First, I experienced Urbana '09 at the end of December. It wasn't shocking or revelatory or especially controversial... In fact, I thought it was beautifully biblical and in every way challenging. All in all, I felt a strong confirmation that I'll never be satisfied doing anything but missions. Now, that's not remarkable in any way--"missions" is pretty broad. But I do feel quite confident that I will spend my life doing some kind of work overseas, hopefully involving economic development and definitely focused on being part of people's lives. That's what I want to do, that's what I feel called to do.
Second, Libby and I made it to England on our own and managed to get around London and now Oxford with ease. It's fun to feel capable of navigating a new country on my own, but even more than that, it's marvelous to feel at home here. I can't attribute that sense of home to any great international sense that I have, but only to God's grace and the generosity of our host family here in Oxford.
Which brings me to the third element-- the people we've been spending time with here in England are a Godsend and a blessing. Steve and Jenny Hellyer are our dad and mom for the month and they are such examples of humble servants yearning for Christ. They radiate love wherever they go.
And I can't forget to mention the other lovely people from Taylor who are here with me: Dr. Ricke is fabulous and hilarious and I enjoy interacting with him and learning from him. Lib is the best J-term roommate ever and we get along as well as an old married couple. Caleb is easily one of my favorite people in existence (and that's even besides teaching us how to play Canasta). New lovely friend in my life is Kirsten Rose Wilhelm: bright, beautiful, and with a heart that's sold out for Christ. And my tutor, Diego, is gracious and patient with me and I'm learning so much.
Things haven't been all rosy, though. In fact, a lot of thing have been more challenging than ever--I've been facing obstacles and bearing burdens that I've never experienced before. All of that deserves a few posts all to themselves, really. But there's this amazingly difficult thing called trust (much like the faith that I can't rationalize) that hurts a lot of the time and always feels uncomfortable...and I've wrestled that beast with complete desperation at times in recent days. And even when I've submitted, it has felt like Jacob's hip being put out of joint as he wrestled the angel at Bethel.
Oh, God has been so present lately, even though I've often felt blind and far from Him. I'm sometimes afraid of what may come because I know it won't be anything easy. He doesn't ask for the simple things that are easy to sacrifice. No, He requires amputations sometimes. But I know good things will come, things that will give Him glory. And that is the purpose and joy of my being so I will choose to seek it.