God bless Joy and Elliott - Thank you guys for letting and making this happen!
So, Monday morning we got in the car to head to PCB, I was so excited I was shaking! this is not a stretch of the truth. Elliott had figured the best way for us to show up would be for them to check out and load the bus and then meet in the lobby and gather them all together to give a last minute talk about "deep connections". That is when Allyson came and got us and we walked through the sea of students at Bigstuf and around the corner and there they were all in a circle, being led by some of our dearest friends (which is such a blessing, because we know their leadership is strong and TRUE and that they will love and pour into these students just as we did). As we turned that corner one by one they saw us and it was one of the most BLESSED moments of my life. Here is a really shaky video of it!
The thing that set this over the top was the way the Lord really just spoke to me over the next hour. Guys, there were so many tears. Grateful, happy, blessed tears of joy and love. I got to hug the heck out of these amazing students. I got to look at their faces and tell them that I love them. AND I DO!
I am going to try to explain this and I hope it makes sense. I felt like all of the laboring over the souls of these students for the last 5 years was just resting in front of me. It has been 5 months since I have seen some of them and when they saw us and teared up and ran toward us and hugged us for long sweet hugs, It was I like I felt the most amazing peace and rest and blessing from the Lord saying, "This is the reward of pouring out your time, your prayers, your wisdom, your sanity, your sleep. This is the reward of your seeking after Me in leading these kids. This is what your life is about. This is living with purpose. Your love of these people has made a difference for MY KINGDOM."
I seriously cannot explain what I felt, so I am chalking it up to the ministering of Holy Spirit to my soul. It was the greatest was squeezing Nicks face and hugging so tightly Christian and Daniel and Shelby, getting to see Kaylee and Chelsea before they head off to college, praying next to Kelley, Bailey and Krista and worshiping with my arms around Holly and Delaney next to Madison and Amy, Seeing one of my small group girls (Katja) as a leader to Josie and Alyssia, seeing Allyson, Katie, Werm and Aaron lead...and seeing one student there who will only know Joy and Elliott's leadership and being so blessed by that thought. Looking at all these blessed students and knowing that they are in good hands of leadership, watching Joy and Elliott lead them... just...wow...DEAR LORD I SAY THANKS!
If you are one of our students, I hope you know how much we adore you and long for you to run after the TRUTH of the Gospel. We pray that you will give your lives up to it! I cannot explain how amazing it was to see your faces and wrap my arms around you! You are beautiful and cherished! Don't give up. Trust Joy and Elliot and let them lead you...they are wise and will work through your "stuff" with you. Let them unpack scripture with you!
And...know that we think of you often and will always be connected! (and you can contact us anytime!)