Hey everybody! Checking back in here from Ahousaht. As of today, I’m closer to the day I leave Ahousaht than I am from the day I arrived back in May. We’ve made it full circle, June 27th will mark 1 year of serving on my mission in Ahousaht. It definitely hasn’t felt like a year. Sometimes it’s felt like 5 years, others it’s felt like 5 months. No matter how it’s felt though, I can look back and say I haven’t regretted a second. The closer it gets to the end, the more God has revealed how He’s been working in my time here. There’s also still a lot of work he’s doing even in this short amount of time. I’ll tell you, it’s the busiest I’ve been yet.
I thought things were gonna slow down about two weeks ago. I volunteered as a chaperone for a youth conference over the weekend. I had all the boys I normally hang with (Xavier, Lennox, Moses, etc.) and some more all in my cabin, so we got no sleep of course. We had a good time, lot’s of hanging out and basketball, until the last day that is. On our last full day, we had plans to borrow the other chaperones car to go see a movie. An hour before we left, we were playing a game of basketball and I landed on someone’s foot and rolled my ankle super bad. I heard a nice pop and pain ensued. Next thing you know, the movie trip became a hospital trip instead. Thankfully, nothing was broken, but it was a bad sprain. I’ve been out of commission since then.
At first, I thought it was going to be really challenging to stay busy. That first Monday home was torture. It was sunny out, but I couldn’t even go out and enjoy it because my ankle hurt too much to walk on. Instead, I loafed around the very hot lighthouse and felt bad for myself for the day. By the time Wednesday came around, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself after reading Job. First, he went through a whole lot worse than I was going through. I just temporarily lost my mobility to play basketball and hike to my quiet spots. Sucks, but not I lost my family and my wealth and pretty much everything type of sucks.
I was more seriously impacted by the end of Job though. If you’re familiar with the book, it’s basically three chapters of Job getting demolished and losing everything, another forty plus chapters of Job and his friends speculating as to why this happened and questioning God and Job and Job questioning God until we get to the final chapter and God himself literally talks to Job and his homies. God doesn’t really answer Job’s question of why he lost everything though. Instead, he describes all the intricate details of the universe and its peculiar workings. He describes fearsome beasts, animals that run through the forest and the mighty waves themselves. All those things run through God, everything is connected and God connects them, so how could Job even begin to understand why what happened to him happened when his perspective is so tiny. That’s what shut me up. Sure, I didn’t understand why God would let me lose my mobility which was so key for staying healthy, physically and mentally, and got me involved in the community and other people, but how could I understand most things that happen? There’s way too much at play that I don’t see.
It’s hard for me to take a step back and accept that, but I’ve been trying. The next day, two of the Bible Ball boys practically moved in with me. That was over a week ago, and as I’m writing this they’re still moved in and have been over every day. I woke them up all week for school, which was torture. Getting teenagers out of bed after they stayed up too late is not my ideal start to the morning anymore. I can barely get out of the bed myself since they kept me up too. Now I understand my mom’s struggle with myself over all these years. Sorry mom. Also cooking and trying to keep things clean takes more effort than I had imagined. I would criticize them but it’s just a pure reflection of my entire life up to this point coming back to haunt me. However, I’m thankful that they’ve been over as much as they have. We’ve grown a little too close if that’s possible. I mostly just want them to see how I live though, so that can stick with them if nothing else does.
We got to have another Bible Ball meeting last week. It was honestly my favorite so far. We all took a little canoe and paddled out to some on the neighboring rock formations in the water. After swimming and hanging out in the sun for a while, they asked if I could tell them the next Bible story. Thankfully I was actually prepared and I got to share with them the story of Mary. I was planning on leaving them on a cliffhanger after God plants baby Jesus inside her, but they asked if I could keep going and just finish the whole thing. Never before had I been more thankful for all the Christmas desserts and Sunday School lessons about this story because I hadn’t spent a lot of time practicing what I was gonna say and I didn’t have my Bible with me. We got through it pretty smoothly and now I’m excited to pick up the story and see how far into Jesus’ life we can get.
Lots of other exciting things have been happening as the school year comes to a close. This last Monday, the school had its seventh-grade graduation. I was lucky enough to have my sister by adoption ask me to be one of her escorts to walk her up to the stage. I felt so honored when she asked me.
Her whole family is very special to me, they’ve fed me countless times and housed me and Charlie for three weeks long ago when we couldn’t stay in the Lighthouse. I know I’m gonna miss all of them when I leave. But back to the grad. As you can see in the picture, I was severely underdressed. I left all my nice dress up clothes at home because nobody needs to dress up for basketball and swimming. I didn’t realize I’d have to dress up all fancy and she didn’t tell me until the night before. I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to escort my little sister because I didn’t have a suit and tie though. It went pretty well except I knocked over the decoration tiki pole at the entrance because I’m a klutz.
Sitting there and looking at all the graduates started to make me super emotional though. I normally get sad when I think about leaving because of the boys who come to the Lighthouse, I’ve spent a lot of time with them, I enjoy them and I really care about how they turn out and I wish I could keep being a part of that. However, when I looked up and saw all those kids up there, I realized I’d become invested in all of them too, and all their little siblings and their older siblings. It’s a whole community I’ve been invested in for the last year and I’m saddened to leave that and that I won’t get to see them all grow up. I’m very tired though and looking forward to some time to rest at home from my work here.
I remember an elder telling me that it’s each individual’s responsibility in a community like Ahousaht to teach whoever comes to you a little lesson, whether it’s formal or informal. Every kid that comes by and you spend time with leaves with a little lesson to take home by the way you conduct yourself. I loved that opportunity and responsibility. I also really love all those kids that were up there, and when I saw them sitting there I realized I’ll only be able to pray for them from a distance pretty soon here. I’ve been thankful to leave a little piece of myself or more hopefully Jesus with all of them though. I just pray and ask that you all pray that can be expanded over time.
This blog is going on way too long but if you’re still sticking with me here, props! Just one more thing to share with you guys. I’m currently organizing and planning an opportunity for the guys from Ahousaht we’ve been praying for to come down to Federal Way for a week and see how life is over where I live! I thought it’d be a fun way to end our time together and a good final send off. A little more ceremonial than a goodbye hug at the dock and then disappearing for a while. We got some super fun stuff planned like laser tagging, shopping in Seattle, seeing some movies and just enjoying life in the city. I’m praying we can fundraise and have everything in place by the time we leave. We’re planning on leaving with the college team from my home church, Journey Church, coming up on July 5-13. The team is gonna pack two of our boys with them and the other 4 are riding with me on the Tofino bus. I’m super stoked for it and I think it’ll be the perfect ending to our time here! Please be praying it can be a beneficial and safe and blessed time.
Sorry, I wrote so much this time, there’s just been so much happening these last few weeks! I just want to thank all of you who have been reading my blogs and praying for me and the boys over here. You guys are amazing and it always makes me happy when I hear someone is excited to read the next update or has been praying for us.
Continue to pray for Xavier, Lennox, Chaasta, Jeremy, Brandon, Moose/Moses (the six coming down to Seattle) to be impacted by the Bible stories and for God to continue the work he’s doing in their hearts.
Please pray for our trip down to Seattle. Pray for safety while traveling, pray that there can be fruitful conversation, proper funding and a wonderful ending to my year here.
Please pray for the Journey Church college team coming down on July 5th. Pray that the team’s time with their host homes is blessed and that God can do some special stuff through them with their week in Ahousaht.
Pray for me to have peace with leaving, direction as I come home and that I can leave on a positive note with the community.