I was just browsing Facebook a few minutes ago and I saw where one of the missionary wives from missions conference had posted on a couple of our church members walls...thanking them for their hospitality, friendship, prayers during this conference week. It warmed my heart. It made me so very proud to be a part of such a loving, giving, sacrificial body of Christ.
I've been especially thankful for our host families this year. They went above and beyond the call of duty/service. From helping with missionary kids during the week, to having the missionary families in their homes or out to eat for a meal, to taking them to the rodeo...(this is Texas!!!) to being available and present for extra meals, meetings and church activities. I know they are tired...but if they are anything like me, I wouldn't have wanted a "pass" or "skip" card on ANY activity that was offered for me to get to know these wonderful missionary families.
My friend Jaime and her family won't be here this time next year. Instead they will be in Waxhaw, NC finishing up their JAARS training to be aviation missionaries to Papua New Guinea. I am thrilled to see them so close to doing what God has called them to do. I counted this week extra special to be able to spend a little extra time with her and really for the first time since last year, hear her heartbeat for the work God has called her family to do. I kept reminding myself over and over this week "soak this in, cherish this time, take it all in, there won't be another opportunity like this." I tear up just thinking about the wonderful/horrible day that she will get on that plane taking her thousands of miles away to share the most wonderful news with people who don't even have a Bible in their language yet.
God truly blessed me this week. Hearing stories, watching videos of the missionary work being done and fellowshipping with each of these missionaries encouraged me to work hard, persevere with gladness when times are tough, love the lost, take care of the orphans, God will never leave me...and so many more lessons. I'm so glad our church gave the congregation many opportunities to embrace the missionary families and their stories, cultures and history. I know those who took advantage of those opportunities were blessed and perhaps changed. It was sweet watching it all unfold and a sweet testimony of the beautiful body of Christ.