As you probably saw on Facebook, I will be headed to PARAGUAY in July! Holy kamole! I’m so excited 🙂 When we were given time to pray over our outreach locations on Wednesday, Paraguay just wouldn’t leave me alone. I was convinced it was just a word that had somehow gotten stuck in my head though, the way a song does. (I get really strange things stuck in my head sometimes; songs, words, dances, this happens to me a lot.) I was just wandering campus, alone, in the dark with “Paraguay, Paraguay, Paraguay” on repeat in my head. I’d pray about other things for a bit to try to clear my head, think about this and that, but as soon as I’d come back to the outreach question, “Paraguay.” I finally wandered over toward the prayer room. There’s a little fountain there, with a waterfall and some plants, and I went over to listen to the sound of the water while I prayed. I was kind of looking at one of the plants. This beautiful Hawaiian thing with MASSIVE leaves, seriously some as long as I am tall. I was thinking “God is so amazing, these things He created.” Then I sat down to pray some more and finally went, “Ok, even if this is just my head, it won’t shut up, so I guess I’ll put down Paraguay as my first choice.” Immediately, God began to fill my heart with excitement and I heard God whisper, “I’m going to break your heart with the beauty of my creation there. You think that plant is beautiful, wait til you see the jungles there.” I agonized over the second choice (we had to write down two places) because nothing seemed to stick, but I got the impression it didn’t really matter much.
I spent the rest of the night googling Paraguay. History, geography, weather, climate, culture. I was surprised and disappointed to learn that the majority of the country is pretty arid. Well, so much for my jungle thought. But then last night, talking to the team, they assured us that we would get to do some jungle trekking 😀 Hurray! (Hurray? I distinctly remember thinking “I don’t know about that” when people talked about going to the Amazon last year. Oh well, must be God.) When our team leader had us all google Paraguay as we sat together, my last 3 or 4 recent searches were Paraguay related. hmmm. Perhaps I do hear God after all 🙂
As excited as I am about where I’m going though, I’m AT LEAST as excited about my team.
The photo above shows my whole team. It includes our two team leaders, but unfortunately the photo is rather taller than longer, so it couldn’t be the “featured image” haha. Top row is Mary and Luke, middle girls are Delaney and Ashley, then Julie, me, and Greg, then Mariana (team leader), Sam, and Andy (team leader), and the lovely lady up front is Gillian (also known as Gilly Bean). I believe we have a team of very sweet, tender hearts. I know about half of them pretty well, and there were one or two I hadn’t even met yet before last night . One (Julie) is my roommate. The two team leaders are old friends that go back to my visit here last year. I think that might be my favorite part of this team at the moment (although I’m sure I’ll discover more and more to love). I’m sure I’ll see the richness of God’s plan to bring me to Paraguay and the rest of this team with time, but right now I feel like my place in this team has as much to do with Mariana as anything else haha. I really have been praying for a leader who would see and bring out the best in me. Some of the other team leaders I’m sure I could grow to love, but Mariana seems to instantly see what God sees in people. She sees more in me than I do and values having me on her team, and that means SO MUCH to me. I know she’ll help me grow.
So. My place and my team. But, this being YWAM, they couldn’t just tell us this information. Oh no. We had to find it. Scavenger hunt style. Guys, I can’t even tell you how pumped I was when they told us where to find the first clue. CLUE?!??! I LIVE FOR THIS STUFF! The first clue sent us across campus, where we each received a smear of face paint (you may have noticed our orange decoration in the photos). Next, off to the soccer fields to meet up with others of our color, and thus our team was revealed! Next, to the cafeteria, where we found our matching balloon, popped it to get to the letters inside, and discovered…
And there was much rejoicing!
Then it was time for the big reveal of team leaders. One by one, each pair ran around the room, then joined their team with a roar and a smear of face paint! Our team waited, and waited, and waited, and FINALLY got our leadership, second to last. Worth the wait! And then, faces painted, hearts full, we danced! As we do.