August 17, 2012
Day one is complete and my heart is overflowing. I mean, it is literally pouring over the brim with joy. The day started out sluggish and honestly downcast. My mom hugged me goodbye early this morning before my dad and I set out for Searcy. I told her goodbye with eyes full of tears, knowing this would be the last time I hugged her for the last time for 3 months! Talk about surreal. My dad and I left and the ride seemed to go by so fast. We just hung out and talked about the workings of God and how will we know if what we are doing is in His will. If we take action and do what WE think God would want us to do, is it wisdom by not staying idle and just waiting, letting opportunities pass by because we haven’t received an “answer? Or is our go ahead attitude really a lack of faith? Oh the mysteries of Christianity.
We got to Harding and I saw some friends, went and said goodbye to Lindsey, and then went to the GAC parking lot to meet up with our group and say goodbye to more friends and my dad. Kelly, Kaitlyn, and Cierra walked up and as soon as I saw them tears started streaming! I just love those girls’ hearts so much. We hugged and hugged and then prayed together before I had to say goodbye to my dad. It was such a wild mix of emotions. I was sad to leave, but happy to see everyone again. Excited to go, but nervous to leave. I said bye to my dad and just being wrapped in his arms made me cry and cry knowing it was my final goodbye before leaving. I love him so much. Our whole group, parents and friends alike, got in a huge circle and we all prayed and then we left. The moment our bus pulled away all the doubt and nervousness vanished and it was all excitement. It was the weirdest feeling in the world having all the uncertainty of the past week just disappear! Maybe it was because I knew there was no going back, so being excited is the only thing left to be! We drove to the Fouts’ house (The Fouts are an older couple that cooked for us at HUT and are cooking for us this weekend while we’re here again). They are such sweet and generous people. We got there and their backyard was the coolest thing! It was a man-made lake with a rope swing, tubed slide, huge 25-foot dock, and zip line. It was sweet. I ended up jumping off the dock. That thing had to have been 25 feet at LEAST. It was so scary up there looking down, but while I was at the top the only thing on my mind was how similar this situation is to the whole Zambia trip! The drop is so tall, but I’m standing on the edge and there’s no turning back. I have to. So the only thing left for me to do is count to 3 and go. So I did. And once I hit the water, I’m so glad I did. It’s like this trip in that I wish I didn’t have to leave, but I just have to run. And once I jump, I’ll be glad I did.
So we left there after a little over an hour and rode to HUT, rolled our luggage inside, and met to have an Intro. to our Mission Anthropology class. Then we had dinner, which was DELISH, and Jeremy (our leader), his grandmother made cookies for us! After that we had a “Welcome party” and played a bunch of silly games together. Then we took and break and met back together to talk about the ways we saw God move in our lives this summer and to sing. This group is such a blessing. I have laughed more in this one day than I do in probably two weeks combined. We all just love being together. All of us. We love each other and are beginning this adventure and I cannot think of any other group of people I would rather spend this semester of growth, separation, and love with than with them. The thing that makes it so unique is that every person brings such a unique piece of something to the table. Our group is not our group without one person. Everyone contributes something, and that’s what makes it so unique! We already have this bond and the semester hasn’t even begun. It’s like this huge stitched quilt, and God has specifically picked out each square and stitched us all together for this moment. Each piece, individually crafted with its own colors and experiences. All sewn together to create this big picture meant to function as a whole. I’m starting to really and truly experience the feeling of how the body of Christ is meant to work.
Oh God I praise you for Your omniscience. For knowing each of us and putting our group together. I pray for the purity of our hearts that we each truly live to glorify Your name and Your name alone. Humble us to the condition of this world and give us a bold confidence in speaking Your truth. May we be meek like Jesus Christ and be heard so that seeds can be planted. I pray for the heart of my Tonga tutor. Prepare us both for our connection this semester and may we both be teachers to each other as well as learners. I pray for the life of my baby I will be holding in only a few days. Cover him or her with the protection of Your hand. Guard their mind and heart as they walk their path on this side of eternity. Here I am Lord, use me.