The Adventure Begins…

…and what an adventure it has already been! The past four days of training camp in Tennessee have been a whirlwind of new faces, teaching sessions, team activities and reflection on God and his awesome purpose for these next two months. I’ve heard more southern accents, sighted more fireflies and seen more people wearing Chacos, Tevas and Toms in one place than I ever have in my life. I’ve worn two shirts and taken one shower since my family dropped me off at the airport Thursday night (don’t judge me—I’m surprisingly one of the cleaner people here). I absolutely love my team and all the passionate believers we’re surrounded by, and I can’t wait to see how God’s going to use us in the countries where he’s sending us!
            Training camp has honestly been amazing and way more fun than I expected it to be. And God’s teaching me – he’s teaching all of us – a LOT in the short time we’re here. Our team of 30 (split into two 15-person teams) has not only become more united and excited for our journey, but we’ve become united with the other 160 Real Lifers who are being sent around the world tomorrow as well. And it’s starting to show.
            Yesterday each team was given a four-by-eight foot black canvas and red, blue, yellow and white paint and was told to represent what we thought God was telling us about our trip. All the teams went to different areas to brainstorm and pray about what to paint on our canvas. Our team came up with the symbol of a tree because of Jeremiah 17:7-8:
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
            We placed words such as love, acceptance, service, patience and truth in the roots, Christ in the trunk and words such as redención (redemption), libertad (freedom), paz (peace), salvación (salvation) and nueva vida (new life) radiating off the tree. We loved combining our different ideas and we were excited to come up with such a creative representation of our trip. We thought we were pretty original. But when we joined back up with the other groups, we were shocked that at least nine other groups had also used the symbol of a tree! The crazy thing was that we hadn’t talked about Jeremiah 17:7-8 at all during camp. It hadn’t been mentioned in a teaching session, a debrief period or a prayer. It was awesome to see that the Holy Spirit was moving us all in the same direction, making us one in heart and mind and preparing us to serve the Lord together! (Our canvases are still a work in progress, but I’ll post a picture as soon as we finish.)
These past four days have been an awesome journey, and I’m so excited for what’s to come!

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