the end of this week marks the halfway mark of this summer. time flies. i will be flying home exactly a month from today. i have officially been away from home 49 days and come home in 29 days.
this will be brief and a much less in depth story of my week.
god is amazing. as always. there is zero way i could be here (in every sense of the word) without Him. He gives me the words to say, the energy to be awake, the patience throughout the day, the reassurance when it all feels like its failing, the comfort when i feel alone, the strength quite literally to constantly be lifting paint/ladders/etc, and he grants me peace when it all seems to be on the edge of crashing down or falling apart.
he moves the rain clouds. breaks the hearts of this community. shatters hearts of students and adults who come here for mission trips. he makes the paint last and the students remember why they’re here. He does it all. not me.
this summer, as i’ve said before has been yet another step in moving past my control freak nature. it is all God. there is no way i could deal with any of this.
constant, consistent, crying out prayer has been the only way. some days, it feels like He is distant. then 3:30 hits and i look at everything that got accomplished and i KNOW He was present because i had no energy and had to be in 5 places at once. He is here.
i’m learning alot about myself, being a team, being in a new community, and being away from home. i miss my friends, i miss my family, i miss my fiance. it’s super hard being away from them, especially while trying to plan a wedding. i do not miss humidity or city smog or busy-ness, but i miss the people. God has sustained me and trust me, there have been rough days, but He is there and I’m seeing that more and more every day as my (and their) lives get busier and communication becomes less and less. being away from everyone i’m close to and doing something as straining as this job has been by far more difficult than I imagined, but God has sustained me through it and will continue to carry me onward. at our training, one of the chiefs of the whole youthworks shabang said the following:
“the God who brought you here to this training is the same God who was with you before and will be with you all summer”
that statement has been more encouraging and necessary than i could have ever imagined. when it feels like no one close to me is here or available to text or talk, God is here. maybe this sounds cliche, but this is life. this is how it is. all the things people say about “God is there when no one else is” have rung true in ways this summer. He will sustain me. I NEED Him before breath. before my day. before 6:45am breakfast crew with zombie high schoolers who i will momentarily send off to paint random houses. He is there.
another thing I’ve focused on and will talk more in detail later is getting to really KNOW the people who i’m doing projects for this summer. this week i got to meet an amazing gentleman who’s house i will be painting next week. he’s unemployed, lives alone, and has a beautiful house but he cannot afford nor does he have the manpower alone to repaint his home. we talked about life, cass lake, paint, weather, and an array of other topics, but at the end of it, it was decided that through God granting me the opportunity to meet his brother who gave me his name, I get to be a part of changing his life. i get to send high school kids who have no idea what they’re getting themselves into out to paint this mans house, hear his story, and be potentially changed forever. we talked and talked. he just needed someone to talk to. i’m not sure if his wife died or what that situation was, but he simply has a need and told me that if others need it more, i should put off his project. one of the most humble men i’ve met this summer.
then i got to finish another project. easily the most complicated all summer. a 2 floor house with random nooks and crannies, lead paint, too tall ladders, and chipping paint. he does all his own home repairs because he takes pride in his home, but he is on a random income from catching the minnows for the town bait shop, so the projects don’t always get done to the quality he’d like or in the time he’d like. so we met at the gas station, he said “you should come paint my house” i said sure and set it up. it has been a beautiful journey full of ups and downs because his wife isn’t as excited about us being there as he is and makes that clear, but at the end of this week, he told me he was so greatful, that he could see a change in her, and it had been something he’d been trying to get done for years but by himself he couldn’t do. 18 high school kids. 15 gallons of paint. a life transformed. all he could do was stare and with glazed over eyes say thank you.
i love my job.
being away from home is hard. missing tom is hard. missing out on the typical summer-ness especially in my last real summer is hard.
but it’s all worth it in the end.
pray that i continue to remember that. pray for our team to be unified again. pray for overly caffeinated coffee. pray for great weather. pray that our hearts would remember why we are here and we would communicate that to the kids. pray for humbleness. pray for passion. pray for doors to be opened, lives to be changed, and radical things to take place. (more details soon). pray for the kids that will get here tomorrow, that they’re hearts would be opened and their eyes would see the hurt in this community.
and continue to pray for my grandfather. the news of his cancer was released this week on sites like the tennessean and as i google, apparently every other news website. he undergoes surgery july 22 and appears very optimistic. i pray it goes well. i pray for quick recovery. i pray for strength in my family and for the hearts of those who do not know Christ‘s love closest to this situation to be opened to His love and to see it through this situation. please pray for these things with me.