The month of March has been jammed packed from the beginning to end. It went from one thing to the next. Throughout the month though, I was constantly reminded how BIG our God is and how he is constantly fighting for justice, renewing community and individual people, and speaking ever so quietly when his children get quiet enough to listen. Wow… What a God!

Here are a few highlights from March!

We started off the first weekend of the month heading to Washington, D.C. for the Global Prayer Gathering for the International Justice Mission. Talk about thought provoking, prayer intensive, and freely feeling the Spirit move! As fellows, we were honored to enter into the stories of the people IJM works with. We listened and heard as speaker after speaker presented what they are doing in different parts of the world with specificity and authenticity. We spent time praying to the God of many names: Elohim, El-Shaddai, Yahweh, Jehovah and Adonai. Each individual name described an attribute of our God. I have never spent time reading and learning about each name of God. That is something that has slowly been incorporated into my life this month. I also valued how intentional IJM functions as a whole from company prayer times every day, to how strategic each plenary session was planned and balanced with worship and prayer, to the belief of raising up communities in their own country to fight injustice, and continually and faithfully relying on Jesus. One of the most beautiful sights and memories that I treasure was experiencing Spirit-filled worship with the other fellows. There were several times I would look at all of us and see each encountering our God in a special and unique way. I walked away from this weekend loving everything that happened. I was informed about modern day slavery, touched by the spirit, and inspired to strive for change in my community that God has called me to.

In the middle of the month, two of my awesome Arizona friends came out to Raleigh to visit me. It was such a sweet time of catching up, but also picking up where we last left off. We spent the time exploring Raleigh while taking many pictures along the way, driving to Charlotte for a fantastic Judah and the Lion concert, and eating some goooooooooood food! Throughout our many explorations, I was so blessed by these friends and the time they gave to me singing, dancing, and living life.

We ended the last weekend of the month with a Silent Retreat at St. Francis of Assisi Retreat Center led by one of our teachers, Ray Siegler. Over the course of 24 hours, we spent time in silence seeking to purposefully spend time with Jesus. We sought to allow God the time and space to speak to us as we quieted our minds, lives, and hearts. I did not walk away having this grand revelation from God, but I did walk away feeling closer to Him. Ray consistently reminded us during these times, it is not about doing or a checklist, but an opportunity to reconnect and focus on our relationship with Jesus.

Exhale. Rest. Inhale. The theme of our Silent Retreat, but this ended up how the busy month looked like. I would feel tired and busy. Sit to be with myself and Jesus. Then feel rejuvenated and peaceful in Jesus. There were so much good things going on like a professionalism seminar, realizing my best friend was sitting next to me, meeting with a financial planner, multi-ethnicity talks, hanging with the fellows, and more. It is easy to get wrapped up in the busy, and forget that God is in the midst of all of it. He is constantly renewing each one of us! I walked away from this month seeing how busy my month was but realizing that I was surrounded by God’s presence way more.

Richie Rojas