As cliché as New Year new me may be, it suitably fits how I felt this new month of a new year. 2017 has been a radical change of perspective, thought, and so much more.

Over the past 6 months, things have radically changed like location, job, community, programs, school, and much more. It has been a season of transition and change. I found myself last semester telling people when they would ask how the program was going saying things like “It has been a whole of new and different experience which has taken a lot of transition.” The more I reflect on this past 6 months then the more I realize I really enjoy comfort and security. The Lord has definitely pushed me out of the boat on that front. I have had an opportunity to trust in the Lord in new ways than expected during a time of lot of internal struggle.

After my Christmas break, I went straight to the Raleigh Fellow’s career and vocation retreat, which has been such a highlight of the program and great way to start off the year. During this week, we took time and thought space to look at how God has uniquely made each one of us in regards to how we think, feel, learn, process, why and how we do things. I walked away from the retreat having practical knowledge about myself. I was able to put words to the thoughts I have had many times before. This retreat even inspired a great talk that help push a friendship to a new level.

Then fast forward to January 22, it was my birthday! I am usually not a huge birthday person until I realized that I holding back people that wanted to celebrate me. My host family took me out to a Japanese dinner with a show. Then they threw me a kid themed birthday party, which included a piñata, toys, and a big cake. As people sang me happy birthday, I looked around and for the first time I thought that Raleigh could be a place long term. There is such a big community around the Fellows that want us to succeed and thrive. I looked around a several of these people that came to my party and realized I was so blessed.

Throughout this month, I have had so many times where I felt incredibly loved and cared for. From my birthday, great conversations, and what I have been learning, I have felt peace and great amounts of joy.


I do not know what it has been exactly, but when I came back this year something was different. I have felt different, acted different, and just viewed a lot of things differently this semester. Jesus has surely answered prayers. This month for the first time in the program really, I feel like Richie again.

-Richie Rojas