HOW CAN HOME FEEL SO CLOSE, 8,730 MILES AWAY

I’m breaking my “blog once a week trend” to just talk about my awesome day, or couple of days.. So, I have to start with Olieven of course. The last I said was it was hard to be there because of the fact that “out of my comfort zone” was an understatement. It’s just a personal thing that is hard for me. But today was something completely different. When we first got to the center, 3 kids ran out to me that we’re so excited to see me that they jumped in my arms. Literally jumped.. Sad that I could only hold one  We only got to spend a short time though, before Hillary and I left for the community center. There we join the active aging class and just spend time with them. We did that but today was different… Remember? Today we made a home visit to a elderly woman that had a stroke in the past. I talked with her just to hear her story. Then I got a chance I couldn’t pass up. I got to pray for her!! …For her entire family actually. It was so awesome. I know I just made that seem like an even bigger deal than it actually was but it was one of the highlights of my day. Later in the day one of the kids that I played soccer with on Thursday came to the center after school. I went to see him and he turned around with a huge smile on his face and said, “Ma’am! I missed you ma’am!” Omg… Talk about melting my heart. Naturally I had to play soccer with him. Why not pass the chance to get schooled by a 7 year old? But it’s okay because he already has a place in my heart.
Another thing that I just have to share.. On Sunday, we debriefed with our team about how our week went and how we were doing. Our team leader asked how we were doing with our host families. I just said they have been amazing and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. Really I wanted to say something different but… joke’s on me… I’m not exactly the most transparent. I would like the focus not on me.. Anyway, when it got to Abbie she teared up and talked about wonderful and pretty much influential they’ve been. As soon as I saw her tear up, it was over for me. Growing up, I have always had a great family. But what I don’t really share is that dad wasn’t really an “emotionally available” person. I also didn’t see a covenant marriage. A marriage the way God intended it to be. Since being with our host parents I’ve seen such a God-centered marriage. He keeps putting people in my life to show me what that should look like and I can’t thank Him enough. But we also teared up because we didn’t grow up with a prominent father figure and we both can see that in our host dad. We see that with his daughter and even though we aren’t his children, we can see that with us. I can definitely say I needed to be in a family like this, if only for 5 weeks. God has definitely blessed me to be with them. He continues to fill my heart with love for the Nawns and the people of Olieven.

*funny side story: Today, I have been nauseous most of the day with a slight occasional headache and completely drained. We’ll Abbie decided to tell our host dad that I wasn’t feeling well. When we got home, Abbie and I were getting ready for a walk and our host mom came in and said she heard I wasn’t feeling well today and I was most likely dehydrated. (I would have to agree now that I think about it.. Whoops). She came in with powder to mix in water for electrolytes and told me to drink it right then before our walk. Of course I didn’t want to. Hello.. I’m stubborn if most of you don’t know. And the ones who do know that, I can see shaking your head saying “yep”. So as soon as I threw my stubborn attitude in the mix she said, “I am your mother while you’re here. I care about you. You have to do what I say.” Haha! She is pretty great. I definitely caved. I gave in and drank it despite what Abbie tries to say. I love so much that they are my parents here. Without a doubt God has blessed Abbie and me with two amazing people.*