Today I was completely and totally blessed. I had a great Bible Study time this morning. Study was on what blessings accompany faith, patience, and perseverance. If you are interested, look them up in Psalm 130:5-7; Galatians 6:9; Hebrews 6:12; Hebrews 10:35-36; James 1:3-4; and James 5:7-11. A great list of blessings.
Then we had a devotion together and Gene reminded us not to criticize - Romans 14:13. It is so important as we think about things that are different than the way we would do it - whether it is in a different country or back home. We aren't to tear each other down, but to build one another up. James 4:11-12 speaks of this as well.
I also read a verse this morning about blessing others and then being blessed as well. I can't find it now and super sad about that.
We then had training about what to do and not do, say and not say here. Such as we say pants, but here pants go under trousers. So if you tell someone you like their pants you are telling them you like their underwear. We learned how to start conversations and relationships with the locals - what are good questions to ask, what aren't, etc. Then we had to write "our story" in 100 words or less. I actually did it - I think I had 98. He asked for volunteers to share it - and I honestly think that I was almost pushed out of my chair. No, not Pam, but God. I don't know why I felt the need to share it, but I did. Maybe God knew I needed to practice it out loud first before I had to share it during the real deal.
Then I met Jeannie. She is my hero. Poor Pam and I were having Coke withdrawal. She drinks Diet Coke and I drink Coke Zero. There have been no sodas since we left the States and we couldn't even go buy any because we hadn't had time to have money exchanged. She said she would take us to get sodas after training. That was the sweetest thing. I appreciated her desire to get us our Cokes. Turns out as a local she didn't have to stay as long as we did during the training, so we thanked her for her thoughtfulness and she left. A few minutes later, this new hero of mine walked back into training and left Pam and I 3 Coke Zeros and 3 Diet Cokes and 20 pounds! I didn't even have a chance to say thank you and she was already gone! She is working with Run the Race though, so I know I will see her again to thank her (and give her the pounds back - we finally had a chance to exchange money). I know some may think that Pam and I are crazy for needing the soda. And buying the soda may be so minor. But it blessed me beyond measure. I got all teary-eyed. This sweet, sweet woman felt so inclined to locate the thing Pam and I most desired at that point. She had only "known" us an hour or two as she sat at our table during training and she heard us talking about trying to locate some soda. The fact that she went out of her way to bless us with what we needed (yes, NEEDED) was so powerful to me this morning, especially after I had read that verse about blessing and being blessed.
And Derek - kind soul that he is - got us each HUGE diet coke and coke zero! What a great man!! Needless to say, we are hooked up now!
So many other things happened today and it was such a beautiful day. We did a prayer walk for 45 minutes and prayed over the common where events were going to be held. It was so powerful to see all those people walking over the common and praying.
We have been so blessed to be a part of this so far. I am truly humbled that God knew He could use me so He brought me here. What an amazing God I serve. Can you see a recurring theme? My mind and my heart are overwhelmed by God's blessings everywhere I turn today.
Prayer requests for our team:
- please pray for each of us
- pray for strength and endurance as we will be setting up some more tomorrow for the opening ceremony then will be doing the opening ceremony festivities into the wee morning hours (it ends at midnight, then clean-up)
- pray for the opening ceremony activities - that our preparations go well so people focus on relationships instead of logistics that went wrong, etc.; that the people God has chosen to attend this event will be there; that their hearts will be prepared; that we will be His hands and feet; and that in all we say and do He will be glorified.
Prayer requests for me (and Mary):
- please pray that we get some sleep. It is 12:13 am here and we are both WIDE awake. And no, it isn't the coke. I couldn't sleep last night either and I hadn't had coke. Mary didn't even have coke. I just can't sleep.