Last week, I came down for a quick stop in my hometown, and got to connect with my friend Richard, who has made the Hobbit Hole his home away from home for the past two years. He told me about his plans to go to Africa in the fall with YWAM, which I was just thrilled to hear. While he's still at home, he isn't wasting his desire to serve in ministry - he's been volunteering with World Relief and also has had good friendships with the exchange students at his school. We talked about Fort Wayne, and all the people we both love there, and he took me over to visit the World Relief office in High Point. I got to talk to the volunteer director, and hear about the refugees who have settled in the area, and how the local Church has been so involved in reaching out to them. We asked about any needs or concerns, and got to pray with the director before we left, and once again it was good to be reminded of God's work in even unassuming little places like this.
Next day, Mom and I went down to Florida and stayed with my Grandpa Jack in Jupiter. My Aunt Lori had invited me to speak at her church small group, so I did that Saturday night. I shared about what God is doing in Fort Wayne, and after the meeting many people wanted to share with me what God has been up to in their lives. It was a "mega-church" - the kind I'm always pretty suspicious of - but the things I got to hear and see and be a part of for a few hours were very encouraging. The group leader talked to me for a while, and then impulsively reached in his pocket and stuffed some dollar bills in my hand. "I just feel like God wants me to give this to you," he said. "I don't even know how much, He just said to give you what I have. Not really sure why, except that your story blessed me." I waited until we left to even look at it and count it, and carefully tuck it away.
The next day, we got to visit with Jenni, a dear friend and mentor to me, someone who has greatly impacted me and my desire to live in organic, intentional ministry. She told me about her family - her kids, who are like cousins to me, and her 16 (and counting) grandkids - and about the ongoing ministry she has at her house, as an open door and a safe place for people in need. I always love my visits with Jenni, though they are never long enough.
That night I hurt my ankle pretty bad, so the next day we drove back to NC, where I went to the doctor, got X-rays, and learned that I had sprained and bruised it, and with ice and elevation it would be ok. Of course, my insurance is in Indiana, so I was going to have to pay for my visit. And would you believe it, when the receptionist told me what I owed, it was the amount that the group leader at my aunt's church stuffed into my hand. What a blessing and relief that I could count out the amount in cash right there and have it taken care of!