So now that I only have an hour of internet time I week I find myself thinking ... hmm... what should I write about next week?! What would anyone want to know.
Something that has been on my heart that I'd like to share is my sister Julie.
Many of you may not know that I have a sister in heaven. Her name is Juliana Christine. She is a bit older than me but I've not known her. She lived for 3 days and then entered heaven. I, for as long as I can remember, have had a closeness with her. It was always comforting to have an older sister who I could confide in and rely on. In fact... now that I have two older sisters (Julie and Denise) I have them both on wedding planning detail. Life doesn't get much better. Anyway. I digress... Like I mentioned, I've always had a closeness with Julie. I could always tell when she was around by feeling her presence or, more concretely seeing a white butterfly. Every year on her birthday I see a white butterfly and then some random times during the year. I always know it's her. :) Since I've been here I have of course missed my family and friends. I've longed for someone to be close too. I also want hugs. People are not huggers or touchers here and I am SUCH a hugger. All of this story is to really say that Christ is so faithful in granting the desires of our hearts. Since the day I arrived here I've seen a white butterfly EVERY day. I know that it is Julie. God was able to let me know and see her presence and be comforted at having family around. Yesterday when I was running (Yes, I've become a runner... 45 minutes a day!) a white butterfly landed on my arm and hung around for a bit. I love it and have such joy knowing that even the little things, the little desires of our hearts are noticed by God and granted. We are SO LOVED!
Onto something else...
This past weekend we put on a mission for a parish in Howell Michigan. I was leader of the youth team and was working with some amazing other young women. we put together a night activity and if I can figure out how to post a video of it I will. Our theme was Mission Possible: Heaven. A total hit. The weekend itself was non-stop and lots of work and very rewarding. I believe overall that I scraped like 3 barrels of chipping paint off the ceiling of the church as part of the humanitarian mission and then for the evangelical mission we all overall knocked on over 370 doors. TONS of walking and lots of talking. I mentioned it before and I'll mention it again lest anyone gets the wrong idea; we did not knock on doors to convert people. We went out to neighborhoods on behalf of the local parish to invite people to church and to ask if they had any prayer intentions. It was more about loving the people we encountered than anything else. One thing that surprised me the most was how many people have nothing they want prayed for. NOTHING... I can think of like a million things I need prayer for. I suppose that when you're caught of guard it could be difficult to come up with something... and thankfully most of the time life really is good. I would just ask that each of you look at your life and think of everything... good and bad and bring it before God. Either as a prayer of thanksgiving or asking Him for help. Any conversation is good. :)
Life here is getting "easier." By easier I mean I'm adjusting. There are still the daily struggles and things I don't understand... but I carry on. I have such a peace about being here and no longer think about coming home everyday. I've embraced this time and know that it is changing me and making a stronger woman already. The classes that we take are great and I'm really learning a lot. Lately we've been focusing on understanding Gods Will and also on a bunch of moral issues and natural law. Ladies and gentlemen I'll come back smarter for sure... woooo!
Ohhhhh, so last week we had this ridiculous event called "Fun Olympics" I'm not going to go too much into it, only to say that it is TOTALLY out of my comfort zone and not something that I enjoy... so I learned sacrifice. :) I'm also a team leader and chose to embrace the opportunity to set an example. I'm proud to let you know that my team won EVERY event. Yes, the ultimate champions. It was quite gratifying. I also took a little trip to the emergency care clinic because of these Olympics... Word to the wise: When you're competing in tug o war don't wrap the rope around your hand. We were all thoroughly convinced that my hand was snapped in half. Painful and swollen to twice it's normal size. Turns out it's nothing really, just some pretty bruising and lots of motrin. You live and learn. :)
As far as spirituality is concerned... I'm growing in leaps and bounds... well, maybe not bounds. Christ reminds me daily that this year is a gift. Both from me and to me. I've got to embrace it and understand that truly, a year is nothing to give to someone who gave their life. I just read a testimony of a young 23 year old man who was a co-worker. He talked about how heroic he thought he was that he left his job, girlfriend, friends and lifestyle etc. He was so proud until he looked at what he'd given up from the viewpoint of the cross. When we look upon our lives from the vantage point of the foot of the cross all that we do pales in comparison to Gods gift to us. It also inspires me to give more generously and with a joyful spirit.
I'll end with an old cliche... Our life is a gift from God, what we do with our life is our gift to him.
Love to you,