Thursday, October 18, 2012

fall retreat and a wedding

We had a bit of a crazy weekend. I carefully organized a lot of things so that Maggie's wonderful grandparents could take care of her at our house as easily as possible. Sweet Maggie. Then we packed and packed....we needed sheets and towels - things one doesn't often need when traveling. On top of that, the same weekend contained the wedding of one of my best friends. Thankfully fall retreat and the wedding weren't too far apart, so I could leave the retreat to get to the wedding rehearsal and Matt could be easily dropped off the next day for the actual wedding. whew!

Once the details and packing were in place, it was a WONDERFUL weekend. Around 100 students from South West MN State, MSU, South Central College, and Bethany Lutheran gathered and grew in their walks with Jesus and in their relationships with each other. I loved watching students stay up late to play games, study the Bible together, sing worship songs.... I love seeing the deepened community now that we're back in Mankato and the excitement at our weekly Cru meeting on Tuesday of students who are reveling in the afterglow of a weekend close to God.

Tyler, a girl in my Bible study tweeted something along the lines of, 'Don't be sad that fall retreat is over, live like its fall retreat.' I love that.  Another girl, Lisa, told me that she'd never experienced God working in her life the way He did over the retreat.

I had some good time to reflect on God's goodness this weekend as I drove between the retreat and the wedding I was in. My friend who got married, Erin, was one of my teammates in Brazil. Though our friendship didn't start out easily in Brazil, she's been a ridiculous blessing my life over the past seven years. It was such a joy to stand with her as she said her wedding vows and married a great guy. Thinking on our friendship led me to reflect on the years I've been working with Cru and the different people and experiences God has blessed me with - and His provision. I'm so grateful.

I'm guessing most people who read this blog have had a part in being those people, being part of those experiences, and contributing to God's provision. THANK YOU!  Thanks for letting me be a little sentimental there ;)

Here is a picture from fall retreat...

Students from the Mankato area who were at Fall Retreat.

Friday, October 5, 2012

We've gotten to have some fun connections with international students this past week. At MSU's homecoming parade, the internationals all walked carrying their respective flags. It was fun to see them representing their countries!

The International Student Association marching in the
Homecoming Parade
On Tuesday in place of our usual English conversation group, we invited students over to our house for dinner. Some came early to prepare foods from their countries and Kelsey, who's helping me with Bridges, and I supplied some American fare.  We loved seeing their excitement at sharing a bit of their countries with us. We got to sample brigadeiros and pao de queijo (cheese bread & little chocolates) from Brazil, dumplings from Mongolia, and a Mexican concoction. Here are some pics of our dinner:

Munkh making dumplings

Our dinner group minus Matt & Maggie

On Saturday, we're taking a group of at least 5 international students to an apple orchard near Marshall, MN.  Kelsey's parents live nearby and her mom graciously offered to make lunch for all of us!  We're excited for another way to connect. Pray for a fun and safe road trip!