Expectations…

It’s funny how much I’ve heard that word this past week. I’m beginning to wonder what God is trying to get across to me. 🙂 In every day, there are expectations. Like, I expect to wake up every morning. I guess it’s really easy to have expectations without realizing it.

 

I definitely had certain expectations about coming here. It was going to be hot, humid and sticky. My time here was going to be hard, especially the first couple of weeks before I got into the swing of things. I would have to really rely on God to take away my fears and give me a huge love for the people in inner-city New Orleans. Living with room mates was going to be hard… and on and on. And yet, the cool thing is, almost none of those expectations actually happened. I mean, yes it’s hot and humid and sticky outside, but the office that I work in some of the time is air conditioned, my house is kept at a constant 80 degrees Fahrenheit but we have fans and it really hasn’t been too bad. My time here has been absolutely great so far. I haven’t felt awkward coming into a new setting and not knowing anybody. I feel like I’ve always been here and am just part of the family. A friend of mine took me to her house in the city and was talking and all of a sudden, she looks at me in surprise and goes, “Wait, you’ve never been to my house?” and when I reminded her I’ve only been here for about a week and a half, she looked at me and went, “Funny! I feel like I know you, and you’ve just been here and a part of us forever!” That’s not very common for new staff, so I thank God over and over again for helping this transition be so easy.

And as far as the loving the people in the city of New Orleans… well, He’s been helping me with that as well. I just went to a bible study in the city with my friend (same as above mentioned) and a lady who’s her neighbor. She’s not very literate, and has a hard time understanding God’s word. She believes but doesn’t fully let it change her life. She’s been living with her “man” for years, had a family with him and they don’t ever plan to get married. And I loved it! It was soo cool to be a part of God’s working in her heart.

And… after we finished the bible study, we walked outside and there was one of the drug dealers in the neighborhood. It was so neat to talk with him and hear about his life. He just got a real job bussing tables, so he hasn’t been dealing for the past 10 months. He’s in his first faithful relationship. So open and honest and willing to talk about Christ. He’s talking about coming back to church and hearing God’s word. If any of the guys in the hood hit on my friend, he tells them to back off because she’s a real Christian woman who’s waiting for her man and for marriage. 🙂

It was so cool to be there to see how to interact with these people. My friend said, “the key is to surrender your fear to Christ, love on people and be real about your faith in Christ to them. When you love people, they open up and you make relationships that will go a long way”

Needless to say, God’s teaching me a lot and I have to say, my entire idea of missions and missionaries has been changed!

Prayer Requests: For the ability to organize and just help because we have a huge conference here next week and the week after we have 80 volunteers coming, not including extra staff. So it’s going to be a busy next couple of weeks! 

 

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Life in the South…

Well, I’m here! Crazyness! Honestly if you had told me a year ago that this was where I’d be for my summer I’d have laughed in your face. It’s amazing to see what God does. His ways are definitely not my ways and thankfully He made sure that I’d be exactly where I needed to be. I’ve been here in NOLA for about 2 days now and I just can’t get over this incredible feeling of peace and just… rightness. I’m exactly where I need to be right now and God has been making that abundantly clear.

I’m absolutely loving the culture down here. Everybody, including someone you just met, is treated with respect. For example, on Monday, we went into the city and visited some of the work sites and talked to people. One of the home owners was so fun to meet and to talk to. He called all of us Brother So and So and Sister Someone. Being called Sister Anna by a stranger is so different from what I’m used to. But I absolutely love it! I love that everybody is miss or sir or maam. That’s great! 🙂

When we were in the city, we were mainly in what’s called the Lower 9th Ward which is one of the areas with the most poverty and problems. In this small area of the city alone, there were over 1,000 deaths from “the Storm” which is what everyone here calls Katrina. Already, I’ve heard countless stories about how high the water was, how people had to stay on their roofs for days, how some people went up to their attics and were trying to pound a hole through the ceiling when the water rose super high. And yet so many of these people are saying things like “we have everything to be thankful for.” They are so strong. These are fighters who are willing to work on a house and come back after 8 years since the storm. It absolutely amazes me.

 

God is doing amazing things in NOLA! Praise Him!

Anna

Prayer: That I would be able to continue to get out of my comfort zone and talk to people I don’t know. 🙂

1 day…

 1 day left… I cant believe it. Only 1 day1 until I leave for New Orleans. It’s so strange to me that I’m actually leaving and am actually saying goodbye to people… some of them for a long time. A lot of people have been asking me: “Are you crazy pumped?” And I stand there trying to figure out what to say. Because the truth is… I’m not. Oh, I’m glad I’m going and I’m excited to see what God is going to do, but I’m not super excited to be leaving. I actually feel pretty numb right now. And when I do feel something, it’s sadness.

I think it’s because everything has been happening so fast. I mean I graduated and then left the very next morning for a mini vacation at the beach with my family and then since I’ve been back, I’ve been packing. (Hence the picture). I don’t feel old enough to be a senior let alone a graduated one. I don’t feel excited about leaving my friends and family behind.

It’s strange, knowing that there are things so important to me like the worship and drama team that I’m gonna miss so much because I can never really be a part of them again. And yeah, there will be new friends and involvements, but I’m sad that this chapter in my life has ended. And the stupid thing is… I can’t cry. Not really. This morning I dropped off my mom at work and she said something about everybody leaving her jokingly, and I started tearing up. That was one of the only times. I’m that type of person who would rather cry and get it over with than hold all of that emotion in.

Anyway, enough of the weirdness… I’m leaving tomorrow morning… EARLY… And I start this new adventure! Praise God!

 

Prayer: Praise that God made all of my support come in! Crazy talk! 😀

Please pray that God will give me a peace and help me not to be homesick but just in the adventure that He’s placed me, ready to learn and serve and grow.

 

Next post will be from New Orleans!

P.S. My sister and I spent forever packing and repacking my suitcase. It’s kinda crazy!

I’m not old enough to graduate…

“Ladies and Gentlemen! May I present to you the class of 2013!”

I know, I know! I absolutely cannot believe that I’m graduating at 7:00 p.m. tonight. Who said that I was ready, prepared, or even old enough???? 🙂 All I know is I’m not sure that I’m ready. Actually, I guess I should rephrase that! I’ve been ready to be done with high school for a while now, but I’m not sure that I’m quite ready to say goodbye to all of these people. I know I’m probably not going to see most of them ever again. It’s funny how we pretend we will though. “Oh, on break we’ll get together. It’s GOING to happen!” Right! Yeah, I totally believe that when we graduate, we’ll hang out… especially sine we never hang out now outside of school. 🙂

I’ve actually had a really hard time fully realizing that this is happening… like right now! It hasn’t really hit home that I’m never going to get on that stupid bus at 7:00 in the morning, will never have to rush to my next class because my last teacher let me out late. It hasn’t really hit me that I’m going to another state in a week and a half for 2 months… basically my entire summer, after which I come home for a week and then leave for college in Canada. That’s absolutely insane!

The hardest part is figuring out how to balance my time. There are so many people who are wanting to hang out and I can’t do it all. That’s so annoying! For example, my grandparents are here for my graduation, so I’m spending time with them, but these past three days, everyone has been telling me that they want to get together with me, but I can’t. It’s super sad. And last night, when I finally got to spend some time with one of my friends that I haven’t seen in months, some of my other friends come over to surprise me and … surprise! I’m not there. I feel really bad, but at the same time, I have absolutely no idea what to do about it.

Oh well… I have to trust that’s God’s got it and move on. I can only do my best and leave the rest to Him.

Prayer Request of the Day: That I won’t trip on the walk down the aisle… and that all of the final details that I need to get together before I leave will come together!