Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Final Countdown

Hello Sonshine Staff!  This is it baby!  A few more days to THE Memorial Day Retreat. Below are the run jog walk totals thus far.  Remember our goal is $500.00 from every staff.  We are still $17,000.00 short! Please keep talking to people and ask, ask, ask! Keep it up people!

 $$$ Name
 $         345.00 Aaron Cardinio
 $         300.00 Allie Sherrod
 $          50.00 Alyssa Barlow
 $         750.00 Alyssa Holloway
 $      1,329.00 Amanda Morris
 $      1,450.00 Amanda Potts
Amy Brown
 $      1,069.00 Andy Clayton
 $          20.00 Anne Towles
 $         200.00 Anneliese Dion-Kindem
 $         922.00 Brad Hogenson
 $         550.00 Brianna Salvatore
 $         495.00 Caity Dickson
 $         100.00 Cassie Hanlin
 $         315.00 Chris Brown
 $         300.00 Cody Schulze
 $      1,120.00 Connor Drake
 $         340.00 Elizabeth Sherwood
 $         537.00 Emily Ferree
 $      1,050.00 Emily Williams 
 $         400.00 Emma Grager 
 $         474.00 Eric Wyne
 $         225.00 Esabeau Kendell-Bell
 $              -   Evan Smith
 $         430.00 Frank Sprauge
 $         205.00 Haley Ross
 $              -   Hillary Rush
 $         445.00 Hope Frankian
 $          30.00 Jackie Kabel
 $         315.00 Jackson Reimers
 $              -   Jacob Temple
 $         230.00 James Hansen
 $         245.00 Jamie Sickler
 $          75.00 Jenna Gailey
 $         680.00 Jennifer Harnet
 $         415.20 Jonathan Beltran
 $         140.00 Jonathan Hale
 $         155.00 Jordan Costa
 $         500.00 Jordan Leonard
 $         150.00 Joseph Lee
 $         325.00 Josh Vance
 $         200.00 Josiah Auer
 $         660.00 Joy Brusenback
 $          25.00 Kaitlyn Bonne
 $         160.00 Karly Nelson
 $         100.00 Kate Stipa
 $         110.00 Katie Anema
 $         110.00 Katie Jameson
 $          10.00 Katie Lind
 $         505.00 Katy Conlin
 $          10.00 Kayla Neal
 $         705.00 Kelly kurtenbach
 $         185.00 Kevin Ganon
 $         900.00 Kevin Straw
 $         485.00 Kira Thornley
 $         150.00 Kristen Anema
 $              -   Kristen Brandsma
 $          50.00 Lauren Green
 $         390.00 Lauren Stack
 $         150.00 Lauren Traurig
 $         300.00 Lauren Whitney
 $         285.00 Lexi Prior
 $          20.00 Logan Daily
 $          20.00 Mackenzie Hittle
 $         590.00 Mallory Bockwoldt
 $         400.00 Megan Obrien
 $         780.00 Micaela Saqui
 $         190.00 Michael Corsetto
 $         316.00 Michael Obrien
 $          10.00 Molly White
 $         400.00 Nikki Smith
 $         770.00 Nina Huckabay
 $         830.00 Pearl Snow
 $              -   Rebekah Bujanowski
 $      2,010.00 Reid Delgado
 $         595.00 Samantha Lotti
 $          65.00 Sarah Cardona
 $         440.00 Sarah Josephson
 $         100.00 Sarah Thomas
 $          10.00 Sean Pierce
 $         235.00 Shane Anderson
 $         332.00 Stefanie Woodruff
 $              -   Stephanie Draeger
 $      1,125.00 Stephanie Machello
 $         533.00 Steph Fry
 $      1,070.00 Steve Mann
 $              -   Tony Dunn
 $         165.00 Tyler Moore
 $          10.00 Wendy Whitcombe

You Won't Relent

I find that I love to love God with my mind, but it's SO easy for me to fall into the trap of intellectualism and finding my self worth in knowledge about God. But Paul's words keep ringing in my mind: "I want to KNOW Christ and the power of His resurrection."

"The temptation occurs when the disciple desire for people to lust over the disciple's ideas about God instead of falling in love with God."

The bridge from the song "You Won't Relent" has been on constant repeat in my mind:

I don't wanna talk about You
Like You're not in the room.
I wanna look right at You,
I wanna sing right to You.

You won't relent until You have it all
My heart is Yours.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


So I was listening to a sermon the other day and heard a really good analogy for something that i certainly struggle with at times.

so i've yet to find a christian that doesnt feel as if sometimes God is just letting them sit and not moving them. its like we feel as if we need to always be doing something big and special for God. I know I saw this with my old highschool group, we would get back from a retreat or something, and just be on a complete high for God. Then one by one we would begin to get discouraged by what seemed to be a stagnant period.

Now imagine with me a slingshot. You have to pull back it in order to get the power behind your shot. You cant really pull it back as fast as it will go forward either.

Now apply that to your walk with Christ. God is sending you flying in a slingshot, but you have to go through the times when he is prepping you to be fired. Everything we have been reading about is what we have to focus on as we are being "pulled back". I know I have trouble with that cause, to be honest, I like it when God lets me loose way more than just being diligent and patient.
I feel like this has been said like 60 times before, but we must just learn to Abide.

anyways, that was something cool I thought I would throw out there.


Waassss up yo! So as i am going through my week it seems as though I am jus hitting little snags along the way. It is just petty minor stuff and i couldn't really figure out why these things were bugging me so much. I always go through this couple day phase when i get out of school because suddenly i don't have to think about school so my mind tends to wander and be my enemy. Then I was just thinking about how Jesus died for me and so on and so forth but then i realized something else. I often think about how amazing it is that Jesus died for me but then for some reason my thought process stops there. I realized how amazing the fact is that Christ is alive. When i thought about that, it changed my outlook. Suddenly I realized what Paul was talking about in 1st Corinthians 15 how without the resurrection of Christ Christianity is vanity. It changes everything when i was reminded that I was serving a living God. It also suddenly made me realize why the world should view Christianity as insanity. In every other religion in the world their prophets and gods are dead. In all their power and might they were not able to defeat death. So when people pray to other gods it falls on dead ears. When we pray to Christ he not only hears us but reacts to us by answering our prayers, even if the answer is no he still reacts by answering us. No wonder people struggle to believe this. Ultimately, when serving another god, you subconsciously know they are dead so you still are not ultimately having to surrender your life to that god. It is just AWESOME that we get to surrender ourselves to a living, breathing, just, and loving God. That gets me SO pumped for sure! That kind of God makes all my petty problems i was focusing on seem dead in comparison.

Monday, May 23, 2011

His Grace

So this past week has been a whirl-wind, and I am sure all of you who have gone through senior year/ are going through it right now know exactly how I feel. My body just caught up with it all and I got really sick last night... not going into detail... It caused me to take today off of school and sit in bed and reflect. I went over all the past devotionals and it is just sooo amazing to look back on my notes from training weekend and now realizing that this weekend is our retreat. One verse that has consistently jumped out to me, maybe because it is the only red in 2 Corinthians, but anywho... verse 12:9. It talks about how God's power is made perfect in our weakness.

I don't know about any of you, but I have so many weaknesses. Chocolate ice-cream, coffee, and warm cookies... but on a more serious note, I really struggle with a lot and I always feel so weak before God. Especially this morning as I write, my body is weak and tired, but God's perfect power has brought me sufficient grace in this day.

Wishing you all a restful and beautiful week with the knowledge that God's grace is sufficient and His power perfect in your weakness.

passion and meaning

Here is another one from a couple weeks ago.

passion and meaning.

1 Cor. 6:19

This hits me so deep. I am a walking example of this scripture. Whenever I am walking diligently with the lord and exuding his passion my life has such meaning. Everything I do oozes purpose, and I can fail at nothing, but when I turn from him and try to do it on my own I drown in my own feelings of uselessness. You would think that after doing this once I would learn my lesson and not repeat, but without fail I find my way back to my same old mistakes and I’m sure God is just shaking his head and laughing. If he were to say something to me it would probably sound a little like “alright, I’ll be here to clean up after you’ve done your best my bullheaded child..” I am given constant reminders of this throughout my days that usually only get realized in hindsight. Here is one of my favorite small-scale examples, in laymen’s terms, that was smacking me in the head as I read this.

When I play a piece on the piano it takes a life of its own when I have some emotional meaning or story that I can convey through it. If I don’t have that emotion driving the piece, without fail, it seems lifeless and dead. Something like a zombie, moving and existing but not alive. It makes it so much harder to learn a piece when I cannot convey my feelings through it. Without meaning it is impossible to push myself to work on it. When I can add that passion the piece comes alive and thrives.

Now this might be a stretch, but the connection is there, in my mind. My life with Christ is a song with emotion, and my life without, a zombie.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wednesday hit like a ton of bricks.

Mental paralysis and inactivity stem from fear. You hesitate to form your decision because you fear making a mistake. Decisions always precipitate activity. If your decisions are paralyzed by fear, your activity diminishes... When you can remember that your life is otherwise lifeless without Christ, you enhance your ability to take on great risks with boldness and confidence... You begin to dwell in a new way on the threshold of the incredible call He has placed on your life, which is to love the LORD your God with all your heart, mind, and strength. (Yes, even when it means mistakes, and failure, and being misunderstood, and late nights, and long anchoring jobs, and endlessly pursuing junior high and high schoolers.)

The call Christ has placed on each of our lives is incredible! We talk about being "called" to people, places, professions, volunteer staff positions, etc. But Christ has called us to so much more than "just" being on staff with Sonshine this summer, or attending the college of our choice in the fall, or being a student, nurse, engineer, musician, fill in the blank... The ultimate call is to Jesus himself, to love Yahweh our God with every aspect of our beings! Yikes!

I really needed this reminder and encouragement on Wednesday, because that mental paralysis has been far too familiar to me in the past week. It's been a bummer to let Satan steal so much of my joy. But with each new morning, I have the chance to let my life for those 24 hours be not about my fear, mistakes, and discouragement... but rather to let it be about letting Christ and his death on the cross infuse my otherwise lifeless body with his life! Then and only then can I truly be bold, un-self-conscious and fearless in my pursuit of his call on my life: to love him with all of my heart, mind, and strength.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Well, to start off, I just wanted to say that I'm so sorry for not posting in a while. My life has been consumed with getting things ready for graduation; it's a lot to take in. So I just wanted to apologize. (:

Things have been really crazy and I can feel the enemy trying to bring me down. With the summer coming up so fast, it's taking me by surprise how soon houseboating is going to be here. I know that the enemy is because every now and then I'll start asking myself, "do I really want to do this?" "It's going to be so hard, it's not worth it." This is not me what so ever, so I know the enemy is trying to get me to back out of this, which I won't. I wanted to share this because we're doing something wonderful for Christ and the enemy see's that. He wants to destroy God's ministry but I want us to keep on pushing harder. The enemy won't win this one. So if any of you are having these same thoughts, don't listen to them and seek God. You're not the only one in this.

God has a great plan for our lives and I know I'm excited to find out! (:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

WWF Jesus Style

"I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." (Galatians 2:20)

Until you drink His cup of judgment and mercy which simultaneously destroys and remakes you, you will be haunted in varying degrees by a lack of fulfillment and meaning.

It took me a minute to figure out the connection between the reading in Genesis and the blurb on Galatians 2:20. And then I realized that Genesis 32 is an instruction manual for bring about the reality of Galatians 2:20. How do we become a new creation? Allow Him to rename us and reshape us!

Jacob wrested with YHWH - no, it's even better than that. He wrestled with A MAN. He wrestled with Jesus! And Jesus renamed him during that experience, even because of that experience. I always have to be reminded that it's ok to wrestle with God. When Jacob asks to know His name, there is no reply, and yet, there is no doubt in his mind that He had encountered the living God - YHWH - face to face. When we encounter God, we are renamed.

Sometimes though, we resist the transformation - and I think that's ok. That's what make the experience so real and tangible for us. But because of that, sometimes He cripples us. Like Jacob, he touches our hip and dislocates it so that we stop striving and submit to Him. We're like a little kid fighting and protesting in our Father's arms as we get carried up the stairs to bed. We're not quite ready to stop playing yet, but as soon as we get tucked in and our heads hit the pillow, we calm right down, because we're so tired anyway! We realize it's what we've wanted and needed all along, and we submit. Even when He breaks us down, He's gentle.

The important thing is that when we leave, we are never the same. Jacob sought to know God personally and intimately through this experience: "Please tell me your name" (v29) - and because of that, he was blessed - even though He never got an answer. Sometimes we don't get direct answers for the questions that arise, but God always blesses us in the process. What's important is that we seek Him and submit to Him, and the rest is just details.

Surrender and be renamed!

"Cease striving and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)

Monday, May 16, 2011

We're Messed Up. Embrace it.

Today's message was refreshing. I love that in our weaknesses we are strong! It's encouraging to know that God reveals Himself the most when we're at our lowest points. It reminds me to be real and that I don't have to be perfect all the time or try to portray that. God loves me for me. Also, I REALLLY liked what Emily said. Guys, it's sooo hard to not naturally judge people. So many of these campers this summer, though, probably aren't the coolest people in school or necessarily the most outgoing. They're all going to be on the water for the same reason, though, all to get to know our Lord, which is so cool! We need to be unbiased and love on all of the campers as much as we possibly can. I'll need to shake that "judging a book by its cover" attitude out of me as well! We'll need to hold each other accountable. I'm so excited for Memorial Day weekend, guys ;)

Saturday, May 14, 2011


So I'm in the midst of finals week. This week has always managed to challenge my faith and identity in the Christ. Usually I let my pride win this challenge. Raised my teachers, education has always been a priority for me, and I think that has been an incredible blessing. I love school, and I'm not too bad at it. So it's become my thing. By thing, I mean my whole dang identity.

Good grades have become my focus and priority. They have secured me a good college and a good scholarship. They've earned me respect from people. They have fed my pride like crazy. They have been my source of confidence and often happiness. They have been a reassurance that my parents are proud of me (no matter how many times they tell me they are proud of me for many other reasons). Good grades are my security blanket.

When I get to Heaven and I'm before the God of the universe, I don't think he's going to say, "I'm so happy you got that A in pathophysiology." And that A isn't helping anyone else share that eternity with me or have the peace of God here on earth. In the scheme of eternity, that A seems so, so, so insignificant. Laughable.

We all have our thing. Humor, beauty, other relationships, sports. We have our security blanket that are so insignificant when you look at eternity and the life God calls us to lead. So here is to embracing Bs and not having panic attacks. I know for some people this is ridiculous. In fact, for most my friends it is so dang dumb that I freak out over Bs. But for the people that know me, they get what it is for me. And I know God gets it. Which is why he's challenging me to hand my security blanket to him.

Maybe this finals week, Jesus will win.

The Image of God

This is unrelated to the week's devotional, but it's been heavy on my heart for the last 36 hours. I had a unique experience at the hospital yesterday that got me thinking about the preciousness of each life created in God's image. And then I left the hospital and spent time in the company of a teenager that further burdened me to grasp for myself and then affirm in others "the IOG" as I affectionately call it. I've been very burdened by the weight of two things: 1) the unfathomable blessing of being created in God's image, and 2) the incredible opportunity we have this summer to affirm the value and worth of every individual we encounter this summer because of the blessing of being created to reflect the Creator.

Please, please, please don't take this opportunity lightly.

Every single life is incredibly precious, regardless of age or appearance or functional capability or popularity on a junior high or high school campus. Doesn't that last qualification even just soundridiculous?! And yet so many of the students we encounter on the water are dying to have someone affirm value and worth in them. The more you and I can grasp that at our deepest core, we have value and worth if for no other reason than because we bear the image of the God of the universe, the more authentically we can communicate that truth to those around us. And that truth makes all the difference in the world.

You've heard it a hundred times, and you'll hear it a hundred more: Befriend campers with the love of Christ. Encourage a Biblical self-awareness. Model a Christ-centered lifestyle. And challenge campers to a deeper Christian commitment.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

This Sunday in church, my pastor said something that I thought was so cool. He read John 17:20 for us, which says, "I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message." He said that this means that 2000 years ago Jesus prayed specifically for me because He knew that I would believe in Him. It is so amazing to know that my Savior loved me so much 2000 or so years before I was born that He would pray just for me, and for all others who believe in Him. It's kinda crazy, huh?

Hope you have all been well! Can't wait to see you all in 17 days!

The Discipline of Filling

"The more you focus on your Creator's fullness, the more you perceive your own emptiness."

I'm always trying to fill myself up with things that I know won't satisfy. I need to let Him fill me up. the only appropriate response to my emptiness is to let the only one who can satisfy do the filling. My natural response it to hide my emptiness in shame by trying to fill it myself. When I respond first to my emptiness, I hide. When I respond first to HIS fullness, I'm filled first with awe and then with acceptance.

I think it surprised me at first that this section on filling would go under discipline, but I realized it makes perfect sense. It's a daily discipline to combat my desire to fill myself with what I know to be true - only God can fill the voids and repair my brokenness!

Father, fill me. I don't want to use other things to fill me up, not these artificial things. Only You can satisfy me Lord. Give us this day our daily bread.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Hey guys!!!

so my name is Thomas Yang and
I can't even begin to tell you HOW. INCREDIBLY. STOKED! I AM! to be doing sonshine this summer! I was praying for quite a bit about my summer and God has just really been amazing in offering me this opportunity to serve the kids with you guys!

So just a little bit about myself, I am currently studying engineering at UC Davis, and I graduated from Granite Bay High school, which is a city maybe around half an hour north of sacramento. I really lovee playing soccer (and pretty much any other sport too, really), and I also like to sometimes just hang and jam with friends on the keys or guitar too. Hmm....I don't really know what else to say...i guess maybe an interesting fact about me is that I just throw vegetables and fruits into a blender, press the button, and (thanks to my mom) have made a habit of drinking these interesting-tasting smoothies on a daily basis. :D

Oh and definitely add me on facebook at ! (yeah interesting url)

Looking forward to Memorial Day weekend to meet all of you!

Luke 11:1-44

Luke 11:23 "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters."

It is not enough to have been converted. Are you completely committed to Jesus of Nazareth?

One way that we keep from scattering is through prayer. "Lord, teach us to pray." We have probably heard or inferred that we will suffer if we do not pray; Hmm...perhaps. I think what really suffers is the life of the Son of God in us which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. We can either starve that life or nourish it. Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished. Often we look at prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.

Luke 11:8 "I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. "

As long as we are self-sufficient, we do not need to ask God for anything. This was never made clearer to me than when I was lying in bed a few months ago and I was praying for healing from a physical ailment. I remember telling God, "God, I am going to be asking You for a lot in these next few weeks and months. And some of those things might be little , and even silly....but I'm going to ask you anyway." Immediately, I sensed God saying, "FINALLY, Nina! Finally you are relying on Me for your every need." Wow. Did not Jesus say, "Give us this day our DAILY bread?" Every day, every need, every request...bring before Him.

It is not so true that "prayer changes things" as that prayer changes us.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Hello Ladies and Gentlemen!I just wanted to introduce myself, I'm New my name is Cody. Man and I gotta say, my morning started out kinda slow until i started reading your guys's posts, and wow you guys get me excited! Im totally stoked to meet all of you over Memorial day weekend it will be awesome... As i read your guys's posts I was jus thinking today about how finals are stressin me out and it feels as though I have been like sprinting hard all semester, especially lately with finals and such, and it feels like i cant go any farther and after reading your posts i got the feeling that some of you may be feeling the same. I jus wanted to offer a word of encouragement to you guys, that of this past week has been encouraging to is that in our successes and failures in life, in our greatest moments and in our worst, if we fail a final or pass a final, it is not about how we do in life but it is about how Jesus did on our behalf. Because of that, we can live life knowing that,"of first importance" in our lives is that we can stand in our faith in Jesus Christ. What a relieving thought. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

John 15:9-17

This morning, I was struck by a new aspect of John 15 that I hadn't noticed before. The devotional passage starts at v. 9, which I thought was weird because it's not the start of a paragraph or a new section of ideas... what is interesting, though, is that it is the first time that Jesus makes reference to the love relationship he has with his disciples (and us), which he then expands upon through the end of v. 17. So he talks all about how the Father loves him, and how with that same love he loves us (which, sidenote, what the heck!? that is some intense love we are talking about!) And then he moves on in v. 12 and gives the command to love each other as he has loved us, which is the same way that God loves him. again... intense levels of love being discussed! And then, the triple-whammy of it is that he says, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." and then he goes on to talk about how he no longer calls the disciples (us) slaves, but that he calls them (us) friends. Friends! Not only is that an incredible level of intimacy with the Creator of the world who is also the King of kings and Lord of lords, but he calls us friends RIGHT after he says that the most incredible love one can manifest is to lay down one's life for said friends. The obvious implication is that Christ has done this for us... He shows us the greatest love by laying down his life for his friends (us). BUT... what about the reverse? Usually we don't refer to someone as our "friend" unless they would similarly view us as a "friend"... Few of us would say, "Oh yeah, that girl Pearl? She is my good friend, but I'm not her friend. She doesn't like me much." Right? So... is the implication, then, that not only am I Jesus' friend, but Jesus is my friend? I think it is. Which must mean, then, that greater love has no one than this: that I would lay down MY life for my friend JESUS. Instead of the one-way street of him only laying down his life for me. Woah. That one hit me like a ton of bricks. I mean, we talk about crucifying our old selves and we talk about losing our life in finding it and all that stuff, but I just was struck today at how it's like, wait a second, laying down my life for Jesus is the NATURAL RESPONSE to him being my friend. I do it to demonstrate my love for him. Granted, it (probably) doesn't look like being crucified on Calvary... that is a one-way street. But daily I am faced with hundreds of mini Calvary's where I have the opportunity to lay down my life out of the love I have for my friend Jesus. Anyway, I don't know how intelligible all of that was, now that I've typed it all out. But it was a cool realization in my morning quiet time today. Now if only I could work up the courage and proper perspective of Jesus, myself, and others to actually lay down my life on all those little Calvary's... :-/

As for the rest of the team, I hope you guys are hanging in there and keeping good perspective. Know that I am praying for those of you who are feeling the crunch of AP testing, impending finals, etc. Remember, too, that as YOU stress out and pray for yourselves, you can be praying for the other members of the team who are in a similar spot. Stay diligent in your times with Jesus... the hectic times are the times when we most need the constant re-focusing on who Christ is and what he's done!

And last but not least (sorry so long!), I have some exciting news... Welcome THOMAS YANG to the team!! Thomas is a student at UC Davis and will be serving during first session. Get excited for Memorial Day Weekend - it will be an awesome chance to meet some of the awesome additions to the Sonshine team and to reconnect with the other cool people you met at training in March!

3 1/2 weeks until Memorial Day (and to raise RJW support)!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I really liked Thursday's devotional and how it said that by spending time in God's word we build a foundation in it so that God can then build the 13 characteristics of Luke 6:20-45 in us. I thought this was so true, because if we don't spend any time in the word of God, how are we supposed to learn about and grow in those characteristics?

I hope that everybody's week has been great and I wish everybody the best on luck on AP tests and the end of the school year! Love you all and I can't wait to see you in 26 days!