So, my best friend from home came down Saturday to visit... She'll be here til Friday. I cannot express to you how excited I was to have her come, and now that she's here, to show her around, introduce her to all my friends, show her my church, and of course talk and talk and talk until we fall asleep.. only to restart the next day :) We laugh like crazy and just really enjoy being around each other, especially since it's been so long since we could just hang out without an agenda or having to cram everything into a couple hours. It's been so much fun introducing her to my friends and hearing her perspectives on them, in part because she's heard so much about all of them before she came down, but also because she knows me so well, that she has such an interesting point of view and insight into interactions and the different people. I love it. Part of what I love so much, is how much she truly is enjoying it, and she loves everyone that I do... which is always sooo nice to have your best friend have the same opinion of it all :)
Yesterday I spoke for our Sunday School class. I spoke about Ghana... Gloria (the other girl on the trip) spoke basically about the logistics of the trip, and how it came about. How everything worked out and how our team came to be basically. She made a quick comment about how she was just really blessed to see our group become a team because of how short of a time we knew each other. Then I spoke. And, I'm not gonna lie.. I had NO idea what I was gonna speak on until I started actually speaking. I mean I was asked to share about the trip, in an effort to encourage people to be more passionate about missions.. of any sort. Awesome, do you realize how many different options that left me in terms of sharing about the trip? I mean seriously, I could have just told one story after another, I could have talked about what I learned, I could have shared funny things that happened or things that were scary. I could have done anything.. I could have easily spoken about it for hours..
But, as I opened my mouth and began from the beginning my mind went nutzo.. I mean inside my head I was ping ponging all over the place replaying things I did, saw, heard, felt etc..etc.. And, yet somehow it all came out perfectly clear and linear! haha Go me!... Actually no, not at all.. Go God because it was clear about 30 seconds in that what I was sharing wasn't what I had planned.. or not planned I guess. I really had no intention of sharing half the things I shared, but as I looked out at the people sitting there watching and listening to me, I just felt compelled to be very real and honest. I wanted them to truly just understand. I wanted them to realize how much things like this change your life... But, they're rarely easy.
So, I started out I guess from the beginning.. although I didn't talk logistics at all. And, to be totally honest I can't remember most of what I said, which is how I know it was exactly what God wanted me to share :) Throughout the course of the talk I shared about how everything we had planned fell through once we got there, and we did "Crusades" instead, and how completely and totally uncomfortable I was with that whole concept. That I felt like I needed to "earn" the right to tell them about Jesus.. which is why I am so much more comfortable with working until I'm so totally exhausted that I need another vacation. However, we weren't able to do that, we basically just shared Jesus the whole time... Which obviously serves a purpose, but it also is extremely hard for someone like me to do just that. I talked about the children and how we interacted with them and how much they just wanted us to be close to them and to have our attention.
I explained how the whole 6 weeks prior to the trip I essentially pleaded with God to show Himself to me, to be in my face talking to me, and I told Him all I wanted to Him, to see Him and feel Him and just really be reminded of Him. Then I explained how the last night I was there Gloria and Matt had already left, and I was in my room sorta packing things up getting ready for the last day and just sorta griping to God about how I hadn't seen or felt Him in any extraordinary way. He hadn't shown Himself to me like I'd asked and I was very frustrated cause I couldn't point to anything specific about the trip where I saw Him. Then Jon came in and gave me a note and a rock that Gloria had left him to give me, and after reading it, for whatever reason it hit me and suddenly I saw God. Not because she said anything specific, in fact she'd essentially shared yesterday what she left in my note about how blessed she was to see our group form on the trip. And, for whatever reason my heart broke. I began then bleeding from my chest to the pit of my stomach and I could feel it. I explained how it went on for a month, that almost every night I cried myself to sleep and I hurt so incredibly badly that all I wanted was Jesus.. I didn't want to get up in the mornings, all I wanted was to be with Him. I explained how I felt Him more viscerally than I ever had in my entire life, and I really felt like He was allowing me the chance to see how much He aches and hurts for those who don't know Him. Whether it's cause they've never heard, they don't care, don't want to hear, heard but are to hurt to hear.. whatever the reason my heart aches for them... Which says a lot because Compassion is not my "strongest spiritual gift."
I think overall it went really well, after I was done speaking, I showed the video I made from the trip, and another one I made from another friend's trip. The thing that was the hardest about all of it, was that about half way through I seriously began to struggle speaking. I had to take a minute and pull myself together cause I thought I was gonna cry. I had a bunch of people crying, and that didn't effect me, but for some reason I suddenly in the middle was over come by the emotions of it all and my throat seized. It took me a while to pull myself through, and I didn't end up crying.. which is good :) But, I also didn't look at my close friends that were there cause I knew they were reacting and I didn't want that to make my reaction worse. That was a very unexpected reaction on my part.. I did not think it would be that big of a deal so long later... Whew!
So, in case there's any question, my calling in life is to "Love people for Jesus" but my passion is foreign missions.