A little over a week ago I asked you to pray for the members of our team by name. I want you to know that your prayers were answered big time.
First, the team had such a tremendous servant attitude. It is hard spending a week with 15 people 24 hours a day. And there are so many moving parts to what we have been doing. So many opportunities to grumble and complain. Nope - didn't happen.
Then, it was amazing to see the way that everyone was loving kids. It's hard to describe what it's like when you arrive in the morning. Kids are covering you up - younger ones wanting to be held and older ones craving someone to talk to them. That's what we were there for, and that's what our team did. With joy.
Everyone really had fun together as well. People from Alabama, New York, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida - all coming together and enjoying each other's differences. Differences that are microscopic compared to what we have in common, the presence of Jesus in our lives. I am going to miss being with them.
It's kind of strange, but I am going to miss them as a community, not just as individuals. Some of them I will continue to see regularly (Macy, Clark, and Steve for sure), and many I won't. I hope to see them all again, either through visits when we travel near to each other or maybe future missions (hint, hint, guys). But regardless, this team - this community, this body - will cease to exist tomorrow. And that's kind of sad for me. But the joy of having done this together will linger on.
And this team was special in its determination to do things that mattered while realizing that the greatest work is that which supports the ones here 24/7/365. They prayed and talked and worked, with the result being a specific plan to meet the needs we were seeing. This was no cookie-cutter mission where we followed a script. This was a living, breathing work and I was amazed to see how it all worked out.
Thank you, Mike, for following God's call to prepare for leadership by being a co-leader. You were invaluable with your servant attitude.
Thank you, Rhamsie and Trisha, for being willing to step out on faith and go on a trip where you literally knew nobody going in. You are now loved by 14 new friends who I think would do anything for you.
Thank you, Macy, Sarah, Mark, and Melissa for following the fire that God put in your heart from previous Visiting Orphans trips to Ethiopia. It has been fun going with you again, and I hope it's not the last time.
Thank you, Emily, for trusting the word of your friend Sarah that this is something you really would want to do. I am so glad you were with us - it would not have been the same without you.
Thank you, Steve and Clark, for following God's call and thus allowing me to have long term friends to support, encourage, and gently correct me when needed.
Thank you, Campbell and Lexie, for together having such a heart for God and the world that you led your families to be part of this. I am amazed to see such maturity in young ladies your age. And you were fun too.
And thank you Tommy, Kendra, and Melissa for giving them that chance, but even more for giving us the chance to get to know all of you. And I know that God did great works because of needs you saw that we addressed.
Yep, it's almost over. But not really. I believe there will be ripples in Ethiopia for years because you were here, and that there will be ripples in your lives as well. God is an awesome God.
Love y'all! :)