This was my definition of my first year of EC. Everything I planned on being/doing basically fell through the floor instantly on the third week of my first year.

First off, I almost decided not to do EC because I thought I was going right into ministry as soon as I walked out of high school. Little did I know that was not the case. I had a passion and zeal for outreach towards unfortunate people. I was set on interning at a homeless shelter in downtown Kalamazoo while working full time. I thought I had it all together. I was fresh out of high school, in a godly relationship, had amazing friends and had great opportunity in front of me.

In the last minutes of summer, Pastor Eric reached out to  me about EC. I had planned on actually doing it earlier in the year, around the time of UpClose Weekend, but a lot had happened up to that point and it was not going to happen. A week or so from that talk, God really woke me up.

It's like he saved me right on time! God knew my plans from start to finish, and I was blindsided by circumstances that I didn't plan on happening.  My plan for outreach ministry fell apart. The person I planned on interning under quit the day I went in to start.

It's a long story with lots of details. But I'll get right to the point, this past year was a year of adapting to my new lifestyle.  Joining the worship team, living the single life, living with 5 dudes in a discipleship program I wasn't going to do, and not doing what I planned on doing at all.

Sometimes we just need to be willing to stretch. We get so caught up in who we think we are, what we want and what we don't want to do, and it makes Gods voice gets very quiet.

So here's my encouragement to you incoming first years. Whatever life throws your way, and whatever leadership from Pastor Eric and Erica or Josh bring out of you, embrace it. It is not easy, and it can cut deep. When you are able to be shaped and molded, God creates in you His perfect will, and you become the real person you're called to be.

Be adaptable to this life changing experience. Ian Norlin