I can’t believe I have already been here for a week. It has gone by so fast, but looking back we have been busy every day. We have finished our first week of training, but as Mike said, our real training has just begun. I am so excited that we finally have the whole team here. I love hearing the stories of how everyone followed God’s will for them to come to England. We all come from such different places, but I know this is an awesome group of people and I can’t wait to see what God does through all of us.
We all got to know each other very well, very quickly. This entire week of training was spent together. Nothing says team bonding like Roseberry Topping and whitewater rafting.
Roseberry Topping is this awesome hill, which seems like a mountain to me because I’m so out of shape. When you get to the top, you can see the entire Tees Valley. What an awesome opportunity we had to pray over this area and these people as we begin this adventure of bringing God’s light to this place. We also got to take a road trip to the churches and schools that each of us will be working at and pray over those places as well. This experience seriously brought us all so much closer together already. Personally I think I sometimes underestimate the value of prayer. After that day, I have never been more expectant of the things that God will do because of persistent prayer.
“I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayers for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” -Psalm 116:1-2
I love that. And I would love to see the radical change that could come about if we all join together and continue to pray for this place.
Whitewater rafting was a new experience for me as well. It was tons of fun. Of course I fell out within the first five minutes, but my teammates were there to pull me back up. We paddled as best we could, but I think our guide in the back of the raft did most of the work. When I fell out and didn’t know where I was going, it was a great feeling when one of my teammates extended their hand to pull me back to safety. Almost everyone in our raft fell out atleast once. The next day during training, Emily shared this awesome vision that God had given her. Our team of gap-yearers in a raft, floating through the Tees Valley, with God as our guide. We are doing the best we can, but he is ultimately steering us in the right direction. And as we are going along, we are pulling lost people out of the darkness, and into the safety of our Savior. We were all so moved and excited by this story, it was definitely a source of inspiration, and I am so thankful for these experiences together.
I am settling in well. Most of my clothes are unpacked, I officially have a British phone number, and the entire team has finally arrived. I have been blessed with an awesome host home for the year. I love that God open up the hearts of this family to have a teenager live with them for a year, and I love that I get to be that teenager. I haven’t had much time to be homesick, but when I am, I remind myself that I am right where God wants me to be. This experience was never meant to be easy, but I already know it will be worth it.
I would like to leave you with something that God has been pouring into me this week. I had the privilege to share this with the team during a mini-sermon that we did during training.
“I will show you what it is like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and them follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.” -Luke 6:47-48
It often takes radical faith to truly surrender to God’s will for our lives. But when we do obey, we build our foundation on that faith, and I know that nothing can ever destroy this perfect plan God has.
“The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.” -Psalm 118:22-23
I have to tell you that this verse has been permanently engrained in my mind. It such an awesome reminder, along I am nothing, but God can take me, sinful and shattered, and rebuild me to further His kingdom. This IS the Lord’s doing, and I can’t wait to see where this adventure leads.