School update

Dear Friends and Family,

As promised, I’ll give you a rundown of school for the past two weeks.

I’m taking five courses this quarter as well as auditing one: Arabic Grammar 1, Classical Chinese, Introduction to Intelligence, Naval History, Techniques of Political Analysis, and I’m auditing Introduction to the Modern Middle East. When you audit a class you just go to class but the homework and exams are optional. I do not get credit for this class, I am just learning the material. So I’ll be going to all the lectures and doing the reading, but not taking the tests. All my classes are very interesting, though my favorite so far are Intro. to Intel. and Naval History, with my Chinese and Arabic classes coming in close second. It looks like this year I’m going to be doing a lot more writing than in previous quarters. Most of these classes are more focused toward thinking and concepts than some of my previous classes in Languages or in the Sciences (Chem, math, etc.). This is a good thing in that it is a change and something I should work on being good at, and not so good a thing in that I am not so good at it *grin*. We’ll see how it works out.

God has blessed me mightily this quarter in that all my classes fall on Mon-Thur, with no class on Friday. This gives me extra time to do homework, which in turn means I can do more other things as well. I definitely survived last quarter (and enjoyed it), but I am kindof hoping that that kind of quarter doesn’t become the norm (8 and 1/2 hours of class in one day? that was tough). Through my intel. and naval history classes I have become very interested in other countries intel. structures and navies. I’m itching to learn more about British history especially as it involves the development of its intelligence community and navy/armed forces. All I know so far is how the US does things and I’d like to learn more about how countries do things, how they are similar/different and what are the advantages/disadvantages. One great disadvantage of being an American is that you aren’t pressured by the culture or through the schooling system to learn much about other countries except a general history. In other, smaller countries that depend on bigger super powers like the US, Britain, China, Russia, etc. you spend a lot of time learning of the outside world and how it works.

Other than school I am continuing to be active in the Arabic Language club, Mirrors (the sophomore class honorary), IFI (international friendships inc.), and homegroups (home bible studies) in my Church. I have added to my list weekly bible study with OCF – Officer’s Christian Fellowship. I have been twice so far and I am absolutely addicted. The people are not only wonderful Christians, but also good people, AND members or former members of the military (except on or two people). I wish I had made the time to get involved in OCF last quarter but I thought it wasn’t as important to my spiritual life as I now realize it is.

Coming up this week is Quarterdeck ball, the big annual event for everyone in NROTC. It is a chance for all Midshipmen to socialize and get more familiar with military formal occasions. People are supposed to bring dates, though it isn’t required. I am not bringing a date. Since I am not ready to be married there is no basis for me to be going out with guys. If any of you are wondering about my “date” for the Marine birthday ball, that was not, actually, a “date”. I was being escorted by a male relative (thank you Will! you were great).

Also, I am in the process of applying for my NROTC scholarship and trying to nail down a couple other programs for study abroad in the Middle East that I can apply to. The problem is that half the programs available start too early for me to attend. I am praying daily that I get accepted for the Critical Language Scholarship (the government program that will pay for everything), but I can’t depend on it. I am looking at programs in Morocco and Jordan at the moment. I don’t really want to go to Egypt right now, mostly because there are perfectly good programs elsewhere and I want to wait to go there to enjoy the cultural highlights (pyramids for example) once I know Arabic better and can get more out of the trip.

I have several prayer requests for those who would be willing to pray for me.
1) That I would meet the physical requirements for my NROTC scholarship, the deadline is the beginning of February
2) That I would find and apply for several other good programs for study in the Middle East, and that I can do it in time to apply for other scholarships to cover cost.
3) That God would help me adjust this quarter to all the essay writing I have to do, I am not used to this and I don’t know if I can do well enough to get As.
4) That God would help me find roommates (who speak Chinese or Arabic) for next year.

Thank you all for your prayers and interest in my life, I guess its nice to have fans *grin*. We had a lot of snow this past week and it has been very cold. I took a bunch of pictures which I’ve already posted them, see below.

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