So...I'm back to the world of cable internet where you actually can upload a picture in just a few short minutes and it actually will post to the internet so over the next couple months while I'm home, I will attempt to share some photos with you that have been so well-intentioned to get onto this computer but have gotten lost in my frustration.
I miss these sweet faces so much at the moment...I have now been home for almost 2 weeks and goodness I'm missing their goodnight hugs and their "mommy's" and their "I love you more's" and so many of those sweet moments that we are blessed by God to share.
I am however excited about the opportunities that God is providing for me here. I spent the first weekend that I was home with a delightful group of gals at a ladies retreat in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was by far one of my favorite ladies retreats I have ever been to. I mean let's face it, they sang, "Shackles" by Mary Mary and by all appearances they meant it. Sweet sweet bunch of gals that I quickly came to love and will return to see I feel certain.
Then Sunday night when I got home from there, we were off to a tour of the South. Spent some time in Nashville, Memphis, and Little Rock to fundraise. Got to share about these sweet lives with their difficult stories and ask people to partner with us financially for some needs that we have, specifically personal and staff support for this year. It is always a delight to get to share a story that these kiddo's will never have the opportunity to share with these precious folks. To be a voice for those without one, is a tremendously humbling endeavor because you so desperately want to do it justice.
This week I will be doing a few speaking engagements around here through the week and then this weekend is the Women of Purpose conference that I've been privileged to be a part of for the past few years. This year it has a bit of a different twist (no pun intended as I feel the twisting in the tummy every time I think about it) but I have the privilege (as nervous as it makes me) to offer the afternoon keynote. It is a huge honor I feel way unworthy of, but am looking forward to spending time with the women God will bring that day.
So...much on the calendar as you can tell, and one of my FAVORITE parts of the calendar is that on Thursday of this week, my "Honduran sister" will be arriving to the States to be a part of the next 2 weeks of life here. To top it off her sweet momma will be traveling with her as well. So we're all super excited to have Miss Gina and her momma here. 6 days my friend!!
Let me end this post by telling you about one of the highlights of this past week. It was another defining moment in my life, God is so kind to continue to offer us those isn't He??!! We had gone to a worship experience in Nashville at one of the local churches on Thursday night called Sanctuary. It was amazing and I was touched as I haven't really been in many praise and worship environments in English for a while and it's always one of the places that touches my heart most. So that was great in and of itself, but the afterward was what remains with me and will for a very long time I think. A group of those students who had just spent time worshipping together, gathered in a parking lot to pray and then to go and spend time with the homeless folks who were living in inner city Nashville. It was an honor to be invited into something I learned was quite sacred. When we arrived we saw park benches for beds and brush for a "camp" and a bridge for a roof. We met Al and Robert and Rick. We heard the story of Rick who had lost his oldest son 3 years ago and because of a daddy's broken heart he just never could go home where all the pain lived and so now he lives on the streets. We sat beside some of the worlds forgotten who have not for one day been forgotten by God and we learned the beauty of a life, the beauty of entering into suffering with those who suffer, and we learned that we're all so much more alike than we are different.
I was so incredibly touched by these precious people. I watched my friend Nathan do something that taught me a books worth of lessons in a 1 minute conversation. He looked at these 2 homeless men that he has now spent time with and developed a relationship with, and he said hey guys can you do me a favor...he said my sister has been sick for a couple weeks with a 105 degree temperature and they can't figure out what's wrong, so will you pray for her?? I watched intently through teary eyes to see their reaction, to which both of them said, yeah of course buddy we'll pray for her, and in my heart my face hit the floor. I thought, what a gift Nathan just offered them...this was no longer "the homeless guys" and Nathan...this was 3 friends sitting around sharing life and caring about what happens to one another. I watched what I believe God asks us to be without all the barriers of fear and pride...without all the walls and the stuffiness that accompanies them...I watched the "church" be the bride of Christ and walk where He would have us walk and I wanted to be a part of it for as long and as often as I could.
So while I'm home, I'll be fundraising, but I'm gonna also be looking now for opportunities to love on the forgotten of the world and the down and out...I'm gonna try to be their friend, no matter what that may cost. I'm gonna learn more about being like Him, cause I know He wants to teach me.
I'll keep in touch...blessings!!