Week 10

Hello all! This was our first week back to school after fall break, so it felt longer than ever, but it went well nonetheless!

Monday was a pretty standard day with band rehearsal and getting back into the swing of things after our break. It was rough at first to come back after a relaxing week, but thankfully there was grace for the transition back to school. Our senior class went down to the football field to form a big “22” for an overhead picture that will go in the yearbook! For the band kids, making the 22 was easy with knowing how to mark drill and adjust the lines and curves accordingly. I had fun with my friends down there and hanging out in our spots as everyone posed for our picture!

Wednesday was a chill day because we didn’t have band practice and we just rehearsed our show music outside during 2nd period. The only thing is, the grounds maintenance crew was fertilizing the mulch and plants behind our rehearsal awning, so it rEEKED of manure for the rest of the week. The good news is, it was a good source of lighthearted jokes and comparison to some of our playing early in the week.

Thursday was a slow day at first, but the school brought a soft-serve ice cream truck during lunch, so my friends and I bought some pick-me-up ice cream to push through the rest of the day! I’m grateful to have the friends that God has placed in my life.

Despite changes this year in friendships, relationships, and feelings, God is my steady rock when myself and others aren’t always steady. Things in this world are fluid, changing, and dynamic, while God is our firm foundation. Love in the world sometimes may be fleeting, shallow, emotional, or conditional, but the love of Christ is truthful, unwavering, faithful, and richer than gold. Despite the waves tossing me around each day and new situations uprooting my thoughts, feelings, and former convictions, the Lord is my shepherd and He leads me to His goodness each day.

On Friday was our final pep band football game, where we just took a small group of the band and drumline with us. Saturday we had our third competition! Overall, the band placed second with our show and first in music for the day. I’m proud of us, and excited to continue with our final week of marching band this coming week!

Today I served on one of our worship teams at church, which I am thankful to get back in the routine of as marching band ends. This following week may be a reflective and emotional one as we conclude my final season of marching band. I don’t plan on marching in college, so this will be bittersweet for me as I thank God for these past 4 years and say goodbye to this season of life. I’m praying for strengthened relationships and friendships this week, that God may be my support in the world and in my feelings. Despite changes and up and down feelings, the Lord is my shepherd and He leads me beside still waters.

“I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me against the Rock of Ages.”

-C.H. Spurgeon

-Luke Wanca

Fall Break

Hello all!

It’s been a relaxing, restful week during fall break and I am so thankful to have that opportunity to unwind, take a seat, and do things I enjoy. On Monday, I watched the Rays’ struggle to take on the Red Sox in the ALDS and fall in four games. It was hard to see their record-breaking season end so quickly, but I hand it to the Red Sox for beating us with an outstanding showing by Kike Hernandez.

Tuesday, I began filling out my FAFSA and had some fun catching up on some of the more recent James Bond movies! Skyfall and Spectre were very well done and I enjoyed getting immersed in the films so I could see the newest one, No Time to Die, on Wednesday. The film was a fitting ending to Daniel Craig’s tenure as Bond, and it was wonderful to see it in the theater for the full experience.

the name’s Bonk. Jimmy Bonk.

On Thursday, my discount Rays jersey came in the mail! I didn’t think it would end up coming, but it paid off as I tried it on and wore it around the house on one of my relaxing days this week. 11/10, would order again.

Friday, we had a home football game! It wasn’t a full band game, due to many being out of town for fall break, but we got to play some stand tunes, hang out, and have fun with a smaller group of the band! It was stressful at times, but I’m grateful to have gotten a home game to play tunes during before our final home game (senior night!) on the 29th.

On Saturday, I heard the wonderful news that stores began selling eggnog for the holiday season. Of course, I rushed out that afternoon and got my own half-gallon to celebrate early! If only they sold eggnog year-round…

Today, I attended church and a youth group leadership meeting to help determine details of our final stretch of the semester and pray over what we can do as students to reach out with the gospel in our schools.

But even bigger…

I shaved my beard.

My face was really really cold today and it was strange to feel it for the first few hours too, but I like the look and I’m glad that I stepped out and took the plunge! It was even more fun to see my friends’ reactions and encouragement after nine months of having a beard.

In these final two weeks of marching band season, I’m praying for a new closeness with God as I continue in obedience to Him and as we grind out the final details of our marching band show. May God in His kindness continue to work in me, sanctify me, set me apart from the world, and invite me to continually submit myself to Him. I look forward to seeing God’s transformation in me in this new season of life, of faith, and of trust in His sovereignty and perfect ways.

May the Lord bless and keep you, may He make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift his countenance towards you and give you unspeakable peace.

-Luke Wanca

Week 9

Hello! This week was uneventful for the most part, as it was the final week before fall break. There are a few fun memories and pictures from it, however!

On Tuesday was the in-school ACT for seniors, but because I already scored a 35 on my last ACT, I decided to opt-out of this one and take the day off! I got myself some coffee with a gift card and showed up at 4 o’clock for after-school band rehearsal. There was a good chance of rain, so I wore a poncho, not wanting to get poured on like our last rainy rehearsal.

Wednesday was youth group and another week of worship! On Thursday, the MLB Postseason started for the Rays. With the Rays in the #1 American League spot, I was excited to watch them make their way to the World Series again this year! However, it’s not looking so good for them right now. Down 2-1 against the Red Sox in the ALDS, I’m hoping they can turn it around this week in order to advance and not get eliminated. Here are a few pictures from the last few days of the baseball playoffs.

Saturday morning, I got to grab coffee with a church mentor/friend of mine! It was wonderful to get to talk about how God is growing us over this season and continue to pray for one another where we are at in life and in ministry. Saturday evening I played for our evening church service and had dinner with my family at my cousins’ house. Sunday was a good, relaxing day where I could worship and be spiritually fed at church, and then take it easy at home and take a day of rest (:

This coming week is fall break for students! I’m looking forward to an easy week with good memories, relaxation, and fun activities!

I’m so grateful to the Lord for continually making His wisdom known to me and allowing me to commit more of myself to Him each day. Philippians 3:9 came to mind when discussing this on Saturday, and I couldn’t be happier with the direction the Lord is leading my life in. Despite the trials and worldly situations we face, I have increasing confidence in God’s ability to overtake those situations and stand by us each day. Praise be to Him and to Jesus for providing us with His life and sacrifice so we could be united with Him. There is no greater love than His.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christand be found in him, not havingĀ a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, butĀ that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith

Philippians 3:8-9

Here’s to a week of relaxation and communion with the Lord! I’m looking forward to what this week brings (:


Week 8

Happy Sunday! This has been a really fruitful week, as there’s been a lot happening in and outside of school. I’m thankful to have grown in faith this week and in trusting each and every obstacle to the Lord who gives me strength.

On Tuesday, we came back to school after a mask mandate was ordered for our county over the weekend. While this was a hot topic of the day with many protesters and plenty of tension among students, I saw it as an opportunity to share the light of Jesus and set up a prayer group amongst our school’s students before the day started! A small group of us gathered to pray and encourage each other at 8:00 A.M., and I was glad to see participation and enthusiasm about being a model of Christ to our school despite the evident division. As well, our marching band had a “give-back night” at Chipotle, where if you specified you were with the marching band, they would give 25% of the profit from your meal back to the band funds! Always gotta go with the solid chicken bowl, a classic option indeed.

Wednesday was a nice, easy day with little to do! After school ended, I had some time before youth group where I made muffins for my family. (Blueberry is the best muffin). As well, I got to listen to history being made: the Tampa Bay Rays set a new franchise record of wins by breaking 98 wins on Wednesday night! I listened to the radio broadcast with my rally cap on and enjoyed some evening baseball.

Thursday was a fun band rehearsal day! We wore our shakos (fancy hats) with plumes (fancy feathers) for the first time while playing our instruments, in preparation for our competition on Saturday. It always is a strange adjustment to march with a foot-tall hat and feather on your head, but it was exciting to have a taste of the full uniform again.

On Friday, about 50 members from the band went to another away game as a pep band! We won 49-3, so clearly, we did something right. The bus ride back to school was so hyped up, and I had the “honor” of DJing with my Bluetooth speaker and playing some of our favorite songs to all sing along to. 11/10, would sing again.

Saturday was competition day! We arrived at school at 8:00 A.M. for a short two-hour rehearsal before we had to get lunch and change into our uniforms. Our prelims round performance was okay, but we all hoped to perform better in the final round of the competition. After a few hours of waiting for our 8:15 P.M. performance time, we were fired up and ready to have a better run. It turns out we had a much better run, as we got 3rd place for the night (even including bands in a higher class than us) and we overtook the high school that had a better percussion score in prelims to take home the Best Percussion Award! That was a thrilling and emotional moment for me, as I’ve worked tirelessly all season to help our young group be able to compete and do well. To go up and receive the award was a surreal moment. I’m so thankful for everyone in our percussion section for working as hard as they have, and I pray for continued guidance in leading them well for the rest of the season.

If all else fails and we don’t receive any awards the rest of the year, my goal is simply to make an impact in each of their lives and exalt Christ and His character in my leadership. No moment or time of our lives goes to waste when we serve Him, and it’s an honor to serve in the spots He has put me in to lead and pray for others around me!

Earlier today I went to church and attended a worship team lunch, hosted to thank the volunteers for their efforts over the past year and a half of adjusting and serving during the COVID changes. It was wonderful to get to eat some fantastic barbeque with people I care about, as well as celebrate the service we have all shared for the past seasons of our lives! The rest of today, I plan on enjoying a chill rainy day at home and listening to some baseball. It’s the final day of the MLB season, meaning that the AL wildcard spot is still in play for 4 different teams!

I’m grateful for each open door that God has opened for me, and I continue to pray for more opportunities to serve Him! Here’s to this next week.

-Luke Wanca