I AM ENGAGED! (July 12,2017)

Hello! I am excited to announce my engagement to my wonderful, now fiancé, Zackary Shaikh. First, let me take a moment to brag about my Zackary. Zack is a ministry major at a Christian university near my hometown and currently serves as a deacon and Sunday School teacher in his church. He knows ASL, how to play the piano and guitar and so much more. He graduated top of his class in a competitive class and even tutored at the local community college while in high school. He has went on various mission trips, including a Deaf camp where he learned ASL. Although this man is talented in just about everything, there is so much more to him than his intelligence and amazing abilities out in the world. Not only does he love me right, he loves me like Jesus does. This man knows me inside and out, but does not dare use it against me but for me. He forgives me when I do not deserve it. He sees my worst and loves me as if I am perfect, which I am most certainly not. He spoils me with attention, food, laughter, and so much more. I have never been happier. I smile more, I enjoy myself more, and I love myself more. If another person can look at all my flaws and still CHOOSE to love me, I know that I should be able to love myself as well. He is compassionate towards people and animals. He loves people and I cannot believe how easy it is for him to just get out there and speak to anyone and everyone. I get very anxious in social situations but he does not hold that against me or try to push me out of my comfort zone. He just holds my hand and walks me through everything, especially the hard situations. He is the one who gets down and prays on his knees with me when I cannot stand the weight that is on my shoulders. He wipes my tears and makes me laugh. He shines like Jesus when all I can see is darkness. When I met him, I never knew he would be this vital in my life but I did know that he was someone I wanted in my life. A friendship turned into a beautiful thing. Now I get to marry my bestfriend and I do not deserve this blessing but I will thank God everyday for not only this man but the mercy and love He Himself gives to me daily. Last Saturday, the 8th, we traveled 11 hours down to my father’s in Southeast Texas. Zack had never met my father so my father invited us to spend a week down here. We spent the first few days down at the sandbar down the road and watching netflix and just spending time with my family. Yesterday, Wednesday, my father took my brother and his girlfriend, and Zack and I to Surfside beach. It was a picture perfect day. The sun was shining in all of God’s brilliance. The sky was clear except for some beautiful clouds. The salt water felt great against my skin. It was a beautiful sight, one I will forever remember. Zack asked my father and my brother for my hand in marriage. He also asked my mother. I know some may call it old-fashioned, but I love that he had the respect for me and my family to do so. At the end of the day when we were about to leave the beach he asked if my family could take a picture of us. He then turned and I had a feeling about what was happening. He got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I wrapped my arms around him and I said yes! How could I not? I now wear my great-grandmother’s ring which means so much to me. I love sentimental things and I am honored to wear her ring. I am young. I may not know everything, but I do know I love this man. I know that it is real and spiritually led. I know he will take care of me and guide me as he guides me everyday to lead me to the woman I need to be. I am unapologetically in love. I am unapologetically following Christ until the day I die. I know God led us to one another and what God has joined together let no man tear apart. Pray for us as we move on to this chapter in our lives. It will not be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.

~Future Mrs. Shaikh

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November: Trevecca

I promised to write about November, so here I am… a little late. But nonetheless, I will write about it  now.

The first major event of November was going to Nashville for the McClurkan Scholarship Day. I wore my brown skirt suit with a purple top and wore flats for I would be walking around quite a bit. At 9:00 a.m., the McClurkan Scholars were registered and then welcomed into the Benson Auditorium or McClurkan Building. From 10 to 11 a.m. we met in Academic Focus Groups, mine being Human and Behavioral Science. Once in the class room, we broke down into groups such as law, social work, and psychology. My future major is social work, so another  girl and I met with a professor in that field. We learned about different clubs we could be in and different community service projects we would do. It was very interesting and throughout the day I reconfirmed that Trevecca was home to me. The other girl that was also interested in social work was Emily Riggs. I absolutely adored her spirit and we became friends. I am happy to say that she will be my roommate. After the focus groups, we went to the Boone Business Building where we ate a wonderfully prepared lunch and was entertained by a Christian musical group from Trevecca. President Dan Boone spoke and answered questions. We were free to take tours of the campus or go off and do our own thing with our family. We had 15 minute interviews from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. My individual interview was at 3:30 p.m. I was nervous. I had been praying about this for the whole day and I was literally a bundle of nerves. However, I asked God right before going in for strength and that His will be done. I went in and saw Mr. Toy that I had met earlier at lunch who was in charge of marketing. There were two other men in the room who were so kind and friendly, but unfortunately I can not remember their names. They asked me common questions like, “Why Trevecca?”  and “What do you want to do in the future?” We talked about my church and school and all the activities I’m involved in. We also talked about God. God is very important to me and that excites me that I will be going to a college where I can talk about God freely and be able to converse with students who also love God. God delivered the strength for me to get through my interview and it ended with smiles and hugs. I felt like it went great, and it did. After the interview, we were free. I went and changed and then went back to the Admissions lobby at 5:30 to leave for the Nashville Nights Event. Emily came with me and we walked down Broadway and ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory, which was paid by Trevecca. I had fun and I still remember a boy named Jesse Miller rapping about events in the Bible. The next day was Experience Trevecca Day. It had nothing to do with the scholarship and I barely saw anyone that was there the previous day. Experience Trevecca day was set up as the day before but without any interviews. I took a tour of the campus after the events and saw the dorms. I believe I want the dorm next to the cafeteria but I am not quite sure yet. I stayed around after the tour and saw the campus by myself. It’s beautiful. I love how the squirrels came so close to me and I absolutely adored the front statue of Jesus and the little waterfall. It’s not a modern campus. It is not booming like the regular public university, but it has a homey feel I know I would not get anywhere else. As I walked on the side walks, I had a sense of peace as if God was willing me that Trevecca is the place I need to be. I know it is the place I need to be and will be. Sadly, I did not get the McClurkan Scholarship. It wasn’t God’s will and I am beyond happy for the ones who did receive it. I have received other scholarships and I am still going.  I have paid my enrollment deposit and will be applying for housing as soon as it is made available. I love Trevecca and I can not wait to go there this fall.

November – A month to go down in the books

Written: November 4, 2016

 

For anyone who does not know, I am a senior and I am 17 years old. I live in Tennessee and I love Jesus. This month involves some traveling for me, and I will be out of town three weekends in a row so I ask for prayer. One thing I have been praying about and for is because of the reason I will be in Nashville next weekend, the McClurkan Scholarship. November 11th is the McClurkan Scholarship Day. I am nervous, but I am excited. I feel like someone who does pageants that has to appear perfect in all forms to receive this golden prize: full tuition and board. I received a list of the competitors and their majors last night. I also received my schedule, and a map of the campus. My nerves have been destroyed. I did not come from a private school. I have not left this country. I am from a small town, and I love Jesus. Trevecca feels like home. In August, if you asked me about Trevecca, I would have been like “Trevecca? What is that?” It was only upon coming to the booth at a college fair that I learned about Trevecca. Instantly, I felt being called there. I have prayed and prayed. I hope that when I can not stand this pressure that I will kneel. I hope that I stand confident in front of those on campus. But above all, I hope that I allow Jesus to use me for God’s glory and not my own. I need to remember that this life is not mine. It is God’s will and I am but a tool. Let me be humble and diligent to the call God has on my life. Praise God for allowing me this opportunity. The weekend after Trevecca I will be going to Beta convention in Nashville and it will be my lat Beta trip ever. I am beyond sad and have already cried over it. I always say I am unemotional but when the time comes, I cry like a baby. I am so grateful for the years I have had with my Beta family, especially my sponsors Mrs. Amy and Coach Lee. Their son has lifted my spirits while attending each year, and Beta will definitely be part of my best memories of High School. The next weekend, Thanksgiving, I will be going to Oklahoma to see my dad with my brother and grandmother. I have not seen my grandmother since last semester and my dad since July., so  will be an amazing reunion. However, I am sad that I will be missing my family tradition of Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house in Finger. I am excited to leave the state again and to spend the holidays with my father.  This life is so nerve wrecking but so beautiful.  I can not wait to see what God has in store. I will update throughout the month about how things are going. Please pray for me and God bless!

Yours truly,

Rachel Hughey

Signing a Brighter Future

English IV Dual Credit Profile Assigment

Written: October 26, 2016

 

Not everyone is called out into the mission field, but the few who are have to be diligent, patient, and Christ-focused. Zackary Shaikh meets all these qualities and more. He was preaching by the age of 12, and doing mission trips by the age of 15. The one that he has been doing the longest and has changed his life and perspective the most is Camp SummerSign.

Camp SummerSign is a camp located at the Brentwood Baptist Deaf Church and it is for children ages 6-17 who are Deaf or are siblings to a Deaf child. Staff members interact with the children in their own language, ASL (American Sign Language), and teach them about Jesus. Zackary learned about Camp SummerSign through his BCM director at Bethel University, where Zackary currently attends as a Ministry major. He knew it would be a challenging mission trip, since he barely knew anything about the Deaf culture, but he was ready for anything that would come his way.

Zackary first went to Brentwood in the summer of 2013 and immediately fell in love with the camp. He knew this was what he would be doing for a while, and he did. After three summers, he is now fluent in ASL and looks to even becoming an ASL interpreter one day alongside being a pastor. It was a challenging transition of learning ASL at the beginning. Watching everyone sign so easily made him think, “I can’t do this.”  He even stated that he told everybody he was on a mission “shrimp,” as he preceded to actually sign the word “shrimp” instead of “trip.” He has come a long way, now preferring ASL to English. Unfortunately, he does not know enough people who sign in his area to be able to sign daily. At most schools and colleges, there are classes for Spanish, French, or Latin. However, barely any schools offer ASL and Zackary hopes that it will be offered in the near future.

Becoming more aware of the Deaf culture, Zackary learned a lot. Most Deaf people are very blunt, and very few know English phrases. In ASL, English is not directly translated. ASL has its own sentence structure. For example, in English you would say, “ I love you.” On the other hand, in ASL, you would sign, “You, I love.” ASL is a unique language with its own set of rules. People who are native English speakers think in English, just as native Spanish speakers think in Spanish. ASL signers are not any different; they think in signs. The Deaf have their own slang and culture, and they do not see their disability as anything wrong. It is their life.  Just as preachers in our very own churches tell us, “Jesus loves you,” Zackary signs to his children at camp , “You, Jesus loves.”

Zackary has experienced a number of health problems since he was a child including Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and depression. While away at Camp SummerSign in 2015, he was sent to a hospital due to his health problems. His persistence really showed then as he went straight back to camp after being released instead of going home. Mission work is not for the weak. At Camp SummerSign, staff has the children for 8 hours. Keeping up with children when you are a college student is quite a task. Nothing can compete to the energy and playfulness of a child. Every week, the children and staff go on at least one field trip. That is hard enough with any child, but especially with children who can not hear. The staff’s eyes have to be open at all times, considering that even some of the staff are Deaf. Long hours and having to stay as alert as a mother over her newborn is tough, but Zackary loves it. The thrill of seeing his students thrive is like none other. He teaches them about Jesus, but they also learn to embrace their individuality. Being Deaf is not a disability, but rather a chance to see life in a whole new light.

There is a young boy at the camp who use to be an orphan in Ethiopia. He was put on the streets at the age of 4, and he was not going to be able to be adopted. Somehow, a family from America was able to adopt him. The young boy is now 11 and is flourishing in his language and knowledge. Because of Camp SummerSign and staff like Zackary Shaikh,children are growing in their knowledge, their understanding, and even their faith. Fifteen children were saved just over the past summer.  Camp SummerSign offers a chance to children who do not have the help of parents or school to immerse themselves in their own culture. They can communicate, learn, and fellowship. They learn about Jesus and have the opportunity to say what they have been wanting to say for so long because the language barriers are coming down. Camp SummerSign is not only a safe haven for deaf children, it is a chance to better the world by giving these children a brighter future.

Dying, He saved me

Nobody sees

Nobody knows

They just follow where the lies go

If only they knew

The demons that attack me

How I wish they knew

Who I want to be

I am a Child of The King

 

and I can’t take this earth

I’m tired of the judging

I’m glad of my rebirth

but where do I go from now?

Not only where but how???

I am but a small human

with a big heart.

God I need you

to bring me out of the dark.

I know I fail

I know I am weak

I know your love prevails

and You’re all I need.

Finally Free

Written on: 09/04/2015

Pain has agonized me all of these days

and now I am free

From confinement, I run away

I want to be me

I wanna laugh and smile

and not feel regret

It’s been a while

since I could relax and forget

Memories flood through  my mind

and sometimes makes me sad

It takes me back to a simpler time,

a time where I was glad

I use to run head first into everything;

nothing was holding me down

But now my ship is sinking

and there’s no anchor to be found

That’s at least what I thought,

but that was not the case

My soul has been bought

and I am safe.

I am not bound by my sins

I am free

I’ll never feel hell again

I have stronger forces with me

I am strong and humble

I have God on my side

 With Him I can not stumble

and for that I have pride

August 28th

So today was the day I got my driver’s license, and that was nerve wrecking enough. I was particularly scared because I was driving there when I hit a squirrel. My heart shattered, for this was the first time I had hit anything. I continued driving and went to the DMV. I was a nervous wreck, but I did get my license. Then, later while at McDonalds, our order costs $6.66 or as the superstitious employee said “triple six.” Not to mention, my dad dropped a motor on his finger messing up his finger  nail pretty bad. “I broke a nail” does not cut it. I’ll drop a photo below.

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So today was just a day of bad omens, so I’m still waiting for what this is leading to. I am not really superstitious,  but today was a bit suspicious. Well any who, I got my license. Look below ❤ (:

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Rachel Hopes

Last Day being 15

  It is so hard to believe that tomorrow, August 24th, I will bee 16. I can remember being 5 years old and laughing so hard that milk came out of my nose, and here I am in my junior year, fixing to be on the road. It blows my mind how fast time has gone by, and the more I learn to appreciate it, the more I don’t want it to go by so fast. I already see the difficulties in life, and my mind takes me back to a simpler time when my biggest issue was what outfit I wanted to wear or when I was going to grandma’s. Now I’d give anything in the world to go back. So much has happened, and I am definitely a different person than I was a year ago. More heartache and pain has come my way, and though it hurt me, it also made me stronger and wiser. I am still young, but I am learning. I’m looking at jobs and what I’m going to drive, and I can recall thinking at about 7 years old how much I couldn’t wait to be able to do these things. Yes, it is exciting. It is also quite frightening. I wish my mother would have sat me down and explained to me then that it would come to me eventually and just enjoy being little. My brother is graduated, and in the National Guard. That is still a huge thing to me. Not only that, he is ENGAGED!!! MY BROTHER! I just can’t believe we aren’t running around the backyard like Indians anymore or going to the circus together. All that is gone, and it breaks my heart. I miss being the only girl in his everyday life, and now some girl has came and stole him away. I knew it’d happen; I just didn’t expect it so soon. I am so proud of who he has become. 16 is another year closer to being an adult, another year closer to the end of my life. I hold onto the past but embrace the future, because God knows I can’t go back now. I just  pray for wisdom and strength to get me through the rest of my life. I am blessed to be alive this long, and hope to leave behind a lot in my lifetime. No longer am I a 15 year old girl, I am a 16 year old woman and I tend to live the life I love. Wish me luck ❤

Rachel Hopes

Why?

I’m confused and broken again,
but why should I even try to mend?
I’ll just fall to the ground,
and there may not be enough of me found
to rejoin the broken pieces
I may be too shattered for the pain never ceases.
I am expected to be okay
but have you looked around lately?
Nothing is okay
and where am i suppose to run to safety?
My walls have been torn down to be rebuilt.
I have a broken heart and I need more shelter than my ribs.
The suffering never ends on this earth.
We were bound to sin since birth.
It doesn’t make any sense.
Why should I have to be broken again?
I’m tired of fixing myself.
Isn’t everyone else?
Why should we have to live this life?
We were born to evil and strife.
Just because one couple took an apple from a tree,
we have the chance of burning for eternity.
I love God, but these things I do not understand.
Why should I live in suffering because of the sin of one man and one woman?

Rachel Hopes

Love is Needed

Boys will be boys.
Girls will be girls.
Aren’t you tired of the stereotypes in this world?
White people are racist.
Black people will rob you.
Do  you think that all of this is true?
If you love Jesus, then you must be self righteous.
If you’re an atheist, then you must be heartless.
All of that is pure nonsense.

What ever happened to just loving your neighbor?
I didn’t know that love required standards.
People don’t want to have to do the labor
and then they ask why they’re prayers haven’t been answered.

Who cares if you don’t believe what I do?
Love is needed and we all know that is true.
There are kids dying and mothers crying
over their babies lying in the streets dead.
We are just sitting here complaining, always hating
while we are safe in our beds.
We’re letting differences come between us.
Where on earth is the love?
There are people out there that love has never touched
because we don’t care enough.
There are people being killed over such stupid stuff.
Nobody’s taking a stand over that but they’ll take a stand for equal love.
We’re so worried about our personal relationships.
We’re not worried about our nations.
That’s nonsense.
The whole world needs love on their side.
Nothing gets accomplished when there is so much hate and pride.
So please when you go out, make someone smile.
It may be small but it’ll make their day worth while.
The world has never seen so much hate.
Is spreading love going to much out of the way?
Is it that hard to show that you care?
Tomorrow, the people you know may not even be there.
So get off your lazy high horse.
You’re no better than anyone.
If love was your only source,
this war of hatred would never have begun.
I’m not asking for very much.
Just please do everything you do in love.

              

Rachel Hopes