Monday, April 17, 2006

Moving to Mississippi!

Hey ya'all!
I know it's been awhile since my last e-mail from Trinidad, you probably suspected I was eaten by alligators or something - but I haven't. (!)
Actually, you will not believe what has happened these past few weeks!
I left Trinidad on February 3rd, and spent the weekend in Chester packing up my car, saying many sad goodbyes to all my loved ones there, and in the meantime being near death from my very first case of food poisoning. Nevertheless I was on the road by Sunday heading south for my Grandparents house in Georgia.
On the way I stopped in Maryland at the Naval Academy to visit a friend, who ironically took me out to an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. Yeah, not the best cure for lingering food poisoning, but it was still fun Kyle, thanks! =)
That night I drove down to Virginia-Tech to visit my friend Rob who invited me to stay a couple of days for his superbowl party...Go Seahawks! well...maybe next year.
I eventually made it down to my Grandparents home in Geogia, they live in the cutest little country town called Thomson, where the people are so sweet, and soooo country.
I absolutely fell in love with the people at their little country Baptist church, Union Baptist. Which was good because my Grandma had volunteered me to speak on a couple of occcasions about my experience as a missionary...I hate public speaking with a passion and would never volunteer for it, but for some reason everyone thinks I do.
So I learned some good lessons on humility: learning to do something I hate to do, doing it for Jesus, and thanking people for allowing me to be so uncomfortable. =) But you can't hide your light under a bushel you know? - When God teaches you something or allows you to witness miracles and His've got to talk about it right??
I was just talking with my new Biker friend, and new big brother, about that last night, he was sharing his testimony about how he was a murderer, drug dealer, theif, hitman, and biggest baddest biker dude there was before Jesus saved him. Because of that he has been able to share his testimony at Biker bars and church youth groups...he was telling me that we're all witnesses to God's miracles in our lives, and we need to be sharing it.
Those 2 weeks in Georgia were lovely though.
I learned alot about peace while I was there. I helped my Grandma in her garden everyday, and took long quite walks on lonely dirt roads with just me and Jesus. It was heaven.

I was only planning to stay in Georgia for a couple of weeks to rest and process all that I have been learning this past year, and also to seek and listen for God's guidance on what to do next...I was supposed to be truckin' acrossed country to check out a job I've been offered in Colorado, but the Midwestern winter is getting so bad my parents strongly suggested that I stay in the South for a couple more months.
Soooo I was praying about it, saying "O.k. God why do you have me here for the next couple of months? Two weeks is more than enough rest for me, could you show me specifically what you want me to do/how I can serve or work?" and wouldn't you know it, God answered so fast!
That night I went with my Grandma to a Baptist Womens Missionary Union meeting and after dinner ( let me just interject something really importnant here: =) In the South people are really big on cooking and eating, especially if you're Baptist, apparently "church folk" can't have a Bible study, revival or any gathering without first sitting down to some fried chicken, grits, collard greens, sweet potatoe pie, pickled Okra, and sweet tea! It's a good thing I've been running 6 miles everyday 'cause everyone's always fixin' something to eat. =)
So after dinner we had a guest preacher come to talk to us about the devastation in the Gulf Coast of Mississipppi, from Hurricane Katrina. He said there's a pastor down in Gulfport who is organizing missions teams to work on different projects and people's houses to rebuild the community. The pastor needed someone to come down and help full-time for at least 2 months.
So I'm sitting there thinking "Praise the Lord! Sign me up!"
I called the pastor the next day, he said he and his wife had been praying for me - so this is how God answered both of our prayers!
I packed up my car again, and drove down to Gulfport a day later, after my Grandma's church laid their hands on me and prayed for me.
So I've been living here in the church nursery for the past 3 weeks and it's been Awesome! Hard work, but I get to meet so many great people from all over the country who come and stay with us for short-term missions....
Working in the office gives me a chance to sit down with people from the community as they come in to fill out work orders. I get to listen to them as they tell their story and share their burdens, and pray with them, and cry with them, and just listen. I think sometimes that's the best thing you can do for people who are hurting like this.
All of us in Mississippi sure do need your prayers, please.
There is so much work to do here, we're working 14-16 hours everyday. It is going to take alot of time, alot of prayer, and alot of people to rebuild the homes and lives of the people down here. I think hurricane Katrina may have destroyed Gulfport worse than New Orleans, but for some reason the gulf coast isn't getting much media coverage so most of the nation thinks things are back to "normal".
Hey! If any of you have spring break in the next couple of months and don't have any plans we would absolutely LOVE to have you here. I have some room with me in the nursery, and we would feed you for free, there's so many different interesting projects to do, and you can learn good skills while helping people! I just learned out how to cut, fit, and finish sheetrock in a house the other never know when that'll come in handy.
But good grief I didn't mean to ramble on so long! Thank you always for your love and prayers!I sure appreciate you all and pray for you everyday.
much love!
- Jen
"Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, 'Be strong, do not fear: your God will come'." - Isaiah 35:3-4a

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