I hope that while you are reading this, you are filled with the joy of the Lord, the peace and relaxation of summertime fun, and the love of your family and friends! It has been a LONG time since I have written...sorry about that. I cannot believe I have been home for the “summer” and am currently back in Ecuador! Time flies!
Let me catch you up:
I arrived home June 2nd and had to scrample to get to Kentucky! Because of Susan’s wedding, I connected with friends from college that I have not seen in four or five years. My best friends and I had a great time meeting up for our annual reunion. Although we don’t see each other for a year at a time, we have such a special sense of family and community and can pick up where we left off and feel like we were never apart. I have really missed them.
Shelli (housemate who is now teaching English in Korea) and I drove from Ohio and spent one night at my folks’ house in Southern Wisconsin, only to get up and make the trek to camp further North in Osceola, WI. We came pretty close to losing a wheel on my car, but found a small-town mechanic to do some quick repairs – there’s always some added suspense when it comes to road trips with Kristin ;).
My camp duty was “Adult Health Leader,” or nurse. It was a bit stressful because if the mountain of medication which kept me up late, but there were no emergencies, praise God! I was the drama leader as well, and we ended up doing quite a bit of improv. My favorite part about camp is seeing the campers who have returned for several years, who grow every year, and get so excited about coming. We had our first annual “prom” for the kids, complete with a DJ and hairdressers to get the girls all gussied up!
I was so proud of “my girls,” the young teens that I have had the privilege of mentoring in one way or another over the last few years. Farrah and Dani, my girls from the Victory volleyball team, were asked to be a part of the leadership, as was Lily, one of the Minnesotans. This was a big step for all of them as they are not the boldest girls, but the ministry has been a great opportunity for them to do many things that are outside of their comfort zones.
A time to Rest…
Since there were two weeks of camp, with a weekend between, a few of us decided to head up to Grand Rapids, Minnesota where several of the teenage counselors are from. It was an amazing weekend!!! The Hopkins family is very hospitable and we all felt at home and rested being there. At the annual Bluegrass Festival I received a lot of encouragement to continue to pursue writing and performing.
Rest is a great weapon against doubt, fear and ineffectiveness. It is something I have be reminded of – often! After driving the girls to camp for the second week, and as the new group of counselors began filtering in for training (including my homies from WCC! You guys are Awesome!!), I took advantage of a few days of rest and reflection. This was an extremely valuable time between the Lord and I, during which I poured out all of the pain, frustration, and anxiety that had crept into my heart and had been clouding my view of God’s love and provision. I also received some very specific encouragement and promises to bolster and refresh my Spirit as I began to plan for the next phase of ministry.
I met Shelli at the Minneapolis airport and we flew to New Mexico together. There was a flurry of activity and reunions with friends and before we knew it, Anna was married. A few of us drove to the Grand Canyon for a couple days before heading back to our prospective states. Then, from Minnesota, I drove home - finally!!! Well, a couple of days later, my mom and I hopped in the car to visit James (the twin brother) and his family, including week-old baby #4, Dean Edward. When I arrived home after that brief visit, I was able to rest a bit, enjoy my family and friends, just long enough to feel settled, and then drove once again to Minnesota to speak, play some tunes, visit some more friends, spend some time with Gene and Jordana. The problem seems to be that I need more time to spend with each of these friends, because it is always too brief. But, I love you all, and I thank you for being a part of my life, and for taking the time to catch up! Life would be so dull without friends and family.
Back in the Saddle
We flew back to Guayaquil On August 8th, a little over a week ago, and hit the ground running. We got in at 1:30 am, due to some delays, but got up the next morning to do a program for a group of schoolchildren. That evening, we held the first of our CVI monthly prayer meetings. We have decided that the 2nd Monday of every month we will fast the evening meal and pray corporately (there will be people praying in Mongolia, Ireland, Ecuador and the States…let us know if you want to join us!). Tuesday we went to Funsiba (a foundation for adults with disabilities), and had dinner with our OM friends, and Wednesday headed to the orphanage! I was so glad to get to see Flor, and the others. When we arrived they were in school, so we spent time in the classrooms. Later my team led the program with a drama about David and Goliath (yours truly played Goliath!). On Thursday we headed for the camp to get ready for the kids! Camp was, as always, a blessing. My camper, once again didn’t show up, but I was able to partner with Christine as a counselor. Karla was such a joy! She is pretty independent, but is in need of friendship. She is a vivacious teenager who loves singing, dancing, and getting beautified! We talked a lot about faith, prayer and her family and friends who don’t know Jesus. She prays with such conviction and passion for them to be saved and for her legs (she has trouble walking) to be healed. She is a good example of trusting in the Lord. She is a leader among the other campers, even taking the initiative to pray for other campers who have a lot of pain or bitterness because of their physical and mental differences.
Well, it is late...pictures and more information will follow soon, as time allows. Please keep us in your prayers as we will be travelling to Quito on Wednesday.