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