After the service I was able to meet (finally!) my friends who I've only met over Facebook: Shannon, Emily, Nikki (those in the picture) and Meredith - awesome people! I also talked to Mr. Horner, the youth pastor at the church and Shannon's dad. He gave me an idea which I'm going to try and remember to do. When traveling to different cities in Mexico, pick up a rock and bring it home. Then whenever I see that rock it'll remind me to pray for the people in that city. Different, but hey - I'll give it a try!
I was also able to talk to my best friend Chelsea about an issue that has been bothering me since last summer, but much more strongly in the past few months. She gave me some good advice, and was really just there as a friend and encouragement to me through listening and talking. I feel much more confident now about this issue, and am glad I finally got this out. I talked about it to a lady over the computer, but it just wasn't the same; too difficult to get my true feelings across. Thanks to those who were praying for me.
On the way back home we stopped at McDonalds drive-thru for ice cream. Let's just say it was an interesting experience to be asked "crispy or grilled?" to an order of "I'd like a vanilla ice-cream cone" :) We also looked to see how much we had been able to raise, and the Lord blessed us with much more than anyone was expecting! Joe said we are now 98.4% of the way there. God truly is magnificent!!
Thursday afternoon/evening I went over to Caley's for a Gilmore Girls marathon. We had pizza, which was pretty good I must say, and smoothies, which were excellent. If you ever make one with peaches, leave the skin on and blend it with other fruits. Sounds nasty but it's actually quite tasty! It was fun to just get out of the house for a few hours, as well as to do something together with Caley for the first time.
Friends truly are a blessing. Without friends, life would be pretty difficult. I mean think about it: when you hear the best news ever or something super awesome happens to you, don't you want to tell someone about it? When you're going through a tough time or family troubles, isn't it just natural to want to go to a close friend who can help lift that heavy weight from your heart? Friends will be there, and it's always good to have one or two close friends. But many times those friends will let you down: sometimes intentionally (in that case, are they really your friend?), most times unintentionally. "There is a friend who sticketh closer than a brother", and that is Jesus Christ. He is the only One Who can ultimately lift that weight or burden off your shoulders; the only One Who will never ever let you down; the only One Who will carry you through good times and bad, without having to worry about turning around to find out He's not there. Jesus will never leave you. And once you have Jesus in your heart, there will be a peace that only Christians can understand. He will then put friends into your life, and because He loves you, He'll help you find those special people who could be there for a lifetime. There are so many I can think of right now that the Lord has placed in my life; some who will be here for a long time, others who will leave in a year or two, those who are leaving this fall, and still others who have already moved on - but they will always be in my thoughts and heart.