1. To learn something that is domestically useful: I learned that you can spruce up an antique living room by simply getting rid of unattractive knickknacks! You can replace an awkward statue and with candles, and the room is much warmer and cozier. Also, photographs of people you love, framed and placed on shelves and mantles, instantly turns a rented house into a home. Valuable tidbits for a couple of missionaries on a dollar store decorating budget.
2. To learn something that is just crazy fun: I'm sure there are multiple things I learned, especially from Kelsey and Tall Hannah, but one thing that stands out tonight is something Pam taught me - the pure joy of wearing long, brightly colored, striped, extra-fluffy socks all. the. time. Can't live without them anymore!
3. To make a new friend: Well I've made lots of friends, but two of the most significant this year were Meng Pu and Kelsey.
4. To have a real kindred spirit: Small Hannah has definitely become that most of all.
5. To travel to a new place: Going to Geneva, Indiana, on the Limberlost adventure in October, with the Hannahs and Kelsey.
The final goal was to make a difference. It's kind of a life goal for me, so I can't say if I've accomplished it this year, but I hope I have.
I got an interesting email/blog challenge today: If God were to give you a picture in anticipation of 2012, what would it be? So I went back through the photos I took this year, and I think maybe this is the picture God's given me for 2012:
I took this picture during one of the best weeks of the year - when the team from my home church came up to serve at I-House. One of the I-House teens wrote the word "Miracle" on the black top at I-House, while the rest of the group was swimming, eating popsicles, playing soccer, and sharing life. The time I have been able to spend with these kids this year is a miracle.
That I got to share it with my home church family, and see on their faces that they got it is a miracle.
That the youth program is still growing and bursting at the seams is a miracle.
That hearts and lives are being transformed right before our eyes is a miracle.
That I get to spend another year learning from and pouring into this group is a miracle.
And I fully believe and expect that God has many more miracles in store for the youth at I-House.
I want to go into the coming year with confidence and anticipation that I serve a Saviour who is in the miracle-making business, and his miracles are always wonderful!