The First Week of Ellerslie

Thursday, June 8, 2017

It's kind of crazy that I've been here at Ellerslie for five days already! A lot has happened! On June 3rd I arrived at the Denver Airport, and was greeted by two of the sweet staff members: Kimberly and Sarah. I was so excited; it all felt so surreal! I had prayed and dreamed of this place for years, and at long last, it was happening! That morning, I rode the shuttle from the airport to Windsor; our drive included many beautiful mountain views! Not something I see in Michigan every day!! When we got to the campus, I was taken into my dorm room where I met my roommates: Sarah, Janetta, and later Heather. I am so thankful for each of these sweet ladies I have the privilege of living with! Sarah is a Practicum D2 student (which, in case you don't know, is one of the other, higher up, programs they have at Ellerslie). She's radiant, so thoughtful, and made me feel beyond welcome when I came in. Janetta is from Kansas, and loves Jesus so much. She has been such an inspiration to me; during almost every free time she can be found in His Word! And Heather is pretty wonderful too!! She has a sweet, quiet personality, and deeply, deeply cares for each person around her; she has encouraged me so much!

Jesus has really been drawing me closer to Himself through this time here. I can't completely describe it.... But one little song has a fragment into it:

"My heart responds with Holy, Holy!"

The first evening we had a picnic on the lawn by the dorms:

On Tuesday, they told us about the schedule of how we would be reading through the New Testament 2 times in these three months, and the other exciting assignments to be done!

It's seriously beautiful around here....

Just to confuse you, we'll jump backwards. On Sunday we had our campus tour:

My tour group :)

Then we had our ID photos taken:

Here are a few common sights for the Ellerslie student:

Banquet night was so wonderful! We got to meet all our teachers and hear more about the vision behind Ellerslie:

Coffee House 29 is a GREAT place to go, if you're ever in Windsor. I've already been there twice!

[I know right about now you're thinking how you should come to Ellerslie too! You should click here and totally go yourself....]

Ellerslie: His Perfect Provision

Saturday, June 3, 2017

It's like a dream. Today by noon I'll officially be an Ellerslie student. I'm feeling so expectant, excited, joy-filled, and totally over the moon. There aren't words for this feeling!

"So what exactly is Ellerslie?" People have been asking me this question lately. If you had asked me a few years ago, I would have had no idea. On a winter day, half way through middle school, I was looking through some of Bright Light's recommended resources in their online store, and as I looked through many different titles, I came across this unique name: Ludy. "What is this?" I asked myself. I looked at some of the reviews, and noticed that some people raved over their books, while others were extreme critics. I was intrigued by the sound of the book "The Lost Art of True Beauty," and read it shortly after. It wasn't until I brought it home from the library that I realized that I had read one of their other books before: "When God Writes Your Love Story." To be fully honest, I tend to hate books (I've never been a huge reader...). But "The Lost Art of True Beauty" had me rushing home from the events of the day just to read one more page. My life was greatly impacted by that book. Eventually I found their online magazine "Setapartgirl" where I saw an ad for Ellerslie.

Just that week I had been talking with my mom about my hopes to attend a medical missions school in the Philippines, and I told her that there was no way I would change my mind on that plan. In my head, it was set in stone! I wasn't about to let some "Ellerslie," whatever that was, change my long-time plan to study as a midwife. No way!

"Well, that's nice, but I'm not going there!"

I was determined. But as I gave each of my plans into Jesus' hands, my heart was slowly being changed. As an attempt to dissuade myself from considering Ellerslie, I started listening to Eric Ludy--the president of Ellerslie's--sermons. I listened to one, going in with an extremely skeptical attitude, as was usual for me, expecting to be able to permanently write this small missions school off my list for good. But quite the opposite happened. After hearing one the sermon, something stirred in my soul. His message lifted my eyes to Jesus; it was convicting, encouraging, and pressed me to pursue Him with everything in me.

I had a sense that somehow and someday, Jesus would work everything out for me to attend this school.

Fast forward a few years; it's January, the start of the second semester of senior year. "I am definitely going to apply this month to Ellerslie!" I determined. As I pondered where I thought Jesus would be leading me in the upcoming years, I couldn't find a better fit to prepare me for what is hopefully to come than this missions school. The defining characteristic of this school isn't how many students they've graduated, how incredible and breathtaking their Colorado campus is, their spectacular faculty, or any of their accomplishments (and there are may accomplishments, if you ask me).

The defining point of Ellerslie is actually one Person. Jesus!

After a few unexpected additions to my schedule, I sent my application in. By then it was March, and I wasn't sure if I would be accepted, knowing that there are lots of people hoping to attend this school, and only so many available spots. The three references I listed all turned in their character references in, in under 12 hours from my time of application being sent in, which was so amazing! It was a wonderful reminder of His hand being over each detail.

It was 5:27PM, exactly three days after I applied; my phone was ringing. It was Sandi, and I was about to have my interview. I walked over to my phone in disbelief; this was really happening. I was seriously about to talk with the Sandi McConnaughey (she's basically famous at Ellerslie ;))!! I took a deep breath and answered...

"Hello Cassidy!" Her sweet voice rang out.  Ahhhhhhhhhhh.

After a very sweet and encouraging conversation, and many interview questions, Sandi informed me that I was accepted. "Oh my goodness, thank you so much, Sandi!!!!" When the conversation was over, I ran to the kitchen and told my mom and Cami. It felt completely surreal.

That evening, I received my letter of acceptance, and a note about when tuition would be due. It all sounded just perfect.

Eventually a conversation came up with one of my parents about Ellerslie; they weren’t quite as convinced as they had been when I had first applied if I should go after all. I was very surprised. Not too long after that, I realized that the financial situation had also changed. My plans as to how I would pay for the tuition began to fall through. It was only weeks before the payment was due, but I had a sense that despite the circumstances, God would provide every penny.

A few days before I took my state Certified Nursing Assistant exam, I sat down with the nursing director of a local assisted living facility, a few miles from my house, and had an interview. I was so excited to hopefully pursue my first healthcare position, but part of me wondered if I would really be able to balance 3 part time jobs along with finishing up high school.

By His amazing grace, the details began to untangle. The thought of doing a "gofundme" account to help pay for the tuition passed through my mind, but I was convicted strongly that Jesus wanted to show me how able He is to provide. I did not mention the financial need to anyone who did not absolutely have to know. (In other words, only my family and a few Ellerslie people knew). Even though outwardly it seemed there was no way everything could possibly come together in time, He continued to reassure my heart. I had accepted the job offer of a caregiver position at the assisted living facility. And I had signed on a payment plan, so I could pay my tuition in segments, instead of all at once.

But something in me still stirred. Yes, the payment plan seemed like a good option, but I felt challenged to pray for an even bigger step: I began praying that every penny for tuition would come in before the semester began. It was "a lot to ask" considering the fact that I had about 1/8 of what I needed; but the truth is that God always has enough. It was not a lot to ask of the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

A month later, I sat on my bed, calculating the thoughtful graduation gifts that had been given to me. My mom had helped me with the first payment, then my dad graciously took care of the second payment, and now there was a final amount to be payed. The amount I received from the graduation gifts, plus a very thoughtful gift toward my tuition from a sweet friend, equaled over the amount I needed. I stared down at my phone; had I calculated the numbers right??! I rushed out of the room to show my mom, who confirmed my hope.

Soon after, I wrote to Laura, the Ellerslie bookkeeper, with great joy, and explained what had happened. It made me think of the puddle principle…. :) (You’ll have to come to Ellerslie to find out what that is!)

Yea, before the day was I am He \\ Isaiah 43:13

I will direct all his ways; he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives \\ Isaiah 45:13

I carry you; I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you \\ Isaiah 46:4

Hallelujah! And to think this is only one story of one million of His perfect guidance and provision!

Right now, I’m getting ready to board the plane; it’s like one big dream. Jesus is 100% faithful! Soon Delta Flight 1298 will be called over the loudspeaker, and I will be an Ellerslie Discipleship Training student. Wow.

Goodbye for now, Michigan!

“I am the Lord thy God… which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.” Isaiah 48:17