Our Decision to Serve

Greetings from dreary Rochester, NY! I hope and pray that you’re safe from Hurricane Sandy wherever you are. 

Josh and I are keeping warm by scrambling through the toughest part of our fall semester (a feat made more difficult by the fact that classes are cancelled until further notice.) We’re looking forward to taking our final courses here at Roberts Wesleyan College before we graduate in May, as well as (perhaps unwisely) tacking onto our schedules several fun extracurricular activities such as theater ministry, dinners out on the town sponsored by our senior class, a young adult church group, and even intramural water polo. The way we see it, when will we get an opportunity to do these things again?

We have been blessed by many amazing and unforeseen opportunities while studying at Roberts. As followers of the blog may know, at the start of this past summer we returned from a semester abroad in Ávila, Spainwhich was required in order for Josh to complete his major in Spanish. Even now, we can hardly believe that we spent five months in Europe as a young married couple. God has been so good and has never failed to provide the resources we need to accomplish His will.

Josh and I absolutely love travel. We love exploring languages, history, cultures, and of course, food.  The truth is, we have both been somewhat convicted lately by how self-serving we have always been in our traveling. We have put a lot of effort into planning out our adventures so as to get the most possible enjoyment and excitement from them, rather than planning how to give something back to the communities that we have visited.

This is why we have decided to travel with a student organization known as Enactus to Guatemala City, Guatemala in August of 2013. 

We are planning this trip with the express purpose of giving of ourselves in order to serve others. In particular, we plan to serve underprivileged children and single mothers who have been delivered from physical and emotional abuse to live at the Hogar Mama Carmen. Some of these children are orphans, but through vacation bible schools, English classes, and even basic entrepreneurship classes for the older children and mothers, our team hopes to show them that someone loves them—and more importantly, that Jesus loves them.

The mission of Enactus is to enable global progress through entrepreneurial action. Their values include imagination, courage, determination, and accountability, as well as placing a strong emphasis on teamwork. Enactus (formerly known as SIFE for Students In Free Enterprise) has active chapters in almost forty countries of which Guatemala is just one. Last year a SIFE team from Roberts traveled to India for a similar project to what we are anticipating in Guatemala. Enactus’s approach to missions is to meet the immediate needs of the poor and hungry, but to then go a step further by teaching them practical business skills that they may be self-sufficient members of the kingdom of God. Our hope is that the people we help will be empowered to help others in turn.

As excited as we are about this project, we are also scared. Of course there are more pressing things we could be doing with the few thousand dollars it will take to visit Latin America for two weeks. We could be saving up to pay back four years of college loans. We could be planning to start a family. 

The thing is, we don’t feel right about asking God for His blessing, financial or otherwise, if we are unwilling to give back to His kingdom in some way.

It may seem unwise to some, but we are taking a leap of faith and trusting not only that God will provide the funds to make this mission trip a reality, but that His eternal rewards will far outweigh this small sacrifice. 

We would appreciate your prayers as this life-changing opportunity approaches! 

Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Again

Highly awesome Rochester weather here on campus. Photo courtesy of Stryker Ostafew’s Instagram


  • Posting an Awkward and Awesome Thursday when I haven’t posted anything since last Thursday when I posted the last Awkward and Awesome Thursday . . .
  • Midterms about a week before the final. What?
  • Not having enough time after my night class to get into costumes for a party where there would be a couples’ costume contest, so Josh and I just switched coats and pretended to be dressed as each other. We didn’t win anything, lol.
  • I miss photography. More downtime, please!
  • Getting only an 82 on my Human Sexuality exam. This was embarrassing since I’m pretty sure I’m one of the few people in that class who actually has sex regularly :-/
  • Sorry, tmi . . .


  • Going with Bekah to see Freud’s Last Session, a two-man show where C.S. Lewis visits Sigmund Freud who is anticipating his own death. I freakin’ love theater and I freakin’ love C.S. Lewis!
  • Indian summer, ya’ll! It’s unspeakably gorgeous today. Sunny, warm, and I would even go as far as to say “hot.”
  • Till We Have Faces by (guess who?) C.S. Lewis. I had to read it for an ethics class, and boy, am I glad I did! It was absolutely beautiful. I think I’m going to make it into a movie some day.
  • Mini pigs in blankets. They are way too poppable. I ate sooo many.
  • Getting wedged up against a terribly parked Mustang‘s headlight and freaking out so much that I asked a perfect stranger to unpark my car for me! Can you believe there was no damage? Well, except to my pride.
  • Writing a column for the Beacon newspaper. That’s actually how Bekah and I got free tickets to the play!

Back from the Abyss

I know what you’re thinking. How dare I come back after such a long absence and post another Awkward & Awesome and think that everything will just go back to normal? I understand your hurt. Unlike more successful blogistas such as Sydney over at the renowned Daybook, I did not have the courtesy to let you know that I would be taking a break from blogging for half of forever.

Well, that’s because I never meant to. I had no intention of staying away from Nine to Phive for so long, or at all . . . Every night when I came home from work after being in classes all day, looked at the clock and thanked God that Josh and I were used to eating dinner on a European schedule, looked into the fridge and asked for our “loaves and fishes” to be multiplied, and looked at my lonely laptop with the broken keyboard, I said to myself “When was the last time you posted? Don’t you have time to whip something up tonight?”

The answer was never “yes.”

All that to say, I got kind of tired of being a victim to my crazy schedule, and I made up my mind (just today, actually) to take back my life and my blog.

So here I am! Hope that all is forgiven and that we can look forward to a lot more posts together in the future. Since we last spoke, and I mean before I started babbling about Yom Kippur and TobyMac and Spanish art museums and actually talked about what was going on in my life, I have been up to quite a lot.

  • I have begun my final year of college. If (and it’s a big ‘if’) I get into a course offered at a sister campus next semester, I should graduate right on time! Can’t believe it’s happening already.
  • I have started two new jobs as a writing lab tutor and ESL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Love both of them! I feel more like a therapist than a tutor at times, but that’s what makes it interesting.
  • Josh and I have been really focused on keeping our marriage strong. Like saying ‘no’ to work and school commitments to spend more time together and all that mushy gushy stuff ❤
  • I have enrolled in a digital video production class. Changing. My. Life. I don’t know why I didn’t take this course ages ago. I was meant to do this, and I’m loving every minute. I love the professor. I love my camera. I love HD. I love have card-swipe access to the Mac lab. I love everything except the stupid program we have ot edit in . . .
  • I have been in the process of directing a student-written theatrical performance set to debut in November. Muse Creative Arts Ministry is a campus organization (of which I am now the president) that groups creatively-inclined students together on projects to impact the campus and community. Our pioneer performance, “The Chains,” is an exploration of the many ways that slavery and bondage manifest themselves in the human experience. It is going to be absolutely beautiful, but it is a lot of work.
  • I have written a feature-length screenplay that will get produced in the summer of 2014. Did you read that correctly? I am going to be a produced screenwriter and director. I am so utterly excited, I can’t even think of anything else to say on this topic . . .
  • I’m looking for an internship. As if I don’t have enough to do.

So there’s a run-down of the stuff you can expect to hear about on Nine to Phive from now on, because every single one of these things is trying to dominate my attention. Stick around for the ride, and you might see something cool!

Awkward and Awesome Thursday: School Days


  • Registering for my Spring semester classes of my senior year. Where on earth has the time gone?
  • Performing “Some Nights” in ASL at Homecoming. (picture above)
  • Being an instant away from sending an “I love you :-*” text meant for hubby to Stryker.
  • Presidential debates. Enough said.
  • I was so excited to take my required Persuasion course at RIT and, you know, graduate on time. They told me in July that it was too early to register and to come back the first day of classes. They told me the first day of classes that the class was full and I couldn’t get in. Fail.
  • My dear friends from Messiah Theatre had their senior showcases recently, and I couldn’t get out of work commitments. Saddest of days :-
  • A garbage bag left in the trunk of our hot car. Blech.
  • Working on my abstractions project for Video class. Turns out I’m not an abstract enough thinker. Well, there’s a problem I’ve never had before . . .
  • Avocado pits. Slippery balls of evil standing between me and my healthy-fats-filled goodness.

  • Fall is here 🙂
  • Going for a drive with all of the windows down to air out the garbage stench.
  • Having my family right around the corner. Well, 15 minutes away. Close enough.
  • Free Dinosaur Barbecue. Our class council is awesome.
  • Muse Creative Arts Ministry is busy as can be preparing for our fall performance, “The Chains.” Rehearsals just started last night!
  • Volunteering as a photographer for campus-related and personal events and getting “paid” with concert tickets and free wine tours.
  • Kristen’s boyfriend (and Josh’s buddy) Neme moved to the US last month! It’s been so great having him here.
  • Progressive dinner at professor’s homes. I love these faculty couples 🙂
  • Josh and I got an incredible deal on our class’s senior cruise . . . and we decided to go! Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas to us! What a fun and relaxing and not-at-all-like-our-experience-in-Europe this will be.