The kick-off to the entire program was the National Right to Life convention in Pittsburgh, PA. I got to meet my 5 fellow classmates, who are from all over the United States. Anna is from Philadelphia, Andrew is from North Carolina, Devyn is from North Dakota, Natalie is from New York and Vanessa is from Texas. Our majors range from history, political science, philosophy, writing, becoming a doctor and obviously nursing (me!). It is such a testament to God's perfect plan as we all can bring our own perspectives to the learning experience at the Academy... and when we leave DC, we will all utilize what we have learned in many unique ways.
Devyn, Vanessa, Natalie, Anna, Andrew, Me
My parents had been praying that they would get to meet some of my new best friends for the next six weeks during the one night stay at the hotel and God answered our prayers. I had made an open invitation, "Hey if you want to meet my family, come up any time tonight!" and Anna and Andrew came in and we all talked for a couple of hours. Through this first fun night, I knew that God had answered my prayers. I would have "kindred spirits" to spend to the next six weeks with - friends who are as deeply passionate about protecting life as I am, and are very excited and eager to learn about God and all that he has to show and teach us this summer.
Sunday, after the convention was over, all of us Academy students had the opportunity to sit in on a closed door legislative strategy session for one representative of many of the state affiliate Right to Life affiliates. From 10-4, we heard about how God is leading and directing this movement to try new legislative tactics in the states. Although many times the news from DC is very grim about the battle for life, we were all very much inspired and hopeful to hear the news from the front lines in each of the 50 states. More and more legislature is being passed that is again and again pushing the envelope on giving the unborn and elderly more and more rights to life and freedom. Some of the key, brilliant leaders in the movement are not hopeless - but very hopeful - they see a window of opportunity as more and more Americans are realizing the importance of the life issue in more and more states. This was a great way to kick-off the Academy - it gave us all even more passion than before and a vision to apply much of the knowledge that we're learning.
Right after the legislative session, we all packed in a mini-van and drove 6 hours to DC. We all had ALOT of reading assignments to do, so the ride was pretty quiet until the last few hours. We started off with a bang - we read all of 60 pages of Chief Justice Blackmun's opinion during the Roe v Wade trial, among other long articles! They weren't joking about this Academy being rigorous, but I have a feeling that I am going to love every minute.
We are staying on George Washington University's campus in the "International House", which have little apartments - bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom (and my favorite part: a balcony!). We are on Virginia Ave, and less than a mile away is the Mall and Washington Monument.
We are going to be metro-ing to the National Right to Life Office every morning, which is located right across the street from Ford's Theater, where President Lincoln was shot. I love being in DC - surrounded by history everywhere you turn! The first day we metro-ed (is that a word?) to the office to pick up all our luggage which had to go on another truck the night before. After getting a tour of the 4 story little office, we lugged our suitcases back to the metro stop a few blocks away. This was definitely an adventure to say the least. Awesome Andrew only had one suitcase, so he helped me with my second one - thank goodness. We were just saying that the trek hadn't been so terrible, when we realized at our Foggy Bottom stop that everyone was standing at the base of the escalators and not going outside. It didn't take long to figure out that in the 15 minutes of being underground, it had started POURING outside. People who ran inside were completely soaked to the bone. We mutually decided to try and wait it out a little bit as most of our umbrellas were stuffed in the bottom of our suitcases. After 10 minutes it showed no sign of stopping, and we didn't want to wait any longer. We dashed up and outside and under another awning. God was watching out for us, because as soon as we step foot in the rain it slowed down to a drizzle. We were all very grateful as we walked the 5 blocks back to our new homes. It just proved that life is always an adventure and you just have to walk in the rain to truly experience all the joys of life!
We just had our first day class today, but I will wait until tomorrow in my post to explain how the Academy itself works. I plan to write a least a little bit on this blog every day or every other day and give you a quote of the day from class, or something especially interesting that I learned, that way you can feel like you are learning right alongside with me!
Thanks for walking alongside me in this journey, and thank you even more for your prayers.