaders we’ll be working with this year.

Alisha snags some snacks during the Resident Assistant training retreat. If these
photos look familiar, we went to the same retreat center as in this post.
What, exactly, is it that you will do this year at LCC?” you may ask. Josh will continue working as a Resident Director (RD). That means he’ll care for the students who live in the East side of Neumann Hall. He also will lead and organize the chapel band, plan worship, and coordinate monthly events, meetings and co-curricular activities to aid in the RAs’ professional development. This will be a departure from last year when he supervised the residence hall receptionists and night guards.

In addition, Josh will also be the adviser for the Roots of Justice activist group. Roots of Justice is the group we wrote about in this blog post that seeks to educate the LCC community (and beyond) about the human-trafficking issues that occur in Eastern Europe and beyond. In an attempt to take a more holistic approach to the issue, the group is expanding to help encourage and support a climate of volunteerism on campus.

This year I (Alisha) have moved into a new role on campus. I am now the Interim Director of Community Life. I'll provide leadership and oversight for Community Life, setting the vision, tone and goals for the department. I also manage the Residential Housing program and staff (RDs and RAs) in order to provide a quality living and learning experience for students who live in LCC’s university housing (yes, this means I’m Josh’s boss – weird). Lastly, I'll provide oversight for the Office of Intercultural Programs (they provide intercultural educational programming at LCC and within the Klaipeda community).The un-fun part of the job is handling discipline for students who violate the community standards. However, even though it’s not the most enjoyable part of the job, it is an excellent opportunity to mentor the young students and get them back on the right path.

I’ll also be looking forward to coordinating the campus Artist Collaborative (i.e. Art Club). It’s an awesome way to connect with students where our passions intersect and build relationships outside of my job description.

We squeezed in a breakfast lunch with Ieva. Last year, Ieva was one of Josh's RAs.
This year, she is serving orphans with another LCC graduate in Kyrgystan. Check
out her blog here to see an example of how LCC students are changing the world.
In addition to our on-campus responsibilities, we will also continue to support the Vineyard Klaipėda Church through volunteering at a local orphanage and supporting the church-in-the-bar and open-mic nights at a local pub. We’re so lucky to have such great friends in Kel and Sharon – the church’s coordinators. Thanks to them and our partnership with the Vineyard church, my Temporary Residence Permit (TRP) has been approved and I’m legally able to work in Lithuania! This month at the orphanage, Josh will be attempting to teach the kids who are 13 years and older the concept of American Baseball – a tremendously foreign concept. Keep him in your prayers (editor's note: the baseball game went very well and the kids all were impressed with Josh's skills)

We’ll also be continuing the “church alternative/house church” we started in our apartment called the “Mustard Seed Project.” It’s specifically designed to call on the students who are curious about Jesus but might be skeptical of the church (sadly, this is fair number of LCC students). We’re hoping to continue to shine a little light in this part of the world.

This upcoming weekend will prove to be a memorable one. Josh will be hosting a futbol/football (don’t call it “soccer”) viewing party in our apartment – it’s the World Cup qualifiers this weekend and some of our students are tremendously excited to tune in. (editor's note: Nigeria won, much to the joy of one of our students) Meanwhile, I've got the chance of a lifetime to go home with one of our students, Renata, to her village for her family’s potato harvest. I’ll get to pick potatoes on their goat farm and their cat just had kittens!!! Needless to say, we both have a lot to look forward to.

Bonus Section

We like to play a game called "Eastern-European doppelganger." Occasionally we spot someone while out and about who reminds us of one of our friends from the U.S. Below is our second public installment. We present "David Boring."

This handsome devil is a chef at a new restaurant in Klaipėda called “Meat Lovers” – I don’t know about you, but he looks a lot like David Boring to me!

When I told this red-headed gentleman about the look-alike contest and told him my North American friend’s name was David Boring he couldn't believe it. He said, “There’s no way a guy this good looking could be called 'Boring.'” 

And with that, I wish you a great week!

Bonus Bonus Section

Here are a few pictures from Alisha's potato-harvesting adventure.
Most of Alisha's photos consisted of animals from the farm. For example, here are two "glorious goats."

Renata's family harvesting potatoes. It is common for families to work together to harvest their potato fields at the end of the summer. The potatoes are then divided into three categories -- large ones will feed the family through the winter, medium ones go to the livestock, and small ones are saved to re-plant the next season.

Alisha -- the happiest potato picker ever.

The harvest's yield.

Renata, right, gathers some apples to take back to LCC while her mother plays with
the cat, "Donut." It's no surprised that the family has fallen in love with Alisha and
ask Renata about her frequently. 

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Finding Rhythm (120 BPM)

Alisha and Amanda row with determination for their leg of LCC's 2012 Ugly Duckling Cup. Although victory was not in the cards for the faculty team, the event successfully brought the campus together in friendly competition.
Life has finally seemed to have found a rhythm for us here at LCC International University. Not sure if that's because we have become less busy or if we've just grown accustomed to the high-energy, always-accessible lifestyle of being resident directors.

Either way, the feeling is nice.

This weekend marks the official inauguration of LCCs sixth president, Dr. Marlene Wall. Such events are a big deal on university campuses (click here for details), so that means there will be extra events we are, in part, responsible for. That included a special chapel service today, Community Day on Friday, and the Inauguration Ceremony on Saturday.

Neighbor Fire Update

Last week, our post was about a neighboring group of homes that caught on fire. Here's a brief update. Josh has attempted to visit the homes a few times to find ways the students can help on the long road to recovery. However, the language barrier and busy schedules has made it difficult to follow up.

Of the two homes that were severely damaged, there has been no luck contacting the residents of one and the residents of the other have been in no rush as they had insurance on the home and did not want to interrupt that process.

It seems sometimes loving your neighbor is hard purely for logistical reasons. We are going to make a few more attempts to offer assistance and we'll post how that goes.

Garbers on Ice

On a lighter note, a group of students asked us to go ice skating at a local mall with them and we agreed. Here is our adventure, documented for your enjoyment!

Bonus Section

We like to play a game called "Eastern-European doppelganger." Occasionally we spot someone while out and about who reminds us of one of our friends from the U.S. Below is our second public installment. We present "Jess Simmons."

Jess is a long-time friend we met while she was a youth at Trinity Mennonite Church. We've since seen her grow up and even graduate from college. We think she's pretty great.

Although technically the girl who is Jess' doppelganger is not from Eastern Europe, she is someone we met here who is attending LCC, so we figure it still counts. Her name is Kate Metelak, she's a full-time student at LCC, her parents both work as faculty/staff, and Josh helped her brother lead music at the Summer Language Institute.

Jess, left, and Kate, right.

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Go to ALL the meetings!

This will be a relatively short entry as not a lot has happened since last post other than meetings -- lots and lots of meetings.

Alisha and Josh play some songs (and make new friends) at an open mic. 
During these meetings, we have been learning the ins and outs of our jobs as well as developing our relationships with our coworkers. It is exciting to see things start to come together for the new year.

In addition to our primary responsibilities as resident directors (RDs), we are also given additional areas of dorm life we are responsible for. For Josh, that means supervising, training, and scheduling the dorm reception and night guard workers. For Alisha, that means being the new housing director -- a job that entails placing students in dorm rooms according to gender, interests, preference, and 13 other criteria.

Those of you who know Alisha well know this is a job she is well equipped for.
Our first campus snail mail from the Denny family!

In addition, Josh has also accepted the position of chapel band leader. This means that he will be responsible for making music happen every Wednesday at LCC's optional chapel service.

The resident assistants (RAs) arrive this Friday and we will be spending the next several days training and molding them. These next few weeks are going to be an extremely busy time for us, so apologies in advance if we do not respond to e-mails as quickly as we'd like.

Bonus Section

We like to play a game called "Eastern-European doppelganger." Occasionally we spot someone while out and about who reminds us of one of our friends from the U.S. Below is our first public installment. We present "Hal Shradervich."

Hal (right), meet your suave, Eastern-
European doppelganger.