Well, this week was awfully stressful. But first, let me tell you about last weekend.
I attended an all-day conference at Emory University’s Law School on Saturday. It explored poverty in relation to a number of other topics. The sessions I attended were about poverty and healthcare, and poverty and the criminal justice system. Both were extremely interesting and informative, and have made me start re-thinking my plans for graduate school. My current plan is for a Master’s in International Development, but I’ve been thinking I should look into policy or law (although actually going to law school sounds atrocious). But who knows what my aspirations will be at the end of this year…
On Saturday night, our neighborhood coffee shop held a community movie night. We sat outside and they projected A Night at the Museum onto a large screen on the side of the building. There were lots of kids and a few other people from our neighborhood. We invited our neighbor Brandie to come with us, and I think she had a pretty good time.
We were invited to dinner at a neighbor’s house on Sunday after church. We ate fried chicken, collard greens, and corn bread. Have I mentioned yet that I love the South?! They have great hospitality and amazing food! And it was such a blessing to spend our evening with Gloria.
And then this week happened… It wasn’t terrible, it was just really busy and tiring! Our three Atlanta Mission Year teams volunteered this week at a big Christian Conference called Catalyst. So this is what each day looked like this week: I woke up at 6am, went to work for eight hours, got home and ate dinner as quickly as possible, got in the car and drove for an hour to get to Catalyst, worked at Catalyst for two hours, got in the car and drove back home, then went to bed around 11 (which is past my bedtime). I was extremely tired, to say the least, but it was also fun to help out at an awesome conference. We attended the conference last night, heard Francis Chan (author of Crazy Love) speak, and went to a bunch of booths about fighting against poverty, oppression, and injustice. (Also, I got a coupon for TOMS, so if anyone wants it, let me know and I will send it to you!)
My birthday was on Tuesday. I’ve been away from my family on my birthday before, but for some reason, this year was extra rough. My mom sent me birthday cake mix, frosting, and candles. My housemates made it for me and gave it to me right when I woke up (at 6:00 in the morning)! It was really nice of them and a good start to my birthday. Besides them, nobody really knew it was my birthday, as I’m not really the kind of person who goes around and tells everybody. I ate my birthday cake alone in the kitchen at work. I wasn’t upset that nobody celebrated with me; it wasn’t their fault because they didn’t know. Rather, I was homesick and sad that I wasn’t able to spend my birthday with people who know and love me and who want to celebrate with me (Thanks so much to all of you who sent me facebook birthday wishes!!!). Through all of this, God reminded me that my birthday shouldn’t be a day of people patting me on the back, but a day of praising God for the life He has given me, wether that celebration is with others or by myself! I was homesick, but God encouraged me and reminded me that He planned my life before I even had a birth day. Jeremiah 1:5-8 says,
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child;’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
This helped me to remember that, although things might be rough sometimes, God has set me apart and has placed me here to do His work. I know that my relationships here will develop with time and that God is with me every step of the way.
From Atlanta, with Love
P.S. CNN is doing a story on my friend Harold, who is on the East Point Mission Year team here in Atlanta. They will be following him in his ministry about once a month. This video is the beginning of their story! Check it out cause it’s pretty awesome!