12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3: 12-16
Alan and I returned from a wonderful vacation in Georgia last week. We had to leave on Christmas day because we were anticipating the arrival of a group of teens from Teen Missions in Australia on the 27th. We thought we'd have a day to recover but the last mail we received from the head office said the flights had been moved up and they would now arrive the same day as we would only about 10 hours later.
A family of angels picked us up from the Frankfurt airport at 7:30 in the morning. Frank and his wife Christina and their son graciously came and got us in their van which was a good thing because we each brought back an extra suitcase and wouldn't have had any room otherwise. I guess we got home around 9:30 or 10 and we didn't do much except crash until around 3pm. It was sooo hard waking up to return to the airport but Alan did. I dropped him off at the CVJM where I stayed to help get the rooms and dinner ready for the team. Frank once again came with Alan in his van and Alan took our pastors van and they got the team back about 9pm.
I was assisted by an old teammate of mine from my 2008 Wales and Iceland team, Travis. He was one of my favorites the whole summer because I was fortunate enough to have his brother Joe on my team in 2007. We kept in touch with me watching keenly his adventures as a BMW student with TMI and his internship in Africa. His love for Jesus and for others was so evident. He kept telling me he wanted to visit and work alongside us when he was finished with his time there but honestly I didn't count on it until a few months ago when he wrote me to make plans. It was great catching up with him. What a blessing! Travis was to serve alongside the Australian team as another male leader and that was terrific for us because we know what a hard worker he is and what an infectious spirit he has.
I have so much respect for Teen Missions and the work they do with teenagers. Alan loves the organization too. We owe them quite a bit as that's how we found each other but also just the way they use loving and godly discipline with teens seems to answer what is so desperately needed in our world today. My next door neighbor has a 15 year old daughter who I hear screaming, cursing and fighting with her mom several times each week. Tonight she's having a boy/girl party and they are loud and throwing things around without a care in the world. Today's teens need the discipline and love and respect that organizations like Teen Missions drills into them. I experienced it when I was 14 and it was the best summer of my life. What God teaches in the bible (love and respect for your parents, others, yourself) isn't meant to spoil your fun but to do the very opposite. It gives LIFE! These teens from Australia with TMI here working with us reflect that. They are hard working, kind and really trying to seek God for their lives. So far Alan and I have been really impressed.