For my first two weeks over break, I was home but did not have ready Internet access, so I did not post. And then for the last three-ish weeks, I've been in South Asia on a mission trip with my church that I attend here at college.
(A little girl I had the privilege of getting to hold while we were in someone's home. I could've taken her home with me.)
Let me just say that this past trip to South Asia was so amazing, and God taught me so much through it. The church planter we were able to work alongside is one of the most humble men I've ever known. He welcomed us into his home every night, and his wife made our team dinner although she wouldn't let us call it that. Then one night she made us "real dinner" which was more food than we could handle. We walked through the book of Galatians in five nights with our church planter and our team growing because of it. And we also played badmitton every night because our church planter's son loves badmitton and stinkin' amazing. And our team leader and I make a pretty good badmitton team too if I do say so.
(This was a family who owns one of the schools where we visited. The guy in the dark orange shirt asked for my phone number. I just told him I lived in America, and it was too far. It was so funny.)
We were able to visit the churches the planter has planted. He's done this in less than a year and already has two more locations and people groups ready to start two more churches. We visited a widow's colony that blew me away. It's funded by the government, so the facility is very nice, and the lady's there have a way to take part in a trade and make stuff so they just don't sit and do nothing.
(This is what is known as a henna tattoo. It's a temporary tattoo that some women get when they get married, but the girls on our team got it just because it's cool. It wears off in like two weeks. They apply this mud-type substance that has a weird spice to it and makes your hands stink, but it also stains your skin. You leave the mud substance on and let it dry for like two hours. Then we washed it off, and it leaves a kind of orange-ish brown tint on your skin the same design as the mud was. The picture above is of the mud still on before I washed it off. It's so much prettier than the tattoos people get in the states because it's brown and not that yucky -black-ish blue color.)
We did some prayer-walking, which I'm going to try to start doing more of here in the states because it's needed more than just in South Asia. We went to a couple of schools, but we didn't get to preach or teach English. However, the guy who runs both of the schools is letting our church planter meet in one of them, so for us not to visit would be kind of rude and discouraging.
One afternoon, we went to one of the locations to preach where one of the next two churches will be planted. When we arrived, the owners of the home took us to the roof of the house, and thirty children and mothers already waited for us. Within five minutes, that number doubled, and I was praying the roof wasn't going to cave in. Our leader asked the other guy on the team to preach, and I was asked to share my testimony. And I did.
(This was that roof I was telling you about. And I didn't even get the whole roof in the picture.)
I've shared my testimony before, but never before was it as nerve-wracking and terrifying as it was in that moment, and those people didn't even understand me. I did have a translater, but just the fact of standing in front of sixty people didn't help my nerves at all. And I think having the team behind me, as small as we were, didn't help. But right before I stood to speak, I just told the Lord to let them be His words and not mine. That helped my nerves a little. But it made me a little ashamed of myself. I should never be that nervous to share what God has done in my life. I should be able to talk about it backwards and forwards because it's the best thing that's ever happened to me. I should never be nervous.
As we left that home, all the kids who had been on the roof and all the other kids who had seen us from the other roofs followed us back to our van. All I could hear was laughing and the pitter-patter of little feet following us. When we reached our van, they were climbing on and trying to climb in--all in smiles and laughter. It was one of the most fulfilling and joyful moments of my life. I wish I could've stayed.
(I took this picture from the van, and I wasn't zoomed in. That's how close they were to the van. They're so beautiful.)
We also did some sight-seeing and just had an awesome time as a team. God ordained this team from the start, and it was awesome to see us bond and connect so quickly.
On our way back to the States, we had an overnight layover in London, and it was AMAZING!!!! I'm pretty sure I will be going back to London, somehow, someway, someday. I love London. It's so beautiful. And even though it was late, and we were tired and cold, it was still so awesome. We saw Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Parliament Building, the River Thames, and we saw the footbridge that blows up on the sixth Harry Potter movie--that's just a freeby. I also rode on a subway system for the first time. They call it the "tube" in London, but it's virtually the same thing.
We arrived home this past Friday very early in the morning, and I slept very late that afternoon. It was wonderful. I didn't sleep well Friday night, but every night since then I've been sleeping great.
I'm all settled in at my new place which actually isn't mine, but it kind of is. I started classes on Monday, and I know I will have a busy schedule, but it will be good. I will have lots of reading, but that's expected when one is an English major. I'm taking Shakespeare this semester, and I've heard I will have to read quite a bit for that class. But how awesome is it that I get to study the works of one of the most amazing playwrights/authors in all of history for a whole semester? I'm pretty pumped.
I'm still processing a lot from the trip, and I know I'll think about more things as time goes along, but I just wanted to fill you in on what's been happening lately. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.
Until next time,