Caernarfon and Toronto
I'm sitting here, looking through pictures of the trip I got to take to Caernarfon, Wales last summer with these two amazing girls! This particular day was taken on the way to the park, where we played a great game of "what are the odds?," rolled down hills, and generally acted a fool. But that's just us. The whole ten days in Caernarfon was spent laughing, hiking when we didn't want to, and loving Jesus. Then there was the two days we were stuck in Dublin, but we don't talk about those. Now fast forward to today, and these two girls are preparing to be sent again. One of them is going back to Caernarfon, and the other is going to Toronto, Canada.
First off there's Hannah, who's going to be spending her summer in Caernarfon loving Jesus, and as an overflow of that love, loving people who wouldn't normally care about the gospel. If you know Hannah, you know she's up for just about anything. She has an adventurous spirit, a smile that lights up the darkest of rooms, and a laugh that is contagious. I was beyond blessed when I got to serve along-side Hannah last summer in Caernarfon. I knew going into the trip that Hannah was more excited than anyone to go to Wales. She overflowed with Jesus. She made connections with people in Caernarfon that she is going to see again in just a few short days. She loved people the way Jesus loved people. She loved people who didn't look like her, act like her, speak her heart language, or even want to talk to her. She loved with reckless abandon. I don't think there's any part of Hannah that doesn't love people.
Can I tell you another thing about Hannah? I believe God is going to use her in amazing ways this summer. Ways she never even thought possible. And I know she's willing and open for Him to move. Hannah is the type of person who says "yes" to whatever God is calling her too, even if she can't see the full path, because she knows God is going to provide. Hannah knew last summer that God was calling her back to Wales, and God is generously provided.
This is Ashley. She's spending her summer in Toronto, Canada, loving people and loving Jesus. Ashley is one of my really good friends, and I've seen God move in her so much over the years. I know God is going to do big things through and in Ashley's life while she is in Toronto. Ashley has spent time on mission in many places all over the world, from Wales, to New Orleans, to Haiti, and now she's going to Canada! I've been so encouraged by Ashley and her willingness to say "yes" to God. Because she's said "yes" her life is filled with adventures that she could never dream up herself. Because she's said "yes" her heart is filled with joy. Because she's said "yes" her love is filled with Jesus.
When I found out Ashley was going to Toronto, I couldn't help but be excited. I know she is going to come back home changed by God. She gets to go to one of the most diverse cities in North America and even the whole world to tell people about Jesus! Most of the people in the city won't be like her at all, but that doesn't matter to Ashley. She doesn't see people by the way they look, how they dress, or what social class they are in. She sees people the ways Jesus sees us, which is in need of love and community and himself.
I am beyond excited for these two girls to be going to Caernarfon and Toronto. God has begun a great work in them, and it will be done. I believe the one who calls them is faithful. He is going to provide for all they need. I can't wait for the end of summer to see Hannah and Ashley again to hear the stories of how God moved in these cities, in the lived of those they met, and in their personal lives.
I love you both.