So, here's some old(-ish) news that I haven't blogged about yet.
I've been accepted to go on a compassion trip with my youth group to Wilmington, Delaware - one of the most poverty-stricken communities in the USA. We'll be volunteering with UrbanPromise over the March Break.
Let me tell you about Wilmington.
:: The first city to have the entire downtown area under surveillance due to the alarming amount of crime.
:: 25% of the households are fatherless.
:: 20% of the population live below the poverty line.
:: 10% of the population live in severe poverty.
:: 25% of children are in poverty (compared to 13% state wide).
:: One of the highest per capita rates of HIV infection in the USA.
Stats that break my heart because I know that every single one of those numbers represents a person.
A real person, with a real story, a real future and real dreams & hopes.
A real kid who sleeps on the streets, a real teen who dropped out of high school to sell drugs, a real mom who can't feed her baby breakfast.
But I know I'll find beauty in all this brokenness, because Jesus is always there. In the quiet places, in the whispers, He is there, slowly replacing brokenness with beauty, darkness with light...
You know how yesterday I blogged about finding my verse? Well let me tell you what happened the weekend after that.
I went to training for this trip, and we were doing devos on Saturday morning.
Half-asleep, (because have you EVER heard of a retreat that involves a bunch of teenagers where the lights went out BEFORE 2AM? I haven't.) I volunteered to read the first half of the passage we were concentrating on (which just so happened to be Philippians 2... See where this is going?). I stopped reading and allowed my teammate to take the second half...
Shine like stars!
Yeah, I woke up, because God just confirmed to me my verse. I mean, there are over 31000 verses in the Bible, but that morning our devo just happened to be about the one and only Philippians 2:15.
I love it, especially since the night before I asked God to speak to me. He did.
I almost didn't apply for the trip. The application form collected dust for weeks. Months, even. But, with the help of a few of His friends, God convinced me to hand in that application form a couple weeks before it was due.
And so far, everything had been... right.
Because I now know that the opportunity to go on this trip is a gift from God, the perfect opportunity to practice living out my words: Faith and Shine.
There were a lot of things my brain told me when I was considering handing in my application form. "There goes your March Break, you'll be tired when you get back to school... What if you get some huge ISU over the break, then what? How are you gonna come up with $1000 to pay for the trip? What if..." And finally I was like, "Shut up, brain, 'no more freaking out', remember?" So I handed in the application form telling God, "If I'm supposed to go, I get accepted, if I'm not supposed to go, I don't get accepted." That was the faith part, and I'm sure they'll be lots more faith parts along the way. :)
And here comes the shine part. The part where my team and I get to see and be light in a pretty dark place... I couldn't be more excited.
Prayers appreciated. :)