Week 7

Hello! This week was busy, but much more manageable than the previous week. I’m continually learning to lean on the Lord, and I am so grateful for His strength, His joy, and His patience being with me and ever sanctifying me until His return.

Monday was a dreary, rainy day that made the rest of the week seem wonderful. Throughout the day it was cloudy and glum, however, right at the start of our band rehearsal is when it started to rain. It wasn’t too heavy of rain, but when you stand out in the rain for an hour and a half straight, it gets you pretty wet. By the end of rehearsal, everyone was giving each other wet hugs and flicking more water onto each other; it was a good time and a great rehearsal, despite being waterlogged. (Shoutout to Kara for helping make sure I didn’t slip and die walking back up to the school with my wet glasses.) I got a welcome box from Liberty University including a t-shirt, a poster, and my official acceptance letter from the school! That was an excellent surprise to come home to after being drenched, and I safely stored away my acceptance letter for safekeeping and hung my t-shirt with my two other Liberty shirts.

On Tuesday, I spent my third period in a guidance counselor visit where they showed us how to request transcripts and recommendation letters. Because I already took part in a previous guidance visit, the counselor said I could do work for another class and just hang out for the rest of the class period! That’s when I decided to buy this Rays jersey for only $32, I’m hoping it comes fairly soon in time for the playoffs! It’s almost October baseball time, there’s nothing like it.

Wednesday consisted of me singing for my youth group and dressing up a little bit nicer because we didn’t have marching band rehearsal after school! Just a nice picture of me with one of my favorite mugs.

On Friday, the competitive members of the marching band followed the tradition of dressing up nicely at school the day before a competition. Below is a picture of me and my snazzy friends, I love them. Also, about 50 members of the band attended our first away game as a pep band! I love pep bands because they are more relaxed and call for a smaller group environment; plus you can get some amazing pictures and have a blast. Perhaps the best part, though, is the bus rides before and after the game where everyone is excited and pumped up for the game, and then we’re all tired and have the leftover adrenaline crash after we finish the game. Our team won 28-21 and now has a 2-3 record. (We’re improving slowly, but surely!)

On Saturday was our first band competition! We had a 9:00-12:00 rehearsal that morning to prepare one final time and load the trucks, and then we headed out for the competition later that afternoon. For rehearsal, I decided to dress up in a ridiculous(ly handsome) outfit and help galvanize the ensemble with my look and share the excitement of a show day! We passed around my wizard hat to a different person on the drumline for each repetition we did, and that helped boost the mood during our long rehearsal.

After the rehearsal, we arrived at the competition in our summer uniforms (because we’re waiting on a small shipment of the remaining full uniforms…) and we began to warm up, finding our rhythm before our performance. Soon enough, it was 6:45 and time to compete for the first time! We had a good run-through, despite being a small group. I do wish that we would encourage more of a competitive spirit like in previous years and that we would think about how we want to do better and better each competition, not just “having fun” or “taking in the experience”. To me, that shows little faith in our band and limits the scope of what we believe we are capable of achieving. While having fun is absolutely important, and we should strive to do so, we should also remember that we are a competitive marching band who remembers from our rich tradition of excellence that winning is fun. We received second place in our class and look to keep improving for our next three competitions!

Today was a relaxing day as I mowed a neighbor’s lawn as a quick odd job, and I look forward to going roller-skating this evening to celebrate a friend’s birthday! It’s been 4 years since I last roller-skated, so I’m hoping that I don’t make too big a fool out of myself. I’m blessed to have a close group of friends, all with different personalities, traits, and relationships, and I can’t wait to continually grow closer with them as I move forward this year.

One thing the Lord has taught me this last week, and I will continue to dig into this coming week, is to not sacrifice Him for anything in the world or any situation you’re in. In fact, He calls us to be the light and salt of the earth, allowing the Holy Spirit to work and move in us as we submit ourselves to Him. Change in your faith isn’t always a radical, instantaneous thing that a single “sinner’s prayer” can achieve; changes in faith are measured over time and in worldly situations where God calls you to be an ambassador of Him and His character. His uncompromising justice is matched only by His boundless love, in which He gave His son for us to turn to as our present help in trouble. While God hears our prayers and our pleas for better situations, He often will work through those situations and build our faith and character. So in the world and in your God-given roles, I encourage you (and myself) to keep communicating with our Lord, to rely on Him, and to thank Him for his mercy and grace, which leads us to repentance and saving faith in Him. What a friend we have in Jesus.

My favorite hymn over this past week has been “His Mercy is More” and I continue to keep that song and message in my heart as this next week continues. Despite our failures, shortcomings, or worldly limitations, His mercy is more, and He is faithful to work in us as we submit ourselves and seek His face! I encourage you to take even 5 minutes this week to pray and thank God for the things He has done for you and for His son who saves us from ourselves and our sins! Gloria in excelsis Deo! Glory to God in the highest!

-Luke Wanca

Week 6

Hello all! This week went by quickly, but had some particularly exciting events! I am blessed beyond measure to be where God has placed me and to take part in His beautiful story, serving Him.

On Tuesday in Personal Finance class, we had an assignment to create a jingle about credit scores…hence creating “Mary Had a Credit Score” with my close friend, and singing it shakily to the class. 10/10, Mary got a mortgage! A truly happy ending for her.

The middle of the week progressed as normal with marching band rehearsals and youth group (I played drums for worship this week); it is becoming easier to settle into an established routine of what my week looks like, as well as managing the (minimal) homework I have throughout the week. This is good news to me, as it gives me more time to spend in God’s Word (currently in the book of Judges), read from some of the great historical theologians (currently reading The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer), and spend time filling out college applications slowly but surely.

On Thursday, fantastic news had come: my counselor had submitted my preliminary high school transcript to Liberty University, and I got an email congratulating me on my acceptance! This is my top choice school, and the Lord has blessed me with opportunities awaiting me there to grow in Him, grow in knowledge, and grow in experience. If He is willing, I pray to be able to spend my college years there and advance His kingdom in Lynchburg, as well as prepare myself to advance His kingdom far beyond my college days.

As well, someone put a treble clef in the men’s restroom in the music hall? Not quite sure why, but it sure did make a statement.

On Friday, the band did not attend our team’s away game, but we tried on our shakos (fancy marching band hats) in class and it was great to put mine on again. Because we didn’t wear them last season, it had been nearly two years since I wore mine last. It was a cool moment to think about where I was then compared to where I am now, in each aspect of my life.

On Saturday, we had an all-day band rehearsal! It was exhausting in every aspect, but we performed the first full run of our halftime/competition show! I’m grateful to have gotten to dress up in our drumline tanktops (shoutout to Maverick), have a good rehearsal, and enjoy the time I’ve been given with these people I care about.

Today, I attended church and a student leadership meeting for youth group. Despite a really small turnout, I’m so grateful to have honest, biblical discussions about the needs of our high schoolers and how we can best serve the group of students who attend our services. Our numbers have shrunken in the past couple of years, but the Lord has constantly put it on my heart that it is He who draws us to ministry and His church, and we can use this opportunity to focus our youth group solely on Him; as we shepherd the sheep we have, the Lord will bring others with it. Continued prayers for wisdom, guidance, and being a light to others within this group of students are appreciated! It is a blessing and a privilege to get to work alongside our church’s youth group staff to help share the needs of our students, provide options, and pray for our students (and staff) collectively.

This coming week is looking to be an even busier one. After last week, my heart was overloaded at times in the burdens of my responsibilities in the world. The Lord has continually taught me how to surrender those to Him and allow His Spirit to be the driving force behind the work we do. In everything, surrender is the answer to truly let the light of the Lord shine. I pray Psalm 27 over myself, to remind myself of the Lord’s provision, care, light, and timing. I trust in His strength in each of my weaknesses, and I trust in His new mercies and joy to encourage my weary heart. Thank you for encouraging me on this journey and keeping me in your prayers, if you are reading this.

Here is to another week of seeing Jesus’s kingdom come and His will be done. Let us be obedient to Him, and “encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

-Luke Wanca

Week 5: Birthday Week!

Hello all, once again! (: This past week was fantastic and it was spirit week for Homecoming! We got to dress up each day for a theme, and I got to have fun with all of my friends while doing it. The order of days (and pictures below) went pajama day, frat day, and swag day. It made me happy to have those around me look forward to the outfit of the day, as well as make people smile with my own outfit!

On Friday was our Homecoming football game! Because the Homecoming Court did their presentation at halftime, the marching band performed our performance after the game. For the first time, we played our ballad movement with the opening movement! The show is coming together quickly, and it’s incredible to see the hard work of each band member, leader, and Mrs. Gott paying off.

On Saturday, we celebrated an early birthday with my grandparents and settled in for the day before we would say our Sunday goodbyes.

Then it was Sunday! Becoming a legal adult was suddenly a very real experience as I registered to vote, registered for the Selective Service, and renewed my driver’s license to a Class D from an Intermediate (minor’s) license. I went to Dunkin’ Donuts in the morning to pick up a free birthday drink and took a nice drive on the interstate home as I sipped on my coffee. Later that day, I had 5 friends over and we all hung out, made personal pizzas, and played ping pong for a while! Thoughtful gifts, a wonderful mug, and kind, eloquent words of affirmation were all in store for me. It was a day I won’t forget, thanks to them, and I can’t overstate how blessed I am to have these people in my life; I love each of them and I can’t wait to keep doing life with them as an adult (:

I read over Psalm 37 in my quiet time this morning and it reminded me how faithful the Lord is to His children, how steadfast in all of our worldly issues and situations. It encouraged me in how God has had His hand over my life in the past 18 years, and I can’t wait to keep walking with Him and trust Him with more and more. I’m currently praying that I can become a closer disciple of Him and gain a better understanding of His heart as He impresses it on my own. David encourages us to “wait on the Lord and keep His way” in everything we do, and that is what I strive for and pray for guidance in.

Until next week, bye for now!

-Luke Wanca

Week 4

Greetings, all! We finished up this fourth week of senior year, continually trekking through what school has to offer. The week wasn’t all that eventful, but there were a few highlights!

On Wednesday, our youth group hosted a mental health question panel where we brought in three different Christian counselors/professionals and they answered anonymous questions and common concerns about mental health in high school. It was beautiful to see some of the honesty as groups form, as well as see what the Lord is doing in the hearts of others. Prayers for connection and His light to shine through were answered, and it was a fruitful night for everyone involved.

On Friday we had another home football game! This was against the #2 team in the state, so we didn’t stand a chance, but it was very fun to get to march, entertain, and drum under the Friday night lights! The drumline decided to do a small thing for our cheer and dance teams as well: when we replaced our drum heads on Friday, we signed a few of the used bass heads and gave them to the cheer and dance teams as a gift, as well as individually addressed snare and quad heads to the seniors on each team! The drumline loves getting to perform with them for the student section in the fourth quarter of each home game, and they deserved to know that! Here’s to a continued great season for our football, dance, and cheer teams (:

Saturday evening, my grandparents flew in from Alaska to spend this next week with us, as well as celebrate my brother and I’s birthday! Our family hasn’t seen them since October 2019, so it was refreshing to see them and spend time with them over this weekend, and I look forward to spending the week with them!

On Sunday, I decided to take a deeper dive into writing and write a small poem. It’s addressed to myself, in a sense, but also shares biblical truth through the lens of advice to a shepherd. It’s a small thing, but enjoy it! (You may have to zoom in on the screenshot to read it well.)

Today was Labor Day, hence why I waited to write this post until after today, and we all spent the afternoon adventuring at Fort Loudoun! I usually like to have more of a plan, but even in the changes and impromptu decisions, the Lord grew my patience and I could observe Him moving in my heart and changing what previously would have been a tough situation for me to be in. Praise be to Him, and it is amazing to see the Lord work in your heart in everyday situations! When we got home, I got to grill burgers for our family and settle down for the evening and relax. It was a good weekend with family (: Below are a few pictures from today’s excursions:

I’ll be praying for strength in this coming week, as well as small moments to take it all in…it sure will be a busy week, but I know the Lord calls us to rest in Him and not in our circumstances. My big reminders through September and especially this busy week are to be still and know that He is God (Ps. 46:10) and to let my heart take courage to wait upon the Lord (Ps. 27:14).

Next week’s post will be a special edition because it’s the week of my birthday (Sunday the 12th)! Here’s to new memories, treasured times, and further glory given to our king, Jesus, as I step into adulthood!

-Luke Wanca