I'm sorry I haven't been able to post in awhile. I've been busy, and my computer hasn't been working properly. Right now it's in the shop. I'm at my aunt and uncle's rental house in Tulsa watching my two little cousins while my aunt and uncle go to see a movie or two. And then tomorrow, my family and I head to Colorado for a whitewater rafting trip. I'm so excited. But let me fill you in on what I've been doing all summer.
After the school year was finished, I went home for one day and then headed back to Missouri to head out for my mission trip to South Asia. I was gone for two weeks, and let me tell you, God did a great work in my heart. I saw things I would have never seen here in the United States, and God revealed to me just how enormously blessed I am in every aspect of my life.
Our plane ride there and back was about fourteen hours both ways. When we landed it was about eight o'clock on a Tuesday night. By the time we got to the hotel it was close to eleven and we had to be up the next morning by four to leave for the train station by five to get there by six. I didn't get much sleep that night. Then we had an eight hour train ride to our final destination, and that was very interesting. I saw quite a bit on that train ride as I had a window seat. Some things I was glad I saw and other things, not so glad.
When we arrived at our destination, I'll call it B, the missionaries who met us at the train took us to our hotel, we rested for awhile, and then they took us a part of B called New Market. It was quite a shock and probably not the best place they should've taken us on our first full day in this country. But everything was fine, although I wasn't prepared for the begging we would encounter. It was so sad, and I hated to see the poverty of the people.
The next few days were filled with ministering to people at a church, visiting a Muslim mosque, traveling to a city a few hours away I'll call I, and then a few of the girls and guys on our team got sick including me. It was not fun, and I couldn't really eat anything for about three days. But our missionary got us some medicine, and that did the trick. When we returned to B, we went to a church on our first night back and experienced the way the people of this country, Christians in this country, worship. It was beautiful. They greeted us with, "Praise the Lord," or the equivalent in their language. They were so full of joy. It was hard coming back to the states and seeing the expressionless faces at church. The people of this country aren't as free to worship as we are so they take advantage of every opportunity they have. It was sweltering hot and many people were sitting on the floor, but out of the three hours we were there, no one complained.
A few nights later, we did some more discipleship with some young people from this church in the living room of the pastor. We rode up to the house and on one side of the street was a slum, and then on the other side were these normal houses (or at least normal by their standards). Outside on of the houses was this little girl wearing nothing more but a little piece of red cloth wrapped around the middle of her body. She was sitting on a pile of chat, and she was alone. I don't know who she belonged to, but the picture of that little girl will never leave my mind for as long as I live. It was so sad.
I saw many pictures like this one. On the second Monday of our trip we returned to New Market, and this little girl tried to grab my satchel off my person. It was over my shoulder, so she couldn't get it, but it was so sad. Who knows who these children work for if they really are just poor. We were pestered by little children and elderly ladies as beggars mostly.
After we visited our main tourist attraction, we were set to head back to our departure city, and this little boy and little girl were trying to get us to give them money. We gave them food, but no money. We were told not to give any of the children or any beggars money.
It was good to return home, but at first it was hard because I felt like I didn't deserve anything I had when the people we encountered had nothing. But I realized that God placed me here for a reason. I'm to be thankful for what I have, eternally thankful.
It took me about two and a half weeks to find a job when I returned home. I finally found one at a restaurant in my hometown washing dishes. Talk about eating humble pie. It's not the funnest job, but it pays money. I only have two more weeks of work left, so it's all right with me.
And about getting back to college......well, let's just say I've never been so excited in my life to get back to college. I miss the atmosphere, my friends, my normal routine; everything that has to do with college. I probably won't live at home next summer. I'm hoping to move off campus next semester to save money, but if I rent an apartment with someone, there will be no point in coming home. And it will be easier to have a summer job.
So anyway, this is kind of an overview of my summer. Not the most exciting thing, but I am super excited to go whitewater rafting and the mission trip was awesome. I will never forget it.
God has been showing me so much about life and drawing me to him in ways he never has. Our relationship is growing deeper, and as you can see by the new title of my blog, he's teaching me more about grace and the depth of his love. I love him so much, and that's all that matters to me right now.
Well, I'll probably start blogging again when I return to college. Until then.