I think it would be easy for me to say lines such as "new year, new me" or do you a traditional this is what I learned in 2016, but then I would end up taking way too long to say everything that this year was. So I'm going to focus on December. The first two weeks of December were awesome. From secret Santa, to a white elephant party for the fellows and then youth group, a surprise field trip to Angus Barn, and just some good times. But After a semester of unexpected and different changes, I had the chance to take two of the last weeks of 2016 to do my own thing. 

Christmas Break was exactly that, a break. I need to take some time for myself. So I packed up my break with a bunch of places to go. I knew I wanted to go back to Phoenix to visit my previous host family and all my friends that I have become accustomed to over the past five years. Over the years, these people have become family and I truly look up to a lot of people in Phoenix. So I headed back to Phoenix for 8 days to see the Arnold family. This is the family that let me live with them for 10 months and became family. They actually invited me to go to San Diego with them for four days which was filled with lots of board games and card games, quality time with lots of food, and a few surprise friends along the way. Talk about overfilling love! We then headed back to Phoenix and I spent the next 3 days getting to hang out with friends, old young life kids, and continued quality time with people that I care so much about. What a way to be filled up and rejuvenated! These people know how to love me so well, speak truth that points me to Jesus, and just be there on the journey with me! 

I then headed back to Houston on Christmas day to visit my family for 5 days. This time was spent hanging with friends and family. Friends that I've known since I was three, friends from high school, and my brothers and dad (who I had to interview for the genogram paper). This was also a time for me to slow down and just be. I walk in with my family having no expectations of what we should do, but just asking the Lord to step into how to best love. That is a constant prayer for me. 

Then to end my final three days of my 14 days, I flew back to North Carolina to be a head leader at Young Life camp. I spent three days at Windy Gap. The place that I called home for eight weeks last summer. I got to walk around and talk with friends at a place that changed so much and grew my view of the Holy Spirit during summer staff. Plus getting to work at a Young Life camp is always so much fun! It gave me a lot of things to ponder about and discuss at a later time. 

Ultimately break was exactly what I needed: A time to rejuvenate, a time to relax, and a time to be with family. I came back to Raleigh over filled in every possible way. I came back ready to put everything into this last semester as a Raleigh Fellow.

Richie Rojas