Where do I begin?

The Global Impact Celebration at Shades Mountain Baptist Church is kinda like this.

Tuesday night we got picked up at the airport in the church shuttle bus (and were immediately offered drinks and snacks). We arrived at our host home around midnight (and were immediately offered drinks and snacks). We met our host family, the Clarks, and felt instantly at home. Wednesday we checked in at the church (where food and drinks were waiting) and were given a gift bag with little goodies. There we met missionaries from all the dark corners of the world and US.

After checking in and eating lunch they took us to our display area in the worship center. There was a room just for us full of snacks and drinks. That evening we stood by our display table and talked to people about NorthStar and Idaho. The church service that night was the kickoff of GIC. This is a big deal in the life of the church. Many people I talked to said it was their favorite week of the year. We were introduced in a beautiful and sometimes raucous ceremony that included choir anthems, marching in with lanterns, passing the light to children, cheering, posters waving, and lots of other stuff you'd expect to see at a pep rally or a wrestling match.

Thursday we had a bible study with the Pastor, Danny Woods. Then had a lunch that was open to church members. During this lunch the missionary ladies were interviewed by the pastor. We ate lasagna and cheesecake. Thursday night Jana went to Laurel for a baby shower, and I had a meet and greet with some of the youth. Yes there were snacks and drinks there. Then there was a supper for all of the church leadership and the missionaries. We had BBQ and listened to bluegrass music.

Friday morning we had off. Lunch was brought to my host home. Friday evening we went to another meet and greet with some more of the youth. There were snacks and drinks and someone brought our supper as well. We went straight from there to the church were we spent more time at our display before a Sarah Groves concert. It was great.

Saturday my parents came to visit. We ate at McAlister's and had a great-but-too-short visit. That night we went with our host family to "game night" with the young couples' Sunday Bible Study class. There was a lot of food. We played Taboo and 4-on-a-couch. Most fun I've had in quite a while. It was the latest Jana has voluntarily stayed up since I've known her.

Sunday I spoke in the Youth Sunday Bible Study at 8:00 and 11:00, and we worshiped with the people of Shades. There were around 250-300 students at each session and that was fun. Worship was amazing. there were around 2,000 of us. It was the financial commitment to missions service where members submitted their yearly mission offering and pledges. The missionaries stood with baskets at the front of each section of seats while the church members came forward and laid their offerings and pledges in the baskets. It was moving. After church we were taken out to a great BBQ placed. We went home and napped till we had to be back at the church for one last (and definitely not least) service.

Monday morning we left early somewhat sad at leaving our new friends and very much inspired to get back to the work to which God has called us.

I know I don't usually give a play by play of my schedule. I just wanted to paint a quick picture of what it's like at GIC. This post doesn't explain the half of it, but its a beginning.

I would like you to know that I couldn't be happier to be considered a missionary in service to Jesus. I am very excited about what He might do through me. I am very excited about all the things He is doing all over the world through his church. I want you to be excited too. The end.


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