I feel like I grew in confidence, and that I can feel more comfortable approaching people about Christ. My eyes were opened to how broad photography actually is, and how to improve in a lot of different areas. The trip to Letchworth was breathtaking; overall the whole week was a blast.
I rediscovered how good and amazing God is. He reminded me that He's writing my story and all I have to do is listen to His voice and trust Him. I also really enjoyed Ginny Owens and Dan Schwabauer. They were really inspiring and I loved how they taught through stories. It helped to receive many different outlines for building character and plot. I took so many notes!
I saw how important it is to pray over your week and ask for God's help. I felt that God was really here, more than I have anywhere else.
Before the Guild I felt pointless. God turned me inside out and backwards and taught me that I wasn't pointless. Just useless because I wouldn't let Him use me. I was introduced to an art field that terrified me before. I'm only slightly less terrified now, but I'm not running any more, just skittishly facing toward it now. I loved watching the play and the horse puppet. Watching that puppet changed my life and understanding of what art should be.
I realized God is the ultimate director of our lives and going our own way ends in calamity one way or another. I also learned that motivation follows discipline.
Devotionals and keynotes were wonderful, challenging, and encouraging. Many principles were learned that bring illumination to my spiritual life. I loved how Dan taught on the principles of writing rather than giving simple "encouragement"; it was challenging but also gave direction. I crave this kind of keynote speaker that focuses more on the theory of our craft instead of just fun and exciting. I learned so much about writing and storytelling in general. The theatre group was also exemplary.
Experiencing God as a Father to a son relationship was fresh and new for me. Story structure and techniques of writing definitely gave me clear boundaries for different stories. I also learned a lot about working with others in the process. I had favorite moments so I can't choose one!
I learned that if you have faith, God will provide. I'm still learning to have faith. Colin Smith's keynote was amazing because he talked about femininity/masculinity and how they are so distorted in our culture.
The Lord spoke joy into my heart, deeply and richly, in myriad ways that my feeble words are inadequate to express. The pace challenged my flesh, but God encouraged my spirit and gave me a glimpse of what the church could be if it would humbly and wholeheartedly pursue beauty and truth and excellence for His glory! I learned that my empathic nature, which leads me to become emotionally entrenched in story and character, can be channeled to express His truth in stillness or powerful purpose as well as in expressiveness abounding.
Oh, the agony of choice to pick a favorite moment! So much richness here... perhaps it was watching, feeling, participating in the growth, enjoyment, development, and revelation my son Caleb experienced. And the play. And the food. And all the speakers. And the staff... the teachers... Mark... Kindred spirits :) I delighted in watching the children expand in knowledge and experience. Their exuberance was infectious.
I grew primarily in my prayer life. Thank you so much Mr. Hamby for encouraging all of us in that area. I also loved Dan Schwabauer's teaching. It was relevant to my interests and he's an amazing speaker. I loved hearing about story from a Christian perspective. Understanding the structure of a story. The parts that a good story needs and keeping it logical.
I feel like my eyes have been opened to so much. I have been a Christian since I was nine, but He is showing me He has new "names" to give me and my family. I have seen myself more clearly through His Word. So excited for what He has ahead. Dan's sessions about story were absolutely amazing. They have revolutionized how I think about story and how I will approach creating stories in the future. I learned principles of story, how to stretch myself beyond what I thought I was able, and how to give my all for the glory of God.
I began to understand beauty in story and performance, and the glorification of God through it. Also the power of prayer and its accessibility at all times.
Scripture came alive more this week, thanks to Colin. He has a special gift for digging deep and giving practical life examples we can apply to everyday life. I enjoyed both the devotionals in the morning and the Ginny Owens concert. She is an inspiration both musically as well as being an overcomer. I didn't do a creative art, but I did get inspiration to pray in all things throughout the creative process. I design products and just being aware of your surroundings helps! I also enjoyed spending time over meals, during our bible study time, and even the chats in our bedrooms in the mornings and evenings.
The first three days of the Guild were very difficult for me, emotionally and spiritually. I struggled with doubt quite a bit, wondering if God would really come through. But He did. He answered a specific, personal prayer of mine, and in many different ways as we wrote our scripts and just went through the Guild. I didn't feel as dramatic of a breakthrough as I was hoping for, but I know God is accomplishing His purpose. He blessed me in unexpected ways. I really liked Dan's keynote. I very much appreciated the clarity, simplicity, and interest of his sessions, and the interest he took in our projects. I think that the practical steps given for writing will be very helpful. Also, it is inspiring to be around people motivated to excellence for the glory of God.
I learned to trust God with absolutely everything, even the impossible! For nothing is impossible with God! I also learned to live lives that are contributing to a team rather than our own benefit. I was humbled (like majorly). I loved Ginny Owens' Thursday morning keynote. She was so happy and trusting of God all the time and her perspective on life inspired me to trust God more. I learned a lot! I had no earthly idea how to stage act but Nicole and Noah Stratton took me to levels I've never thought possible. My favorite part was meeting all the new people I did and basically how we all became like a family seeking to bring God glory through creative arts.
I was encouraged by the teachers and Ginny Owens to have a real, conversational friendship with God. Oftentimes as Christians we slip into the "Dear God, thank you for this wonderful day, bless my sleep and help me to serve you tomorrow," while what we really need to be seeking is a relationship where we express our failures and faults, our need for God, our heart's desires and our longing for his forgiveness. Also, I was made to think a lot about what true faith really means. What a faith is that allows me to act instead of cowering in the fear of failure. I've been trying to work and act those things out this week. Obviously we all fall and experience failures, but I'm so grateful for what I have learned from this past week and am absolutely certain I'll never see the world the same again. Zac from Logos had a talk with some of us kids after lunch one day that has changed my view of my heart and what it means to be fully impacted by what we consume in media, have as our habits and take time to think about. Zac compared us to waffles and pancakes. We often think of our souls like a waffle, capable of being filled with nothing or goodness, but in reality we can't fill just half of our heart and leave the rest alone. An empty place will be encroached upon by evil or good, depending on what we saturate ourselves in. We are like pancakes, being fully covered in what we take the time to pursue. If we stumble in one area, that will spread to the rest of our lives and a bad movie watching habit will affect our language, theology, appetite and graciousness. Like James says: one little sin makes us accountable to the whole law.
I would have to say that I enjoyed almost all the sessions in the same way... But before John Rhys-Davis' session, Nicole from Logos was able to give us a short encouragement and the gospel, and THAT was my favorite part. As a Christian in the arts, I think Nicole understood what we would be going through in glorifying God through our art, and what we needed to hear.
I think that I grew most in the area of working together as a team. As an artist in the painting/drawing arena, I usually work by myself and make decisions based off of my preferences. Working with a group of girls to make those decisions stretched me and helped me to understand how to be considerate of other's opinions. Morning devotions with Mr. Hamby were absolutely incredible. He brought to the table many things I'd never thought about before, and showed us a connection to the scripture that I want to strive to have. The times of singing and worshiping together as believers were absolutely incredible, especially at Letchworth. I guess I would say that I appreciated being encouraged as a Christian in the arts more than taking the classes for the specific arts.
I was reminded that all the love, grace, and mercy God freely gives to us is the greatest thing in this world. He’s given us gifts and talents that we should utilize and give back to Him. We can express His majesty to the world through our skills and use them to proclaim His excellence and glory! We should cherish it, prioritize it, and make Him the thing our lives revolve around. This week was a refresher course on that. I’m so grateful for the reminder.
My favorite keynote was Wednesday morning with Mr. Hamby. I loved how he broke down the scriptures and even words. He would tell a deeper meaning of them. The stories he told during the devotions, the love he displayed for God, and the wisdom he gave during that time was truly remarkable.
I had to completely reevaluate how I approach a character and how I portray them to the audience. You're communicating a message that you are accountable for every time you're onstage. With that responsibility, you should take it seriously and do everything in reflection of Him, the greatest communicator. I was also stretched in areas such as dancing, battle choreography, hair and makeup, and many more things behind the scenes.
The guild is a very spiritually focused week and I feel so refreshed afterward. I also have a desire to grow in the Knowledge of God and experience His fullness! I really enjoyed the morning devotion times. There wasn’t a specific one that stuck out, but really the passion Mr. Hamby has for the Lord and His work. I also feel like I better understand the reason why it isn’t so important to be able to act well. Rather than the audience seeing a good actor, they need to see a real person, a true character. That was so interesting to me! My favorite part was all the people I got to meet. I made some really good friends and people I believe will be close friends to me in the future. It was an amazing week!
I learned how to rely on God to get me through situations; not relying on my family, friends, or even myself. It was a good way to learn about independence but independence with God. Visual arts is not an art where you work with others very often. When you want to change something in your painting you just change it. When we were working on the mural you couldn't just change something, you had to interact with all of the other students and you had to make compromises. It was very hard to get used to but in the end it helped all of us grow. It forced me to paint in ways I never would have tried before. In the end I think I learned more about my artistic style this past week than I have in the past few months. My favorite part of the week was the trip to Letchworth. It was so amazingly beautiful up there. When I looked out over the water all I could think of was the force of the water. Water is so powerful it can literally change the face of the earth but it still is nothing in comparison to our God. He made the water with all of its power but he also made it with the power to sustain life. God is both powerful and vital for our life. Even the rocks and the trees declare the glory of God.
I learned to love, appreciate and work with Christians of all types and their art-styles. I learned that I need people, work and beauty to battle depression and demonic oppression. I learned the importance of making people feel comfortable. I loved Daniel Schwabauer's session especially (Although they all were inspiring in one way or another). Besides having a previous connection with his program (which may have made me slightly biased) I appreciated his humble spirit and unique insight into writing. I also had never realized that the scripture he quoted actually supported something I have believed (or tried to believe) for a long time; that stories for unbelievers should hide their true meaning to provoke their searching. I learned how much I enjoyed the precision and process of theatre. I also saw the different yet equal importance of cinema to show angles and expressions, something which theatre cannot do as precisely. I learned to push myself more and that I can survive the adrenaline rush of being under-prepared in a stage production! I also learned lots of invaluable insight about acting (stage or otherwise); half-step turns, thought before emotion, etc.
The mentors and students were a breath of fresh air because of their love of the Lord, strong passion to do His will, and relationship with Him. It encouraged me to live that in my own life. They have been the continuous example for me to improve my life, especially in growing in my relationship with God and reading His Word. My favorite keynote was Colin Smith's talk on Esther. I loved it! I love finding out new things about the Bible and his talk totally changes my perspective on the whole book! I learned a new meaning of the arts through the classes I took. The stage is not just a place to show off your talents, it's to communicate a message to the people as a team for the Lord. Nicole taught me so much too on basic stage and theater acting techniques!
Throughout the week of learning to glorify God through the arts, and I encountered my Savior on a level that I felt I never had before. He opened my eyes to the abundance of His love which spoke to my fearful heart and reminded me that I can trust Him as I walk through the valleys of life. When difficulties come in my life, I felt like I greatly lacked trust that He was watching over me. I have never been more wrong. Through it all, even in the moments when my doubts determined to snuff out any candle of hope in this dark world, He was there. And through the instruction, care, fellowship, and guidance of those at the Guild, God revealed so much to me. And I will never be the same because of it.
Going back to the basics with Daniel Schwabauer in scriptwriting was precisely what I needed. To understand the key elements of story and to apply them helped me to develop a better viewpoint as to how I ought to be constructing my stories. Words fall short when it comes to describing how wonderful it was to be taught by Mr. Schwabauer. He is amazing!
It is extremely difficult to pinpoint any specific time during the week as my favorite because it was all extraordinary and enriching. But if I had to choose, I would say the last night of the guild when many of us stood outside the church and lifted up praise to the Lord by singing beautiful hymns. It reminded me of what we can look forward to as brothers and sisters in Christ—an eternity of being together in heaven, forever praising our God and Savior.
The Lamplighter Guild is an extraordinary experience. God is using the ministry at Lamplighter to reach into the hearts of many. I have learned a wealth of knowledge about how I can use what gifts the Lord has bestowed upon me to bring glory to His name. I have grown in my walk with the Lord in ways I never expected; the light of His love dawned in my heart a greater desire to honor and trust Him as I seek His will for my life. I cannot thank those at the Guild enough for their kindness, love, and encouragement.