Sorry this is almost a week after we returned home. I've been trying to formulate a post that would do our trip justice. I hope this is a slight glimpse of what God did in our lives, though I honestly don't know where to start. Perhaps with a fair warning: this has the potential to grow into a very looooooooong post, just so you know. ;)
So, in case you were unaware, I traveled down to
The last four years have pretty much been along the same lines, planning- and executing-wise. This year was an exception due to ridiculous air-fare. We went down in the afternoon, putting us in
One of our responsibilities while at the Ranch is to provide entertainment - in the form of a two hour game time - for the children every afternoon. The kids are split up based on gender and age and assigned to a team leader. I was assigned as a team leader for the first time since I first traversed to
About a third of the way into the week, we had three people from a Sovereign Grace church in Arizona join our team, and though I was slightly skeptical, we were blessed with some excellent comrades. Lance, Charissa, and Naomi were so helpful. They jumped right in on our work schedule, only stepping out to complete their mission at the Ranch. I was impressed by their humble hearts coming to serve with a bunch of strange people and doing all to the glory of God. Thanks you guys for everything! I wish you could have stayed longer, as you became part of our team once Lance nearly severed an appendage. (NOTE: Lance didn't really almost loose his finger, but sliced it pretty badly. No fears; it's not life-threatening.) Thanks for seving alongside us. It was a tangible example of the active body of Christ.
One night, Wednesday I believe, during worship, Abina was given a prophetic song and was willing to share with us. A little history. Of late I've been feeling like no one loves or cares enough for me to pursue me. Like if I disappeared, no one would notice. I'd been looking to my friends to fill the wanting for value in my heart; a place only God can fulfill. I KNOW God cares for me, but I'd been asking him to TELL me that he cared, to SHOW me I was valued. I was still really struggling with this as we journeyed to
Due to some pretty serious gang wars in Juarez (don't ask me: I just know it was serious enough to prohibit our traveling through there), we had to travel through Fabens. This cut out our annual trip to the market to shop for souvenirs and such. So on the way out, we had to plan with lots of thought. Our plane left the gate at 8:45am, and the airport is about 1.5hrs from the Ranch. The border dosen't open until 6am, and that dosen't provide enough time to get both vans through the border and to the airport on time. We contacted the SovGrace church in El Paso, TX and they said we could crash in their auditorium. Now, this was very different from what we thought would go down, but by the grace of God, he provided a place for us to sleep that didn't include camping in the vans. Phew. We left the Ranch Friday evening, crossed the border, located the church and crashed. Honestly, I loved the change. I am normally adverse to changes (I like rutine, I like predictable), but I was ready for adventure. Two awesome people met us at the church and led us to the rooms they had prepared for us and to our surprise we found piles of comforters and blankets. We had our group devotions and as we got ready for bed, we voted to sleep on the chairs instead of on the floors. Christi Burton and I turned two rows of chairs together and made an almost-twin bed. This was genius. We got some good sleep, but 5:30am comes early. We had to take two trips to the airport, but to our delight we found lemon and butter pound cakes, cinnamon swirl muffins, and white tea * with raspberry!!!* for our breakfast. I was shocked again by the care of the body of Christ. I'm convinced that we take it for granted.
After long flights, lovely conversations with complete strangers from CA about mission trips and first-time visits to the east coast, and discussing all aspects of homeschooling and amateur photography with the director of technologies from St. David's in Raleigh, we finally touched down in NC. YES! Home, sweet, sweet home. It was so exciting to see such an enormous group of people there to receive us. *Plus Nick had flowers and a re-sized ring for his love. sighs. warm fuzzies!!* A pleasant way to end an amazing trip.
As I plot and plan to keep up with my spiritual disciplines, I am excited to see how God will continue to work in my life. I've realized that when he feels distant it's not because HE has moved away, but because I've drifted. He is my rock and will never fail me. He has proved he faithfulness more than I could have imagined.
PRAISE GOD, all ye peoples.
Praise him for his grace.
He chose us out of many,
He chose us out of mercy.
No merit in us did he see;
No merit did we have.
Born on his shoulders, the sin of the world.
Born on his heart, the pain of abandonment.
He saved us from our sins,
He saved us from His wrath.
By his grace, we live.
By his grace, we grow.
By his grace, we learn.
By his grace, we thrive.
Sing his praise.