“But just as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him’.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
By Your hand You chose 26 of us to come together at WJI. You let us cling to You around our tables in Dordt University’s student center during that first pizza dinner. But our insecurities began to silence as we introduced ourselves in our accents from all across the country, each person wondering where You were taking us, and where were we going together.
Our degrees titled us as accountants and musicians, creative writers and lawyers, journalists and scientists. But with a blank notebook and pen in hand, You sent all of us into an unknown: the Orange City Tulip Festival. Our only mission was to tell a story: Your story.
We were instructed to be curious. Listen. Ask questions. Have courage. Be limited. Capture conflict. Smell. Find a face. Encourage each other.
You tested our D.Q. (determination quotient) as we stayed up late putting our first stories together, and again after receiving feedback. But in these mistakes is where You believed in us most. You are to be glorified with excellent work, and You believed in WJI to make our work as excellent as possible in order to do so.
This meant for the next 2 weeks, no detail of our training in journalism went unnoticed. We learned how to raise our hands to get called on in a press conference. How to look credible conducting research. Consider the protagonist/antagonist/mission/obstacles of a story. Read a script holding the tongue out before delivering a podcast. Avoid unnecessary jargon. Ask what color the couch is an interview. Get quotes but don’t let the quotes shape the story. Use a tripod for shooting. Keep audio levels below the redline. Look for back light, fill light, key light.
You drew us nearer to You in this pursuit of excellence because of how You brought us together. Meals filled with more laughter than eating, and singing hymns at church or around a campfire gave us rest. Walking to and from classes sharing how we were being challenged spiritually, or what challenges in our projects we had overcome, made us a team.
Story after story we practiced excellence, and the more we recognized each one as Yours, the more we fell in love with telling them. But each one of us as writers also revealed something about You none of our eyes had even seen, our ears ever heard, our hearts ever felt before WJI. As in the stories You brought us here to tell, we ourselves are details revealing Your story of Christ’s excellent work.
Even though we separate tomorrow, I pray we may continue to approach all we have not seen, heard, or felt, knowing it has been prepared for us by You. As we are edified may we stay curious, humbly seek Your mercy, and may You be most glorified.
- Lillian Hamman