Just the other day I began jotting down everything I wanted to blog to you about- adding to a list of thoughts and events that had started the list last week, when I came accross this in my devotional the other day:
"The Lincoln Memorial. The Vietnam Memorial...Mermorials are places provided for us to stand and be quiet, to reflect, and to pass on to the next generation the roots of a nation's heritage. They give us presnt significance because they give the past perspective. My fear for our present rapid-paced lifestyle is that we have so few memorials, so few monuments, even mental monuments. Life is lived in the fast lane. Superficial decisions. Hurry up childhoods...So little time spent stopping and recording segments of our lives in a journal..." (Charles Swindoll)
Many people ask if I do and tell me that I will regret it if I won't. I have never enjoyed journalling- taking time to process everything and write it down...recording emotions that I know will change, but I am beginning to realize that my days and weeks, and this life goes too fast not to. This experience is changing me and I don't want to forget how. These children are growing and maturing and I don't want to forget those formative moments. Evenings pass with saying goodights and I wish I could hold on to them forever. I wish I could remember more quotes, I wish I had more time to talk with them. I don't want to loose the everyday, small joy details of my work.
Usually I share best and process by talking to people- but living on the road is stretching me to communicate in different ways, and I believe this to be one of them. Sometimes I log onto my blog and don't even know where to begin- time has brought about so many things to pass, and in the spanse of time I cannot remember and hold onto all the memories.
Charles Swindoll goes on to say " In order to have perspective we must have mounuments and memorials, places to return to and learn from and talk about and pass on."
I want this to be that place for me, and I want to make a better start by catching you up on this week and where I'm at...
At the beginning of the week one of my close friends and wonderful Auntie to the kids- Sarah, left us to join Choir 31 in their work. Like any family it is hard to loose someone and say goodbye, but we are all very proud of her confidence to go, put herself out there, and be with a choir that was short staffed and greatly needed her. We hosted a goodbye party for her, and the kids sung her a farewell. While the kids continued eating cake and having a dance party the team of us were able to have some last time with Sarah- pray over her, and encourage her as we sent her off.
Before Valentines day this past Saturday a good friend of mine mailed goodie bags for all the kids, and between goodies sent from Lindsey's parents, and valentines from Angela and the Music for life office our team filled the bags and were done tying the ribbons for valentines day with the kids. From the friday evening to Saturday morning the school that we performed in placed us in a hotel rather than host families. So Saturday we suprised the kids with their goodie and bags and all piled into a room together to watch Madagascar 2. I love watching movies with these kids- I think it is quite possibly more entertaining to watch them than the movie itself because they're laughing so hard and are so suprised by everything on screen. A the movie started and Junior, who is quite quiet spoken, opens his goodie bag I hear him say "The Aunties and Uncles- look at all they do for us and what they have given us this morning. I know they love us so much." There aren't any words for that so I just hugged him.
For the past 3 nights I've had the chance to stay with three of the boys from the choir which doesn't happen often! One of the boys, who had just received a sponsor this week, was so excited that he brough home his school bag so I could help him write his thank you letter. As the rest of the boys played pool and ping pong Mo and I worked away at making a final draft of his letter- I even found him later that evening as I came in the room to say goodnight, letter in hand trying to write by the light of a small flashlight. It was such a great stay- when Mo put away his letter I got tackled by the three boys with hugs- and finally after telling them to stop and go to sleep Mo sits up and says "Come back Auntie Laura- your hugs were plastic hugs- I want a real one!" haha
Right now we're back in Austin and I am staying with a young couple- the wife works at the church as a community missions coordinator. I talked to her last night about her work and the programs she has begun through the church. The vision and programs she has set up are incredible. She and her husband do a lot of work in Brazil and have taken part in many music for life summer missions trips to Africa. Her current work in the community focuses on establishing relationships with the homeless in Austin. She spoke a lot about how being relational with these people takes a lot of time and effort instead of just handing them something, or doing a favour and walking away. We talked a lot last night about the importance of a ministry that begins with being relational- I believe it's the only way that deep roots can be planted in any work. Since an end date for our tour was announced to be December 2009 I have thought a lot more about what I want to do after tour. With an end to this experience, life after tour begins to feel more real. I still don't have an answer for what I'd like to do- but more and more I am learning what's most important- who I want to be. I want to be like this family- I want to partner and work in communities- I don't believe I could work overseas but I would love to continue to travel there- and expand my relationships. For the first time I don't feel panicked by not knowing exactly what I want to do, but I think recognizing what is important to me and how I want to live my life must be the first step before making a career choice that can fit that- and I believe I am slowly gaining a better vision of what that looks like...