I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. Psalm 40: 1-3
This week has been one of humbling grace and saturated goodness from God!
Class is well under way, and I am loving every minute of it! We also began to get things rolling with the counseling center. We've been developing forms and securing places to hold sessions while the designated "room" is being readied. Both Marci and I should begin seeing counselees this coming week. I was delighted to learn from someone who is currently in the Guam MFT licensing process that it is not nearly as difficult as we thought. Hopefully, this will will enable some connections and possibilities for the university and potentially for serving the community at large.
On Wednesday night after class I was asked to lead a devotion for the women on campus. It was definitely daunting, (a bit more than the summer Bible Study in my garden at home) and outside my comfort zone. Praying about it a theme of “beauty” emerged. God, of course came through, and starting with a ice-breaker of nail painting, we looked at the Bible’s take on both outward and inward beauty. We ended with Romans 10:15 “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” Whew, the Holy Spirit came through on that one!
A huge unexpected added blessing was the “singing”. These wonderful women broke out in original song praising God. These were complex, multiple harmonies, interwoven in perfect blend. No one voice stood out!
How did I react? Immediate weeping! It was so very beautiful, and such a pure expression of joy and love in the Lord! What a great gift! A few pictures from the evening:
The joyful songs did not stop there! On Friday, the "Traveling Team" ---a community group that I am privileged to be assigned to, met at the Owens. This group of amazing young islanders are working to come to the United States this summer to share their songs, testimonies, and speak about what is here at PIU. They are trying to raise 40K so all can fly to the mainland and tour in California and North Carolina.
We began the evening with food and a game designed to help the new staff (Marci, Stephanie and me) learn names. I was seated amidst some of the girls on the couch. Their welcome and inclusion was so touching! There was much laughter and joking. At one point after I joined in the humorous teasing (OK, I mouthed off ;-) , amidst the group response of laughter, one of the boys said "Jo you fit right in, you are one of us".
A few moments later, when the singing began, I thought back to the hard times in the past year. To my own whispered prayers "Lord, please bring young people into my life – young adults with whom I can share mutual appreciation -- and for whom I can make a difference"
As these young people sang their heartfelt songs to the Lord, I wept again. I wept for the beauty of their praise to God, and I wept in gratitude for answered prayers.