Hey there friends and family!
I’ll give a pretty detailed description of my days for this orientation week so that you all can grasp an idea of what my time here at Waco will look like, and then i will begin to phase out of that and just share some really special moments and revelations and experiences with you. thank you for reading!
After arriving later than expected in Waco, I was greeted by a lovely group of fellow interns (and karissa’s car that wouldn’t start at the Mission Waco office. We then drove to the “Intern House” and unloaded the vehicles. This house is old but still in good condition; i love the mysterious feel to it. Reminds me of the houses you read about with hidden doorways and passages. lol. Most of the girls had already arrived and picked their beds, and one of the few that were remaining was in a room that had the word “Hope” posted on the wall in construction paper letters! So I decided that must be the room for me! (this was some of the leftover decor from the house being used as the Dignity House for recovering women.) We loaded my car with 7 people and had dinner at Jason’s Deli. We had wonderful introductory conversation and many laughs!! After that we basically just went home and to bed.
Waking up at an ungodly 5:30 am was surprisingly easy for me (all who know me know that this is nothing short of a miracle)! I hopped out of bed after only 5 hours of sleep. We biked a mile and a half to the Meyer Center to assist with the breakfast for the men and women who slept at My Brother’s Keeper (shelter). It was our first opportunity to meet some of the people we would be serving and sharing our summer with. I have to mention that on the way there, i was navigating with my iphone and everyone was following me, until i decided that going the opposite way down a one-way road was ok (it was 6 am!). I then realized a block later that I was alone. my followers turned down another road! i began to doubt my direction and pulled over in an area that reminded me of the northside of lafayette, (or for my houstonians, think 1960 and 45). lol. but it was early enough where no one was around. i was afraid that i looked like an obvious tourist and lost little girl so i tried to keep my composure so no one would pull over. pulling out all my paperwork from my backpack to find the address was a bit obvious though! lol. i then turned back to my iphone and it led me in the right direction. heavenly tool! i arrived 10 minutes later than everyone else, and yet they were surprisingly cavalier. i guess they thought i took the scenic route!
After meeting the folks at the Meyer Center, talking with Anthony (food services director for MW) and cleaning, we biked another mile to the MW office to meet with kathy. since we were early we went next door to check out the World Cup Cafe.What an adorable place! i especially love the Fair Trade Market inside of it. There are so many wonderful gifts and treasures from all over the world in that little store! McKenzie (childrens program director) treated us to lunch after giving us a brief overview of the childrens program. we ate at a neat place called Food For Thought. good call mckenzie!
after lunch, we did more orientation-type discussion and reviewing rules and regs, and then the interns all collaborated and planned our chapel meeting happening later that evening at MBK (My Brothers Keeper). we went back to the house to nap and practice our music and then went to MBK. this chapel service was so sweet, informal, and it went so well. the men who attended were so receptive and open, and even shared their own stories with us! our topic was “praising God in the storm.” i shared a personal story about a time when i still praised God and trusted God in the midst of a grim situation (my father’s incarceration several years ago.) it ended up being something that God worked out for His glory and for the betterment of my father. after some worship and more stories, one of the men shared that he felt, looking back on his past, that God was with him even in the times when he was sinning and living a life of sin. he felt God’s presence with him, pursuing him. I told him that i knew exactly what he was describing because there were times as a little girl when i remember waiting at the screen door of our trailer, with my 2 little sisters beside me, for our dad to pick us up for visitations. it was so disappointing when our mother would tell us that he wasnt coming because he was “drunk.” it hurt so badly but i know for certain that i felt someone there holding me, wrapping their arms around me. (And I am so thankful for my father’s new walk with the Lord and his journey of recovery over these past 3 years.)
after the chapel, a man came to me and told me thank you for sharing my story, and that it really touched him. he said that he and my father were alot alike. he teared up as he told me that he, too, had 4 daughters and he used to “do the same thing to them” (leaving them waiting at the door). he told me that when i said that part, he “almost fell apart.” he said “thats something you just dont forget.” i could tell that this feeling of guilt and pain and that very real and vibrant image was something he needed to let go of, and forgive himself for. so i told him; i told him warmly and firmly that he needs to forgive himself because Christ forgives him, and to pray that the Lord move on his daughters’ hearts that they may be healed and forgive him, too. He needs to let it go so he can grow. it ended with more sweet conversation and a hug from him. I was so blessed by that.
I’m loving my summer already.
We went to dinner at a Thai restaurant (delicious!) after the chapel meeting. There i met a beautiful young lady, Jenny (wife of an intern), who i shared great conversation with. after a yummy dinner we went to Walmart. i bought more groceries that everyone else combined! lol. at least i wont have to go back anytime soon. when we got home i took a LONG shower (of course, i have a MOP on my head). i prayed that the girls didnt get agitated with me! i then went to bed late, again, and woke up at 8:00am today.
This morning we biked a mile to the MW office for more orientation. it was a bit overwhelming, to hear all the different areas that we can choose to intern in. we will be volunteering for 40+ hours a week, plus we have 3 books to read and write reflections for and discuss. also we have scripture readings that we do as a group once a week, and we must be a part of at least one small group from Church Under the Bridge. We also have a “Goals” paper due next week, and i feel like thats gonna take me quite some time. we still haven’t ironed out the details as far as chores and cleaning in the house. after a ton of orientation, we went to lunch with Gabe (youth program director) where he shared his heart and testimony with us. we had bar-b-que, which im not a big fan of. but im very thankful for the free lunch! we then had MORE orientation and discussion, tons of laughs, and then had dinner at Carlton’s house (staff member at MW) with some of the other staff and volunteers. What a blessing! We’ve already met so many sweet people. we biked .7 miles home to rest for a bit, and then left to come here- We are now at Common Grounds, an eclectic coffee house on the Baylor campus. i think im in love with this place! hopefully i’ll spend some time here this summer. but the way it looks, i may not have much down-time!
well, folks, thanks for caring enough to read my stories! i hope you enjoyed my first few days in waco as much as i have! I pray you are as blessed by my stories as I am by the real experiences.
(sorry for the lack of capitalization and sloppy punctuation. im trying to type as fast as possible so we can leave here and go to bed!)
And yes, I will post pics soon. Lol
love you and God bless.