we arrived late at night after 24 hours of travel. i was both exhausted and exhilerated by the experience. my host family arrived to take me home with them. The Master's Family. they were a lovely couple, hospitable, with three daughters: 17, 15 and 6. i instantly fell in love with them and knew i would enjoy my summer there.
everything about the country was breathtaking.
the food....oh for the love of food. i gained 15 pounds that summer.
i felt sure it must be the Austrailian washing machine that was shrinking my clothes...but no.
we settled in with our host families and met up the next day at church to meet our leadership and find out how we would be spending our summer serving god. we met with the pastor who quickly informed us that he and Rick Warren were buddy-buddy and that he had contributed more than one idea to his best selling book: The Purpose Driven Life.
our duties for the next two months would include helping in the gym daily, planning lessons for the youth meetings, building relationships with the young people and encouraging them in their walk with god.
that night there was a social at the church. my host-sister was leaving and we weren't sure how we would get home so we left with her. we laughed and got to know Bec that evening and i was extremely hopeful about gods plans for the summer.
the next day at church the pastor called a meeting to tell us/me that we needed to be careful who we spent our time with. he went on to say that Bec was not of the best character.
i imagine that is what the pharisees sounded like much of the time as they talked to and about jesus.
as jesus spent time with questionable women.
as jesus spent time with thieves.
as jesus spent time with the demon-possessed.
as jesus spent time at parties.
that summer was the beginning of what woud be a life long journey of pursuing living like jesus.
a journey of casting off stereotypes.
a journey of loving others regardless of their belief system.
a journey of loving others regardless of their past.
a journey of loving others regardless of their reputation.
a journey of loving no matter the cost.
because i am the questionable woman.
because i am the theif.
because i am the demon-possessed.
because i am the one hosting the party.
he loved me...so i could love them.