First things first, I have some bad news. My father has passed away. He admitted to being an alcoholic a few months ago, and he quit cold turkey. His body couldn’t handle it and he had a stroke/heart attack yesterday. He was doing so well, and I am so proud to call him my earthly father. Please pray for my family as we go through the mourning and healing process.
What about my trip?
I am still going to Cambodia. About a month before I left, God asked me if my parents died, would I still follow Him. I had to stop and think about it for a minute, and then I remembered that verse in Matthew 8. “…a teacher of the law came to him and said, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’ Another disciple said to him, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury the dead.’ So, I am following my heavenly Father into the path He has for me. Yes, I am grieving. I have cried and will definitely cry some more. I miss my dad more than words can say. But God has called me to this, so I am obeying Him and trusting Him in everything.
So, onto what’s going on at training camp.
It’s definitely been interesting! Two days ago, we arrived in Atlanta together as a team at the airport, where we received “Super fun envelope #1” from AIM (Adventures in Missions, the organization I’m doing this trip through) staff. The contents of said envelope were instructions to find “MARTA”, the Atlanta transit system, and enough money for all of our tickets. We rode the train for a few stops until we came to ours. Then we proceeded to walk for a few blocks. Did I mention we all had our backpacks with us, most of which weighed 50 pounds? Yeah. Totally made it that much more fun.
We found our way to Safehouse, a place for homeless people to have a roof over their heads and something to eat. AIM has a big hand with this amazing place. Bugs crawl on the ground on the lower levels, the carpets are ratty, and the walls are covered in graffiti; not the type of graffiti that you would expect, like bible verses and testimonies of how God saved them. So good.
After supper and debrief, as well as an intro by one of the AIM staff, we received “Super fun envelope #2”. Our instructions were to out into the city, hear people’s stories, share yours maybe, and just show them Jesus through any which way the Spirit leads you. My wonderful team and I decided on walking to the nearest park. Can I go completely off topic here and say my team is so amazing? They are wonderful women of God seeking after His heart. And they’ve been ridiculously loving and supporting with the news about dad and my decision to stay. I seriously love them more than I thought I could love a group of strangers after not even three days of being together. Anyways, we decided to split off into two’s once we got there. I went with Kerina, who by the way, has such a wonderful energy about her, I almost don’t even miss coffee when I’m around her. Almost. So, she saw a man sitting on a park bench. We wandered over there, sat down with him and introduced ourselves, shaking his hand. We had a light conversation with him (just about the city and the weather, I asked him how he got to Atlanta). I was fully expecting God to show up in a big way. But I heard God whisper, ‘Be still.’ So we said our goodbyes and left. God showed me that just by shaking his hand and wanting to be around him, wanting to strike up a conversation about him, showed him love, and that God was in the tiniest things. Talk about humbling.
After re grouping, we did some ATL in ATL (Ask The Lord in Atlanta). One of our leaders felt like we should go to Burger King. We failed miserably finding one, we wandered around for a good half hour to forty five minutes. There were lots of drunk people around, one in particular was slouched over a mailbox, looking quite dehydrated. Elle, one of our team leaders, gave him her newly purchased, ice cold bottle of water, along with a rub on the back.
I am fully convinced that we wandered around just to give that man a drink of water.
See? All about the little things. For serious.
The next day, we disembarked to AIM headquarters, near Gainsville, Georgia. Our first day of actual training camp. To sum it up, it was all being sweaty.
And dance parties.
And waking up more sweaty than when you fell asleep. And finding out you can sweat buckets just by standing still. In the shade.
And being excited about a shower (which was a hose with only one temperature:Cold) and then getting all sweaty and dirty two minutes after you step out of the “shower.”
The evening worship service was great, the speaker talked about breaking out of ‘prisons’ of sorts, anything that would keep us from being who God made us to be in Him. Holy Spirit was all up in thuurr!
Second day of training camp:
It was all about team growth and feedback, as well as hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice. And declarations over yourself, about who you are in Christ. It was so good. Tonight I cried some more for dad. I miss him with all my heart. But he is happy with Jesus now. And before I know it, we’ll be seeing each other soon.
Today has been about debrief of culture, safety, blogging, the basics. Worship this morning was great. Hearing God whisper, “Lift your hands to me, child” was probably the highlight. I love it when I hear God’s voice. It’s the most beautiful thing on this planet. For serious.
The bonding that has happened with my team is crazy. I don’t know these girls. I don’t know their likes or dislikes, I don’t know what kind of music they like, if any, I don’t know if some are bookworms like me, but I love them. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s crazy how God has put us together.
Alright, that’s it for now. Love you guys!