Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Finish where I started

      I'm in Nashville! It's my last day of Love Works: America Tour and I can hardly believe it. This year has been the most amazing, life changing experience and I'm beyond thankful for every day of the journey.
     I got to Nashville on Friday and my time here has been so good! I love that I get to finish where I started. Nashville was my first city of LWAT- where it all began! On Saturday I went out on my own and quickly found some people to feed and talk to. It was a group of about seven people hanging out in a grassy area and they were so open to talk. They were really sweet people too. The one that opened up to me the most was a guy named Allen. He told me about his background and his family life and some of the guilt he deals with about his drug addiction and the way it's affected everyone he knows. It was good to be able to speak life and hope into his life and his situation. The group talked a lot about the injustices they face being homeless. How they really don't seem to have anyone on their side. The government treats them like pests that need to be gotten rid of or at least out of public view, police officers often mistreat them and don't take their requests or need of help seriously, kids throw things at them shoot them with pellet guns, thugs beat them up, and they feel like a lot of the people in programs that are meant to help them don't truly care about them, they just care about the image they want to portray and the tax write offs. It's insane the abuse they take for no reason. Kids they don't even know come up and beat them, throw things at them, and shoot at them for no reason. And then it's crazy how often homeless people, who have hardly anything, get robbed of the tiny amount that they do have. A lot of them can't ever really feel safe because they've been woken up by abuse so many times. A lot of them go through so many things that most of us can't begin to imagine dealing with. These are people with not many to defend them and they're so often overlooked. They are people, but are often viewed as less than human.
     I worked at East Nashville Cooperative Ministry yesterday and today and it was so good to be back there! Yesterday I worked and served in the kitchen. It was so funny being there again and thinking about how much my life has changed since the last time I was in that place. How new everything was to me then and how many experiences I've had now. It's amazing what God can do in nine months! But it was super fun getting to see some familiar faces at ENCM. Two of my friends I bonded with most last time I was here aren't here anymore, which was a bummer. But there were plenty of people that still are! One of my friends I got to see again was Paul. Paul is such a sweetheart! And it was awesome how he remembered me and he still remembered a lot of the conversations we had! It was such a blessing to see him again, especially since Juan and Shannon weren't there anymore.
     If you read my entry where I talked about Paul my first time in Nashville, you know about all his random treasures he collects, one of which is Homie, his little figurine he's had for about thirty years. Today as I was leaving, he gave me Homie!! It was so, so sweet! It's such a little, insignificant thing to most, but it was one of his treasures, so it meant so much that he wanted to pass it along to me!
     Here's me and sweet Paul!

    So today I head home! It's so crazy to me that the trip as planned is coming to an end! It feels like it hasn't been that long since I left the first time, but at the same time I feel a lifetime away from when I started. I can't even put into words how great it has been, and I know I will keep all of these people and memories in my heart for the rest of my life. And even though it's the end of this chapter, I know that this is really just the beginning. It's the first of many adventures to come with the love of my life, my Savior Jesus Christ. If there's any message I would want to get across to people, it would be to just say yes to God. Saying yes to Jesus and accepting Him into your heart is the first yes, but definitely not the last. All God wants is your willingness and it's amazing what happens when you give Him that. When you continually say yes to God, your life will never be the same. It will be so much more amazing than you ever could have dreamed of. And the best part is, He's with us every step of this beautiful love journey. 

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