I don't even know where to begin. I have had so many happy, sad, frustrating, exhilarating, amazing, and stressful times in the past two weeks in New Mexico. Luckily, all of the good has cancelled out the bad. I am amazed that I have the opportunity to be here this summer and serve the Lord wholeheartedly. I honestly have to check myself everyday and pray that the Lord will give me His strength because I rarely have any of my own. Let's just say that it is TOUGH waking up at 5 a.m. every morning. I am now very understanding of people who go to sleep early :) The Lord has been working in my heart and in my actions as I meet new people and examine my attitude towards them. I wish I could fit all of my experiences into one blog, but it would literally take forever. However, there is one experience that I believe is blog-worthy.

Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to go to Santa Fe to talk/feed/hang out with homeless people that hang out in the plaza. Out of my comfort zone? Yes. (side note, I feel like when you’re out of your comfort zone, you always end up with the best stories/experiences). I walked up to a freckled man named Virgil who was covered in tattoos and whose teeth were barely noticeable. For some reason, I still found him very approachable. We started talking about his life and past mistakes he’s made and how he lives day to day. We discussed the difference between being happy and being joyful. We agreed that happiness can change but a joyful person is joyful no matter the circumstance. I told him about James 1:2-4 where it talks about being joyful through the testing of your faith because It produces steadfastness. He listened. We got to talking about culture, different states, weather, and most of all, history. I was in awe at his knowledge of dates and historical events that I’ve never even heard of. He told me about all the cruel people in the world and how he moved west once 9/11 happened. We spoke about his travels and his kids (who he doesn’t keep in touch with anymore). We eventually got to talking about the afterlife. I was somewhat nervous about his reaction to my upbringing of the topic, but he was very easy-going. Virgil believes in reincarnation. Not just in the idea of it, but that he has lived two lives prior this one. I listened intently to him telling me how he remembers dying in the Civil War, coming back again and dying from pneumonia as an 11 year old boy, and now… a homeless man in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was amazed. He then said, “Who knows, maybe I’ll come back as you.” Crazy. Then he started discussing how the only thing you need to do in life is be good and don’t harm people. I told him about Jesus. He didn’t condemn me. In fact, he was very happy for the life I lived and we had a nice discussion. He talked about history and I talked about religion. It was perfect. Although he did mention he was a “tough cookie to crack” (boy, he was), I still loved every minute of our conversation. He was so open to my ideas and every time he stopped a sentence, I would smile, then he would smile, and I’d ask another question. I didn’t think I’d ever have the guts to spend an evening with someone who literally thought they were from another world, but praise the Lord I did. Did I mention his belief in aliens? And that he has read the bible cover to cover twice? He believes that if you read deeper, you can notice hints about aliens in the books of Isaiah and Revelation. Tomorrow, I’m going to read into that and see. I think his beliefs are interesting and I want to see what he sees. At the end of our talk, I was able to pray for him and his heart. I walked away and immediately wanted to run back and hug him. I literally had to hold in my tears because I just wanted to sit there with him all night. Virgil has been on my mind and heart since then and that time we spent together will forever be a part of me.

My heart was broken. My heart IS broken. There are so many lost people and I never take the time to step back and see the bigger picture. I feel like I live my life with my nose stuck to the photograh. I can barely even see anything. But the Lord gently pulls away the picture and holds it out so that he can see every bit of it. I wish I could be that way, but I am not the perfect and almighty God that died so that we could live free. That experience just brought me back to the reason why I’m really here. Love others. Get out of your comfort zone and do something crazy for the Lord. I feel like I spend so much time being distracted by the people here and the boys and making sure I have someone to hang out with rather than intentionally loving on people for the greater good. I want to advance the Kingdom one life at a time, one day at a time. And I feel like I forget that I have that opportunity every single day. Not just because I’m here in Glorieta, but even when I go home. I am a disciple of God cleverly disguised as a High Point Staffer and I want to impact people. I want to be that girl who sees things differently than everyone else. That’s what makes people beautiful. Beautiful people are joyful and know that the joy of the Lord is their strength. They choose to sing hallelujah no matter the circumstance. I am praying for all the staffers here and everyone back home. I pray that this summer is one that brings changes, challenges, and most of all, advancement of the Kingdom. I pray that the Lord is constantly changing my heart and the hearts of those around me. Break us, Lord and help us to look more like You as we love others and give You all the glory.