We then went into the banquet room and found our seats --because I was busy talking to our newly made Chicago friend, we ended up in the side room. A little disappointed because I like to be up front and close (I drive my kids nuts at church sitting in the 2nd or 3rd row.) Gary Haugen shared, Sharon Cohn Wu shared her beautiful insightful thoughts on Psalm 23 and Lamont Hiebert led in worship.
We saw pictures of girls that were tortured and abused…seeing the face of a beautiful girl that you have read about and prayed about just brings tears and rips your heart. But to know that their perpetrator has been brought to justice and that they are on the road to restoration and healing---you see the redemptive work of Jesus and the power of prayer. There were just so many things that I can’t even begin to share them all.
I was blessed, I was challenged, I was heartbroken, I was in awe of God and His people.
It was just amazing to be surrounded by people whose heart and passion matches yours! And to top it all off—remember my table? The person to my left was a previous IJM intern who served in Guatemala City (where Bekah and I are going) and to our right sat a lady who helps to lead an adoption ministry (a dream of mine) at her very large church. She was inspiring and left us with all her info to talk to her more about it. Two of things that are on our heart—God placed people who shared the same right beside us. Yea God! :)
We started off the evening with this quote reminding us of the power we invoke through prayer.
Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it?…….. we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. -Annie Dillard in Teaching a Stone to Talk
We then reflected on Psalm 23 and God preparing a table before us in presence of our enemies.
We heard the story of some young girls who had to testify against their perpetrators of sexual crimes. They were fearful. Their aftercare workers told them the story of David and Goliath and how it only took one small stone to defeat Goliath and that their one small stone was the truth. They gave the girls a stone with the word TRUTH on it. They carried these stones with them into the trial. At our tables were bowls of stone that we were to reflect and write what God was to us right now in our lives.
I chose Provider because God is providing in so many areas of my life. He has provided friends who are there with us thick and thin, He has provided people who share the same dreams and passions we do, He has provided medical intervention for my dad’s cancer, He has provided funds for our adoption, and on and on and on. He is Provider!
Worship—one of my favorite things to do….but what blessed me the most was watching a dad who left with his baby to the foyer. Alone, this dad danced before the Lord with abandon with his little girl –a beautiful sight that brought me to tears. Worship in abandon before His God.
One thing that was neat was that one of the songs Lamont picked out was Come thou fount which has the phrase ….here I raise my ebenezer… He shared he had no idea of the stones. It was wonderful to see people raising their stones high in the air.
Okay..that’s a teensy weensy bit of Friday. It’s so hard to share all of the emotions and blessings from it. I will say if you have a heart for the enslaved, love to pray and worship—make every effort to go next year!
I will share about Saturday tomorrow!