The Best ‘Burg Around

Currently Listening: “Wild Thing” by The Troggs

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Clearly, I have a problem when it comes to consistent blogging. My last post ended with “Tomorrow I report.” and here I am days later to report. It’s true what they say —  tomorrow never comes! Will adding my name to a blogroll over at BlogHer.com (a blog directory of sorts & active community of women bloggers) for National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) and therefore committing myself to posting on this blog every day for the month of November, starting today, be of any help?? *inhales*

I guess we’ll see! Because I just signed up.

–> back to our regularly scheduled program: Reigles Bible Fellowship.

One week after returning home from Houghton & Northville, NY, my family and I packed ourselves into the car at 6 AM to head for Millersburg, PA. It was only an hour and a half away, but errands & this stop here & there meant that this early start was vital to our timely arrival.

The OMS regional director of the US Northeast is extremely helpful, well connected, & always there for my questions or to offer advice. He also arranged for me to visit Reigles, where a friend of his is the pastor. Reverend Brown had agreed to “give” me the adult Sunday school class, a snippet in the morning service, & the entire evening service. OK — wow!

Not only is that exciting, humbling, & a lot of work, it’s becoming less and less common for a church to so willingly open its arms to “stranger” missionaries. (Sad but true.)

For Sunday school, I tossed out information. By bringing up a myriad of issues that can cause and/or fuel human trafficking (pornography, greed, lust, highly sexualized cultures, poverty, ignorance, etc.) & by refuting common misconceptions of trafficking (it’s only about sex, it’s only overseas, etc.) I hoped to create discussion. This was definitely the case. We talked about how overwhelming the issue is. Prevention is important, but at first glance, the idea of going into the world with any sort of plan DOES seem impossible. But from that point I shared a little of what HOPE61 wants to do, how we’ll partner with a community & church, and…encouraged them to come that evening for my full presentation!

After church the pastor & his family took my family out to lunch; then my parents fell asleep on a couple of pews, I fell asleep on the couch in the narthex, & my sister worked on homework. Fortunately we woke up in plenty of time for the evening service. As I looked over my notes for that evening & re-thought the scripture I was planning to use, I found something wonderful…

Happily, my butterflies were much appeased by the genuine hospitality I’d been shown earlier in the day; sadly, they were still present. Every time they fluttered I prayed a frantic prayer for the Holy Spirit to be with me — I know it’s not by my words alone that anyone will ever be motivated to a.) care about human trafficking, b.) support me in prayer, or c.) support me in finances. I need grace & the right words to say, every time I speak.

Over the next forty minutes I shared a similar talk as I’d shared at Northville, adding information I’d learned about Ireland & trafficking since then. (Amazing what you can learn in a week!) And remember that “wonderful thing” I said I’d learned earlier?

The “61” in HOPE61 comes from Isaiah 61, an Old Testament chapter riddled with vivid imagery & a clear call for justice — “trees of righteousness,” “bind up the brokenhearted,” “give them beauty for ashes” & more. During the afternoon break, I was re-thinking some of the scriptures I had & found Luke 4. In this chapter, Jesus is beginning his ministry. He publicly reads Isaiah 61, in effect starting his work on earth with an emphasis on restoring wholeness to those who are broken, most because of injustices.

It’s really something to find these connections between the two testaments. There are hundreds of other scriptures Jesus could have brought up, but God directed Him to bring up healing through justice. That’s something beautiful & worth thinking about — & it became a key tie in my talk that night.

Afterwards the congregation asked many questions (again, reminiscent of a wonderful day at Northville the week before!); as we concluded with prayer I was overwhelmed with the blessings I’d been given from Northville & Reigles in a mere two weekends. It’s incredible to see how supportive people were in their questions and attention! When it comes down to it, it’s the people that make such a difference. The people at Reigles plainly love God, love each other, & are eager to love new people too.

We spent another hour, at least, talking & laughing as the church slowly emptied, and then, back to York.

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