|Sonya, Stephanie, Nicole, Annemieke, Jake, and Cody :)|
I wanted to do a blog about my teammates so you would get a better idea of the wonderful people I get to share this experience with. My awesome sister Sarah has really cool blog and she did a spotlight on her puppies that inspired this post. Not that my teammates remind me of dogs haha...just that she told a little bit about each puppy. Unfortunately I don't know how to make the format as awesome as her, but alas, I shall try! :) (PS- You're a legend Sarah!) So here they are...my awesome team! Introducing...
Nickname: The Paleontologist (We don't actually call her that. But she loves dinosaurs.) Leader (Don't really call her that either but she's our amazing leader :) )
Age: 21. (She likes to say 22, but she's lying. Her birthday is February 11)
Country of Origin: USA. But she's practically a Kiwi
How I've seen Papa use her: She is an incredible leader. Truly. I have to admit (a little shamefully) that I was a little nervous that she was going to be the only leader on our trip since this is her first time leading. Honestly, she has done an amazing job! She has worked incredibly hard to keep our schedule busy doing things that we all thoroughly enjoy doing...which isn't easy with a group as diverse as ours! Not only that but she goes out of her way to do extra special things for us-like make chocolate chip pancakes EVERY Saturday! She truly is a servant-leader. Matthew 20: 26b "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant." She is GREAT in my eyes and, more importantly, in Papa's eyes.
Nickname: Twitch. haha. She LOVES it.
Country of Origin: USA-Montana!
[One of] my favorite memor[ies] of her: During our first week here we randomly met a woman on the street and she invited us into her house for tea even though she barely spoke English! Since then we have had the pleasure of going over to their house on numerous occasions for WONDERFUL food and good conversation. It has been a privilege to pour into their lives even though they have a different religion than us. But they have a 3 year old grandson and since we don't speak Arabic he was quite skeptical of us at first, but Sonya wasn't deterred! She wanted to play with this little boy so she was popping out and playing a sort of peek a boo/hide and seek game with him. Well, one time she popped out and the poor kid got so scared he backpedaled as fast as his little legs could take him right into the wall. It was so funny. Sonya has such a good heart, but in that instance it didn't quite turn out so well. But guess what? Now she's the only one of us he'll play with! She must have done something right :)
How I've seen Papa use her: Sonya is our extravert. She does a great job of talking with everyone here when the rest of us are socially awkward. Without her with us we would not have nearly as good of relationships as we have. Papa truly uses her love for people here and she challenges me to love others better! "Love your neighbor as yourself." Leviticus 19:18.
Nickname: Mama Mieke. (I came up with that one haha)
Country of origin: Holland-She is a proud Dutch woman!
Favorite quote: Man in the market: "See this dress?" He points to an ugly dress that looks like its bigger than a table cloth." It costs One Million dollars! For you 100!"
Annemieke: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeaaaaaa..."
How I've seen Papa use her: Annemieke is a woman after Papa's heart. Every morning she is up spending time with Him before the rest of us our up. She is always open to learning more about Him and to learning how to draw nearer to Him. In addition, she has is one who takes initiative (something I definitely need to work on!) and found numerous opportunities not only to help others medically (she is almost a doctor...she only has 6 months of medical school left!) but she has met contacts who have created tons of opportunities for us!
Nickname: Mr. Jake or Jakey
Country of Origin: USA-Montana!
How I've seen Papa use him: Jake. Man. I don't know where to begin. He is a joy to be around! He truly spreads Papa's love to each one of us and to everyone he encounters! It's difficult to describe how much light he brings into every single room he is in. Not only that, but both he and Cody have been amazing brothers to us. They are so protective and such gentlemen. "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of J3sus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." 1 John 1:7
Nickname for everyone else: Habibi (she calls us this and gives us hugs all the time...I love it!)
Country of Origin: Contrary to popular opinion here she is not Arab! She's from Canada. And America (she has an American passport)
Best quote: Oh goodness. There are way too many. I think my favorite so far. "I don't eat jello because it's made from dinosaur bones." She was serious. hahahhaa
How I've seen Papa using her: Nicole is blessed with the ability to love on children! She easily plays with the children here while the rest of us look on in amazement. It is inspiring to see her pour out Papa's love on all the little children. I'm reminded of the verse in Mark 9 that says, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me." Nicole is truly welcoming J3sus here!
Nickname: Elf. (Sonya and Jake are elves too. They all eat maple syrup like it's their job.)
Country of Origin: USA-Montana!
Random fact: Cody has a cereal box cover collection decorating his wall from the cereal boxes that Jake and him have eaten here. It is legit.
How I've seen Papa use him: Cody has incredible wisdom! I always think of Job 32:7-9 "I thought-Age should speak and advanced years should teach wisdom. But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty that gives him understanding. It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right." He always knows what to say at the right time. When he led a study on the Word at a young adults group everyone was amazed at his knowledge and wisdom! And he is only 18! His hunger for Papa's Word is incredible and I can't wait to see how Papa uses him in the future.
Our team has come together in ways that only Papa could orchestrate. We laugh a lot! I think we spread Papa's love simply by just being together :) Our team verse (we decided on it back in New Zealand) is 2 Corinthians 13:11 "Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the Papa of love and peace will be with you." Papa's peace and love has definitely been with us. It is through his grace and love that we have been able to pour out into others. I am so thankful for my team and that Papa has chosen US to serve here in the Middle East.
I love you guys :)
Papa's peace and love!
Just a little extra...Here are some pictures of the mural we did in one of the Sunday school rooms :)