What’s Normal in FOCUS

The pitch-black room is suddenly jarred by the annoying beep of an alarm clock. It was set for 4:45AM. Minutes later, all the leaders are hustling to their students’ rooms banging on the doors and giving a 5 minute preparation time to be out in the hall, ready for personal devotions. Soon the hall settles to silence as both students and leaders enjoy the sweet time of fellowship with the Lord between 5:00 and 6:00. Often, we must catch ourselves from making this a time of deep “meditation”.

But at 6:00 we are off to an exciting and exhausting session of Physical Training. The PT includes stretches, running, variations on pushups, abs exercises, sit-ups, arm holds, and a variety of excruciating exercises. Sometimes we will do ability group runs for 20 to 30 minutes or a timed two-mile run. It is indeed a stretching time! But not only physically. It stretches your endurance and brings one to a point of asking God for the extra bit of strength.

Around 6:45, an exhausted group of FOCUS guys hustle back up to their rooms to prepare for the day. Part of this preparation is an inspection to encourage orderly rooms and thrifty use of time.

As can be imagined, breakfast at 7:30 is greatly appreciated. The phenominal cooking and food preparation done by the culinary experts in the kitchen every morning, noon, and night is exemplary. To put it simply, the belt that was too big is, well, not too big anymore!

Then we dive into dish pit! What fun it is to listen to the clanging of plates, banging of pans, spraying of water, drone of the dish machine, and an occasional command or shout of warning! Everyone usually emerges pretty wet. This is FOCUS’ responsibility after breakfast at and lunch. Other chores include cleaning bathrooms, picking up trash outside, and vacuuming the first eight or so floors of the Training Center. These laborious and often menial tasks are essential to being a servant of all.

The rest of the day that is not spent in eating and chores, is spent in listening to sessions or doing other small work projects. The sessions we have been going through are absolutely essential to being an effective example of the believers. Spending hours on each subject, we have covered areas such as music, witnessing, conquering anger, and establishing convictions. Because each student comes from a different background and faces different challenges, it is essential for leaders to have wisdom and discernment in understanding and meeting the needs of them as individuals. It is clear, especially in Blue Team, that these hours spent in training are making a difference and causing them to dedicate their lives more fully to Christ. Brethren, pray for us, that we might be whole in spirit, soul, and body and preserved blameless unto the coming of your Lord Jesus Christ.

When dinner at 5:30 is finished, we will complete various projects until our Team Meeting at 8:30. This is one of my favorite parts of the day when our team gets together and shares what they have learned that day. We often do not finish before 9:00.

With lights out at 10:00, they have a fairly small amount of time to prepare for bed and memorize, especially because we are so tired from the days activities. Memorization is difficult as we are memorizing a chapter in James a week. Every spare minute is used.

So finally, we go to sleep and forget about the annoying beep of the alarm clock that comes so early the next morning. But you must remember that you never know what time the leaders will come pounding on your door again to wake you up for some mid-night excursion. In FOCUS, you don’t often have a Normal Day, and you rarely ever have a Normal Night!

One Comment

  1. Robert October 30, 2006 at 3:47 pm #

    Excellent update James! We are praying for you. Keep up the good work!

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