Meet the Author's Author

Meet the Author's Author
Live for Jesus! That's what matters! That you see the light in me and come along! :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

About OYAN...

It is so hard to express what this week has meant to me, that I'm going to post up a blog post from a note on Facebook, written by my brother Miguel, and a link to another written by my twin sister, Kiehl.
I know...cop-out. ;) Please, please read them.

And for what is in my heart regarding OYAN?

And when the Spirit of God is in so many of us in one heart, one mind and one goal...then let there be LIGHT. And there will be dynamite. #OYAN

I had to laugh tonight when someone told me that OYAN's focus on "religion" was "a big flaw", and "undermined OYAN's value." Oh. My. Days.
How can people be so blind...? How can they not see that we would never be so bonded if it weren't for the love of Christ? How can I express the frustration I feel as I remember that 1 hr 45 mins prayer meeting on the last night, and how God moved in and through and united and calmed us and gave us that vision for the future?

From Heaven to Earth
by Miguel Flores on Sunday, 24 June 2012 at 23:53 ·

Every goodbye is a new hello. After seeing your faces and hearing your voices, I felt as if my heart were about to be shattered to pieces. I knew the week would be hard--I guess I lied to myself that it wouldn't, like a good handful of you--but now that the moment had come, things were much harder than I even thought possible. However, this violent shaking inside of me did not happen because I felt like my heart would crack from grief, but because I felt such an overflow of love and joy, such peace and contentment and... longing.

It was a feeling that had started from day one, when I first shuffled through glass doors into crowded room full of both familiar and unfamiliar faces--every face was beautiful though; every face was precious. I wished I could breathe in the wonder of the moment. If I had anything to compare heaven to, well perhaps this was it. If home is where the heart was, then my heart had found its home.

The motto this year was "bigger on the inside", and I believe that was applicable in so many, many different ways. Mere words cannot grasp the glory of the moment, so thankfully words aren't the only thing represented. Words that hold power, that hold grace, that hold purpose. Words may look small, but they're bigger on the inside. And, so are their wielders.

In that room and throughout that week, I caught glimpses of a hundred seventy-four wonderful faces, wonderful lives, and such wonderful, personal stories. Don't ever think you're "just" a person; with God on your side, you're so much bigger on the inside. With God on your side, you can go from David the young shepherd to David the giant slayer. With God on your side, little lamb, you can send the wolves running and make the dragon tremble. Just the thought warms my heart, and a fire provokes my spirit when I think of how powerfully God can use you.

As I reconnected with old friends and established relationships with new ones, it was a great comfort to me that we are a family. I honestly don't care if you want to call it a community, curriculum, or whatever; it is a family. And not just because we feel comfortable with an auditorium full of other freakishly, weird people who happen to like writing and other "ridiculous" things. We're a family because we are adopted--adopted by a wonderful, glorious God. And especially, I love Star's heartfelt prayer during the last day of the Workshop: "thank you for the OYAN church." There was something more than just a tightly-knit group of people this past week; there was a life breathed into everyone, and that life was so precious.

The first official day of the Workshop did give me shivers, however; I cannot lie. Mostly it was leading a critique where I didn't actually really know all of the members and, to be honest, they didn't exactly know me all that well either. But good Lord was I glad that I had gotten this group. Their writing truly astounded me and many times I felt like I was the one learning the most from them--even if I hadn't brought excerpts the whole time. Thanks, Ravens and to our toothy apple for the amazing experience; I am so looking forward to keeping in touch with the lot of your awesome and sometimes weird faces.

Strangely, the second day became more of a step-out day. I met so many people I never even knew about and, by the end of the week, was able to consider these people very good friends--even when they made my mind explode with odd situations involving spandex, grand philosophical schemes for turtles, or just had a "normal" conversation involving our favorite movies and stories--as well as how bloody, violent, and generally disturbing they could be. We also got the chance to hear from Jeff Gerke, who we heard from many times throughout the week. His humor and vast knowledge fit well hand in hand and I find myself wondering if he isn't some covert OYAN ninja who stalks the forum. The end of the second day was bittersweet, however, as a realization came upon me that the week was already halfway taken away.

The third day was then more-so bitter, but also marvelous. This time I tried to do my best to talk to the lovely siblings and buddies I hadn't gotten much of a chance to hang out with so far. It was good to be able to see so many of them again--how much they'd grown... or hadn't--and it was wonderful to simply listen to them or reenact awkard fight scenes in the grassy knoll or write deviously terrible stories that would end in a healthy amount of all-around confusion.

And, lest I ever be shamed to not mention him: Mark Wilson. The Workshop would have been perfect if only it did have pictures of Professor Wilson's face plastered over all the walls. In simpler words, he is awesome, epic, and needs a new car apparently.

Yes, the week was beautiful, in every sense of that word and beyond every meaning that we've tried to label it with. It's hard to capture such a wonderful picture in mere words, hard to capture such a brief moment even if I had all of this next year to rebuild the memory; and so, I will not even try. I will remember, and I will smile as the memories come, but I will not try to hold the memory too close because I know that this is only just another stepping stone for bigger and more beautiful things to follow.

Now I can't lie. I did have a few regrets, mostly because I wasn't able to talk to some of the people I wanted to. There were so many people this year, which really is just a testament to how much God has blessed this amazing group of people, but there was such an overwhelming number of people. I sincerely wish I could just pick you all up, stick you into the TARDIS, and whisk all ya'll away to some unclaimed island where we'd set up a castle reminiscent of Cair Paravel. For serious. But, that's not going to happen, so I'll have to settle for the better thing of seeing all your faces in a later life where we will sing songs to God's name and in His presence.

That day isn't here yet, though; we're still in the war. And so we still feel hurt... but we also feel love. There is no greater power, and no greater way I can express it other than I love you guys. One of the things that touched me most, I believe, was hearing all the "student speeches" and seeing, and remembering, how every one person touches another--even when they don't realize it. We all have stories, written and/or lived, and those stories do touch lives. If I ever wanted any of you to remember something, that single truth would be it: don't stop letting God use you, because you do touch lives. He uses you all through your brokenness, He speaks through your words, He loves through your lives.

The last day showed me this in all its encompassing glory, and it is from that last day that I got the title for this lengthy letter. When I was able to talk with my friends on the curb of a road and simply share and experience the joy and wonder of such an overhwelming week, and then when we were able to simply bow our heads and pray, I saw a little bit of heaven. I saw just a little bit of heaven in your faces when I looked up. When I saw the large body of believers kneeled down, and heard the many voices singing the heartfelt melody of Amazing Grace, I felt the very presence of Love.

And now we're back on earth, a place where the world will try to tell you that you're smaller than you really are, that your words don't mean anything, that your life is worthless, and that the very existence of God and life and love are nothing but dreams and shadows. Don't believe them. Because I've seen the effect you have on others, and the effect of a mighty God in the midst of broken vessels. If ever you are tempted to fall down into the darkness, remember the power of the light that cuts through. Remember that life is truly beautiful. Remember that love conquers all things. Remember, friends, that you are Loved.

And from the pen of Kiehl Gatley:

OYAN. So much more than a writing curriculum. Or a bunch of young people with a common interest. We're bonded together in soul, heart and spirit.
That is what OYAN is about. It far transcends the mere occupation of writing. It reaches into the souls, hearts and spirits of people - and that is where God dwells within.
And He will use us.

In Christ,
~Mademoiselle Siân