Clinton Coffee Culture.

“Coffee is what keeps me alive.”

So says Webb Crecink, an espresso lover who stops at the Starbucks in Clinton, Mississippi, every time he comes through after a sales trip on his way home to Louisiana. He emphasizes his point by grabbing another sip of his espresso with milk in the small, paper white cup with Starbuck’s green mermaid logo printed on the side.

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The afternoon sunlight cuts through the umbrellas, hallows Crecink’s head, and lands on the pavement outside the Clinton Starbucks off I-20 right as a customer pushes through the glass door with a drink carton holding frappuccinos and ice coffee, and a cake pop for the child in tow.

Coffee fuels many people like Crecink in Clinton, Mississippi. With Cups and Starbucks at opposite ends off Spring Ridge road, the small town cultures a mini sociology project in the people who walk through the doors of the local coffee shops. The differences and varieties in age, dress, and drink desires create two unique atmospheres.

“I see all sorts of people,” says Joan Blanton, who comes a minimum of three times a week to Starbucks to study and research for her PhD. “There’s a preponderance of students. There’s a group of runners that are here every weekend in the mornings and then a group of local artists that meet most Saturdays. There’s the people who run the Vietnamese nail salon in town. They come before they go to work. And the Chinese students at MC love it. Oh and there are two women, they must be b.f.f.s because I see them every weekend.” She laughs and takes a sip of her caramel frappuccino, “Sometimes my drink is already made when I get here.”

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Being next to an interstate, Starbucks has a unique blend of fast paced service with the drive-thru and in-and-out customers as well as the slower crowd that stays to study, read, and socialize.

“It’s fast paced,” says Michael Shadie a barista at Starbucks. “There’s what I like to call ‘the church rush’. We’ve had a couple come through the drive-thru who are in a huge rush and have a line of drinks and they kinda tell us that they’re running late to church. We do the best we can to get all the drinks out because we have to go in the exact order that they’re rung up or written out, so we don’t get drinks out of order which confuses all of us.”

Drive down the road and at the corner of West Main Street, what may resemble your grandmother’s house, is Cups coffee shop. At any time of the day, a room in Cups will hold any number of students, studying, reading, or meeting up with mentors or friends. Men sit outside smoking their pipes and discussing theology and women. Some Saturday mornings, a group of elderly ladies sit on the porch catching up on their families and recent news. They clap their hands when a student picks out “Amazing Grace” on his guitar. A family walks in with kids in strollers to pick up their favorite drink after an early morning start.

Giorgio Fareira has worked at Cups about four months and notes that he sees many of the same people every day and that most of them are friendly and caring.

“It’s mostly regulars,” says Fareira. “Even throughout the day, we have people just come back after classes or between whatever they’re doing. There are some people that are here probably more than I am.”

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Most people get the drip coffee, says Fareira, because of the student discount. “As far as the other drinks, the Blondie is definitely the most popular.”

Currently, neither Starbucks nor Cups host events at their stores. However, Cups is working on hosting more social functions at their store this spring and summer. Fareira is working on an open mic night at Cups in April.

Only miles apart, the two coffee shops gather crowds unique to their coffee and location. While the crowds, pace, and orders may vary, both shops offer a place to sit, free Internet, and a warm or cold cup of joy to brighten your day.

“Here [at Starbucks] if you want to interact with people you can. If you’re studying, they’ll leave you alone,” says Blanton. “And for me there’s just enough music and noise to make it interesting but not distracting.”

“Cups is more than just a coffee shop,” says James Ritchie a MC student and Cups regular. “Cups is a haven.”

 

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Molly.

The semester is winding down; the stress levels are slowly decreasing; the caffeine is beginning to stop working; the rush of finals is almost over; and we are all looking forward to the best Christmas gift of all: a break.

However, not for my friend Molly.

“All I want for Christmas is a pug!”

Relaxed on the couch in Molly’s room, with books open around me and papers layered in a chaotic order, I look up from scratching my pen in hurried notes, to see Molly splayed over her bed, hands in hair, with a distraught, longing look on her face.

“What?”

“Well first, I want the pug, but then I want a hairless cat,” she repeats, as her fingers move down the computer’s track pad and her eyes dart over whatever pictures she has discovered, while not studying.

College is a unique time. We are all thrown into one bubble to cohabitate together. You meet all sorts of people you probably never would have crossed paths with if it were not for activities like classes and clubs and tribes and cafeterias. Molly is one such friend. Though I cannot trace the specific moment we first met, Molly has been a consistent character in my life over the past two and a half years. From politics and history to Say Yes To The Dress, books, mustaches and sweaters, Molly has an opinion on everything. She’ll keep you on your toes with a random comment about the Pope, then a blunt fact about Germans eating each other—as she eats her smother and covered hash browns at Waffle House—followed by her new discovery in Hebrews.

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Since freshman year, I’ve enjoyed many hours in Molly’s room discussing books, life and theology across the giant wooden spool she has turned into a book shelf (one of three in her room), and sipping numerous cups of tea. But one of her most unique traits, that always baffles me, is her love for the ugly things of life, like pugs.

“Someone has to love the ugly things of this world,” she proclaims as her roommate Malessa groans after walking into the room to find out Molly is once again distracted by her eccentric animal obsessions. But her love for the ugly goes beyond furry, or not so furry, creatures.

Freshman year, Molly brought home a metal, gold-rimmed mug that looked like a grandmother had finally separated it from her husband and paid the thrift store to take it away. Dark green with a duck framed in a black square in the center, it was hideous. While most thrifters’ hands would have passed over the repugnant piece, Molly’s hand clasped her newfound treasure. She bought that mug, took it home, washed it with tender love and care, and placed it front and center in her ever-increasing collection of mugs. (Of course, we won’t mention the microwave incident where she attempted to heat up her coffee in the METAL mug, sending sparks flying out of the box, threatening to burn the whole dorm down. That’s irrelevant.)

Maleesa sets her stuff down and joins our “studying.” “You and your macabre likings,” says Malessa. “I told my mom today about your history paper that’s due. She asked what it was about. I told her, ‘Well, it’s on vampires. Molly is a little macabre.’”

“I feel like I can get away with it,” says Molly, “because I fool everybody with my sweet, innocent looks.”

“But can’t you just see a pug doing life with me!” she bursts out, with hands dramatically on her chest in a passionate, emotion-filled look upwards. “The world sees pugs as ugly, smooshed-in face creatures, but I see each roll as another reason to love them.”

She looks over at me on the couch, trying to ignore the not atypical conversation about Molly’s future animal kingdom, “Just think, you could be cuddled up on that couch with a hairless cat starring at you. I’ve heard they feel like velvet.”

Oh gosh.

There is never a dull moment with Molly. A few weeks ago, Maleesa and I were returning from a visit to Jacktown, and Molly texted us to come by the room for a midnight cup of tea. She met us at the door: bangs, big glasses, hair in a bun, and covered in a purple corduroy jumper from neck to ankles. “Look at my new dress,” she said with an almost seducing tone in her voice. We sidestepped the wannabe grandma to check out what was in that tea.

Back in the room tonight, where I have given up all hopes of studying, Molly sits at her desk, ignoring the history essays due on Monday, to flip through her Pinterest wall of pugs.

“Have I shown you my pug wall?” she asks me.

“No, I can’t say that I’ve seen that.”

She scoots over to show me a pug dressed in a Victorian costume, looking perfectly miserable. “It’s just so cute,” she coos over the dog. “I want one.”

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She moves back over to her desk, and Maleesa and I exchange a look of ridiculousness but total belief in our interesting friend.

Molly stares down at her screen one last time, before turning it off and looking sadly at her papers, “Now I’ve gotten myself so excited, dreaming about the future, my little animal kingdom.”

Laughter fills the room, breaking any remaining layers of tension and stress, and tears begin to roll down our faces as we all realize the silliness of our conversations and the love of our friendship.

Laughter, tea, friends, and pugs. My Christmas break feels like it’s already begun.

Poetry in Life.

THE SOUTH

To have watched from one of your patios
the ancient stars,
from the bench of shadow to have watched
those scattered lights
that my ignorance has learned no names for
nor their places in constellations,
to have heard the note of water
in the cistern,
known the scent of jasmine and honeysuckle,
the silence of the sleeping bird,
the arch of the entrance, the damp
–these things perhaps are the poem.

–Jorge Luis Borges

 

The semester’s close is around the corner. This slower week seems to be the last stop before the flying home stretch of due dates, papers, and finals, interrupted only by a few days at home for Thanksgiving.

The past 3 months at school have been far from easy. Reawakening study habits and motivation is like shoving an old locomotive steam engine back to life. In the first few weeks, I scooped only a few coals into the fire. Classes seemed easy; it wasn’t going to be a difficult semester. But the train merely creaked at my efforts and the tracks began to climb. I began shoveling frantically more and more coal– begging, pleading, sweating with the train to speed up. Midterms were coming! It finally took trashcan sized buckets of coal thrown onto the fire to increase the heat enough to get the wheels turning. Five tests in six days did the trick. The engine started smoking; steam began to rise; and the train leaped into life. A ton of coal, a whole lot of effort, and a solid challenge were the key ingredients to get me back into the swing of school and balance of college life. Now the train is rolling.

And it’s going fast. There is never a moment where I am done researching or studying. I see the world fly by behind my back as I aggressively continue to shovel coal. I have to remind myself to continually look up or I will miss all the beauty.

Beauty hides in blatant places. We just have to slow down to catch the incarnations. Light shredded by trees falling in angles across the soft, lacy petals of a flower. The freeing laughs of a friend as we gallantly run across two lanes of traffic. A yellow and black striped spider guarding his threaded kingdom of transparent glory. Scattered city lights from a mountain top view. The underbellies of leaves seen from a hammock hanging from the trunks of trees. A treat waiting in the library by someone who recognized a hard day. The steam of coffee flamenco dancing in the air to the bold aroma of the dark liquid beneath.

Beauty is intangible. We try to grasp what we perceive with our five senses. We see, we hold, we get closer and try to become a part of the beauty in front of us, stepping into the object’s existence that takes away our breath. But we cannot grasp it. We can give it form through art or words. However, the audience perceiving our efforts views our incarnation of beauty through their own lenses of perspective. They do not see the moment that captured you but your perspective of that moment, in their own reality.

This idea fascinates me. It sends me reeling into a philosophy search for heaven on earth and a hunt for others’ realities. Potential perspectives of beauty walk down the sidewalks, sit in class, eat meals with me every day. I want to grab my friend from passing a lamplight, illuminated against the dark blue depths of night sky, and ask her what she sees. And if she doesn’t see, open her eyes to this small moment of glory, this line of poetry, as Borges calls it, in the course of a day.

These glimpses of beauty slow down the racing train of college for a brief few seconds. The air rushes into my lungs and energiezes my mind and brings joy into my soul. I see in the rays of light, in the water droplets, in the morning’s fresh air, God’s hints that something spectacular as yet to come. A beauty that will be tangible and more real than anything I could imagine. A Beauty incarnated in flesh to come back to reign over us and restore this earth to breathless wonder.

I long for this beauty, to see the ocean and mountains and valleys in their perfect state. To walk down the beach, sand between my toes, a sunrise brilliantly declaring the presence of the sky, with my Creator beside me. I don’t know what the next reality will look like, but beauty will be tangible. And I long for it with an ache and awe and excitement that words cannot express.

Oh Beauty, Come quickly. Rend the heavens and come down.

 

Sit back, Relax, & Watch the Show.

So I’m a raging video editing, late nights, stressed out, obsessed with spider webs, totally loving it, seeing everything as a shot, searching for lens flares, “I have no idea what I’m doing”, “professional” student videographer. What does that mean? I make videos when people ask me to. And it’s fun. Lots of fun. But it’s also CRAZY! The learning curve is Mount Everest & my patience may have grown to the size of a peanut M&M (which I consumed a large bag of this week while simultaneously pulling out chucks of curls & googling why my 1920×1080 video was exporting at 1280×720.)

This job hasn’t been easy. I’m constantly frustrated with the editing process & how much I don’t know & need to learn, & daily wondering, why am I not in school for this! It’s just that standing behind a camera, focusing the lens for a perfect boca blur, catching the sun through the dew drops on a silky line of pure strength sparks a flame inside of me that travels along a fuse of creativity, gaining light & strength each centimeter until it explodes in a burst of joy & color & laughter & angels singing the hallelujah chorus. And that’s worth travelling mountainous roads of learning.

Video is an art. And it’s an art that displays & highlights others’ talents & stories. It’s a challenge to keep my eyes open & ears tuned to deeply listen to the people around me. With a camera, I have the capability to open someone’s eyes to their story & to other people’s story & to show beauty amidst the chaos. It’s a challenge. It’s a job. It’s a risky adventure, especially when one begins to combine art, technology, & human beings.

I’m constantly searching vimeo to gain ideas, perspectives, & skills. Oh, I like how they focused. That angle is good. Wow! What a shot! Each video takes me not only into the world of the video, but also into the mind of the videographer. I no longer watch videos just for the content. My trained eye notices the shake of the camera, the focus in & out, the slide across the audience & the filters applied to create an effect.

If you’re a fellow lover of movies, art, & joy, then you may understand half of what I’m saying. Buuut if now, no worries. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite videos I’ve watched over the past few weeks. They are worth a good study break, family time, or resting & soaking in perspective, angles, & lens flares. I’ll give you 4 minutes & 37 seconds to grab your drink of choice & pop some popcorn.

Here we go:

ON FAITH:  Jason “Propaganda” Petty tells his story about growing up the wrong color, in the wrong place. As a black kid in a Mexican neighborhood & a poet in an “alpha male urban environment,” Jason struggled to find his true identity. Watch his testimony & then his art. If you’re impatient- I mean, doing important things like saving the world- then watch the first video & skip to 4:50 on the second video. I like his second poem more. Note the camera movements!

ON CULTURE: Want to travel across the world without raising the funds for a plane ticket? These camera lovers attempted to capture an all out Indian wedding & turn it into a fully scripted narrative production. Wow! I was impressed by the write up, so I coaxed a friend into watching the whole short film with me. The ending was… well… tell me if you get it. So if you want the full Indian experience watch the full video. If not, watch the trailer. And because this video wasn’t the best, plot wise, I had to find another one to make it up to you. So ignore everything I just said, & watch this: India : Oxelo Skateboards. Once again, train your eye to see the styles of cinematography & enjoy skating through India.

ON FUN: Ok! Here’s a great one! If you don’t watch any of the above

STOP NOW & WATCH THESE!!!

Devin Supertramp (aka Devin Graham) has become aYouTube star after gaining over 1 million subscribers. The guy has thrown himself off canyons, triked behind fast moving cars (yes that’s a thing), shot through the air from a human slingshot, & traveled to Hawaii to live in his car & film water jet packs. What a guy! What a passion! What a job! Why are you not freaking out as much as I am! He has a glidecam that stabilizes the camera so that he can run full speed while shooting, like in this Assassins Creed Meets Parkour video. I want one! So pick a video or watch them all. I highly recommend listening to Devin talk about Fighting For Your Passion.

And last but (hopefully) not least. Here’s what I’ve been doing over the past few weeks working with Oak Mountain Church & filming weddings & MC rush skits. Check back in a few weeks for the Indian ring ceremony I filmed this weekend.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

New Journal.

I sit on the back porch of the dorm watching reds melt into oranges behind grays blanketing blues, & purples coating the serenity as the show comes to a calming conclusion over the MC parking garage.

In my lap lies my blue journal. A faithful friend, a goldmine of stories. Between the hard covers lie ten months of lessons, struggles, adventures, & prayers. The first entry from December 2012 was outside this same building. I was excited & naive, speculating over the next few months of Africa adventure.

Well, 3 months turned to 5 months which has made a full circle back to MC. People have asked me if I am glad to return, but I find it hard to call this a “return.” So much has changed since I left. Friends grew, some moved. Couples married, others dating. I’m no longer running for the school & that alone has drastically changed my college day schedule. I have freedom that I didn’t know existed! Who knew one can grab a cup of coffee over book discussions or make a trip down to Jacktown to see friends or stay up late without the fear of 5:30 a.m. practice!

But it’s hard not to wish that these next 2 years would rush by with the speed of a freight train. My dad wrote me a letter of encouragement that appeared in my mailbox on a day where patience was dangling like a leaf about to fall in weariness from hanging on. He encouraged me from Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” He wrote that “numbering our days” refers to the seasons of life mentioned in Ecclesiastes. And if we don’t “number our days” the implication is that we won’t get a “heart of wisdom”-knowledge, emotion combined with purpose- our inner desires.

“Daughter, I see this verse applying to you & your days of life that you are in. Your stage of life is to learn, to get trained for your latter days. Going to college & learning a skill (video, writing, etc.) are preparing you for your future & giving you a heart of wisdom. If you try to rush life before the appropriate time, you become foolish. Patience & diligence are key characteristics of numbering your days. I celebrate you & your experiences this year. Set your focus on the race set before you. Don’t live in the past nor in the future. Be fully present today for that is where God will teach you & use you.”

As I finish my last entry in a journal that holds a season of travel, change & growth, I feel the close of an important chapter in my life. As much as I want to dwell in the stories & rush back to a world that has become more familiar than this college campus, it’s time to move on & dwell within the bubble of MC (though weekend escapes are always welcome!).

So with the change of chapter, I open a new journal. This one is leather bound & clean, lacking the dust of African roads & the coffee stains of early morning spills. The pages lay open, crisp & bare, waiting for the pen to drop & the ink to bleed the stories of another season of dwelling & learning.

And adventures. And books. And lots of coffee.

Trusting in Transit.

The sun rises through the thick, humid air smothering Alabama. Roads emptied of travelers, highway 280 calm for a few brief hours. The light sneaks around the horizon & tiptoes across the backyard. Leaves flash their spectrum of greens as they sway to the rhythm of the passing breeze. The stillness of late-morning sleepers declares it’s a Saturday. He slips between window & curtain in an exuberant burst of brightness, crawls across the covers, & gently strokes my face. Wake up. It’s time to move again.

My life is a story of metamorphosis. Constant change of people & place. I live in 3-4 month seasons with small periods of transit between each. Fall semester (3 weeks at home). 3 months in Uganda (1 week in South Sudan). 2 months in Spain (2 days of travel). 3 months in Birmingham (1 week of packing). And now another fall semester.

The past 3 months were as jam packed as a filing cabinet with lessons on re-entry, working 2 jobs, videography, biking, kayaking, climbing, holy listening, bearing burdens, & resting amidst chaos. Several times, I told God I had had enough & put my shoulder to that cabinet & tried to shove the drawer close. But we’re never done learning.

Over the past 8 months, I’ve realized I have so much more to stuff into that filing cabinet. I tell people that I learned what I need to learn through my experiences in Uganda. I saw the vast chasm of ignorance & realized I needed a longer pole to vault it. God has graciously provided the means to meet the end through the next 2(ish) years of school.

It’s amazing how I don’t fear risking safety, health, loneliness, & my graduation date to fly across deep sea & dry, dusty land to a tiny district on the border of Uganda & Congo, but when faced with the challenge of 2 years in one location, I balk at the idea of mundane.

It’s a trust issue. A root of sin deep within me that disguises itself as “organizing,” “planning,” & “being prepared.” Really, each time I look ahead 3 months to pencil in details of my next trip, I am reassuring myself that I am holding the reins & still in control of my life. Ha! Who do I think I am?

But it never fails, as the days of transit drag their feet, I become more anxious, more fearful, more weak. I find all the negatives of returning to school & slowly seep further into a spirit of depression.

Depression. Dependency. A tug of war at my heart. How do I win?

With gratitude. I force myself to take a deep breath, clear the soul, then apply the power of gratefulness with pen & paper as I list my blessings.

Education. Friends. A constant gospel whisper. Bike. Camera. Laughter. Beauty. Waterfalls. Wooded runs.  Encouragement in blogs. Reminders of the bigger picture. Good books. Challenges. Adventures. Hope. Truth.

A consistent, ever present, never altering Love that carries me on His wings.

The rope favors the other side, & I fall back from the mighty pull of thanksgiving, back into trust, dependency, the Filling of my deep desires to be desired, cared for, loved by Him. My focus shifts from self to Himself & peace persuades my heart to rest.

I lay in bed with the Son’s arms wrapped around me in morning’s pure light, accepting life’s constant change of seasons. I can live in transit because He knows my needs, He’s planned my path, & He knows this Hart’s desires. I throw my legs over the side of my bed & my feet touch the floor. The first steps of a new adventure.

But first I need some coffee.

Stay tuned. :)

Facing Fear.

Thursday, July 11 found me paddling for my life down a fast moving Tuckasegee River. Why? Well, why not? Dad paddles, why can’t I? It looks fun. I wish the confidence had stayed around a little longer instead of fleeing the moment I sat in my kayak in the rapid moving, freezing cold water of torture, I mean fun.

A friend from Africa joined us in NC for a weekend of kayak learning in the mountains. Day 1 found us practicing rolls & braces on the Tuck. We put in at an eddy that was big enough to keep me on edge & pray hard that I would be able to get out of it. Of course, Dad hops right into his boat, paddles to a wave, & begins playing in it. “I’m gonna go on down. Just aim down river & paddle hard,” he calls as he effortlessly leans into the wave & floats through the rapid. Mr. Young & Fearless doesn’t think twice & goes right after Dad, punching each wave without grace but making it through. Great. I’ve been left to age in this eddy. Now I HAVE to go. Ok, count to three. 1, 2, 3…. Ahhhhh!!!!!!

I get my boat across the eddy line. Barely. And head straight into the monster waves of 2 feet. Paddle, lean, LEAN! PADDLLLLLE! Oh no! Paddle! Paddle! Oh, made it! Oh, wait…. crap! 

The cold swooshes around my face in a rush of arctic panic that takes my breath away. Suspended underneath, I try to get my paddle to the top of the capsized boat & attempt to roll up. Fail. Attempt 2. Nope. Ok, I’m outta here. I pull the skirt & punch out of the kayak only to find Dad right there with his boat, ready to have assisted me if I had only signaled. My brain was too cold to think that far ahead.

With my first “swim” behind me, bravery slowly peeped its face around the corner to stare down my fear of dying by moving water. After more instruction from Dad, I got back into my boat & continued to paddle down the river. We even stopped in a small eddy to work on pull outs & eddy turns. Once again, I became closer friends with the icy Tuck river, but this time, I successfully rolled back up!

The rest of the weekend proved to be lots of fun. To gain more river confidence, I spent Friday with a private instructor practicing my roll, strokes, & ferrying. We went back to the Tuckasegee where I rolled, this time purposefully, in the rapids to boost my boldness in the fast currents. By the end of the day, I could say I enjoyed kayaking & felt prepared to tackle the next glacier: the Nantahala.

With enough confidence & skill to be dangerous & comical, I joined the “pros” on the Nanty Saturday & Sunday. The waves were much larger, longer, & livelier. The holes were more threatening & ominous. The rocks were more frequent. And the conversation in my mind was not always missionary like. However, I successfully paddled down the river, combat rolled perfectly, & even braved the class III falls at the end. I can now say that I kayak. Sorta.

While I was facing fears of fast water, my friends in Bundibugyo were confronting fears of death by gun point. I arrived home Sunday night to find Josh’s status on facebook:

“Please pray for DRC refugees in Bundibugyo. An estimated 60,000 have crossed over due to conflict in eastern DRC. We have been helping setting up a refugee camp (with water) and providing firewood for cooking. Hoping to provide medical care and care for vulnerable children later in the week. Thanks for prayers. These are long days. (PS- we are safe in Bundibugyo).”

On Thursday, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamist rebel group, attacked the town of Kamango in Congo. Men, women, teenagers, & children fled their homes & lives as they knew it to find safety in Uganda, for only God knows how long. The Ugandan Army, UN, Red Cross, & World Harvest missionaries are providing security & support to the growing number of refugees. Five primary schools are housing the estimated 66,139 people. As of Sunday night, local authorities had found a new location to move refugees.
One WHM missionary was able to remember Romans 8:28 through these turn of events:

“Because this area of the DRC has been so remote, so volatile, and mostly closed to foreigners, it has been extremely difficult for anyone to bring the gospel there. But now, these Congolese are literally in our front yard (and sideyard, and backyard…). They are scared, desperate, and displaced.”

That’s a positive way of looking at it. This is a chance to share the love & grace & comfort of our Maker with the Congolese people. Please join me in praying for Josh, Ann, Jess & the summer interns as they persevere through exhaustion, stress, & turmoil. Pray for the Spirit to pour into their hearts boldness to share God’s love & wisdom in how to best engage. Also pray for Edward, the Headmaster of Christ School Bundibugyo, as he continues to lead the school through the end of term 2. And lastly, pray for our brothers & sisters who are caught in this chaos. Pray for the Annets, Rachels, & Gladyses, people who are no longer statistics but dear friends, to have boldness & joy in sharing their Hope & Peace.

 The team is still assessing the refugee needs & their part in it. Contact me if you would like to contribute to this work. For more information about the situation, go to  http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2013/07/201371410175504702.html.