This post is a collaboration of both MJ and Hungryman. The first part is written by MJ and the second, Hungryman.
At the beginning of this month, I attended a women's retreat in the middle of nowhere - a town called Summers Mill. It was a weekend I had been looking forward to all year long, and it was one of the few events in my calendar that I went all crazy with colorful pens and fancy doodles. Although I was bummed out about missing most of Friday due to my internship, the ride there with my sweet, dear friend, Bri was pretty awesome ;). I just wished I was a better navigator. I don't know how to read maps or follow directions for the life of me. Luckily, Bri is a fantastic multi-tasker.
Early Saturday morning, I went for a 3 mile run around the property. My intentions were good, but unfortunately, the Asian tourist instinct in me kicked in as I came to a halting stop every few minutes to snap photos on my iPhone. The trail was like a mini zoo! I saw ostriches, goats, longhorns, donkeys…apparently there are a lot of armadillos as well.
One of my favorite things in life is seeing the sun rise. It never disappoints.
I would have taken a shower except that we were warned that the water was possibly unsafe to use; something about the septic tank/system being compromised. My friend, Abby, so generously offered her thorough explanations, one of which made me cringe - "perhaps an animal died near the source and contaminated the water!" So we proceeded to use bottled water for everything. Although the experience was zero fun, I realized how much I take free flowing water for granted. I vowed never to let the water run while brushing my teeth or cleansing my face again.
Some of the ladies decided to drive to the nearest town, located about 20 minutes away, for breakfast. The star dish that everyone gawked over and wished was theirs to devour was the Guatemalan pancakes that Bri ordered. It was sweet, nutty, buttery, and the aroma was to die for. Of course, I beat myself up for not ordering it. Story of my life…why can't I ever order right? (Hungryman knows this all too well, as I always pick at his food.)
The rest of the day was filled with activities, such as a talent show, games and recipe exchanges, as well as splitting into small groups and diving into the Word, of course. Last year around this time, I committed to a Bible reading plan. However, I haven't been sticking to it lately as the struggles of everyday life have taken a hold of me. And once again, my weary and saddened heart tells me that my soul needs to be fed also, not just my body. So I pick up right where I left off. Although the weekend was tiring, I left feeling rejuvenated and encouraged.
God is good. Such a simple statement but so truly profound. The land you see in the picture above is part of the twenty acres that will one day be home to Hill Country Bible Church Round Rock. A little over a year ago our congregation committed to raising money to purchase this property, and under the leadership of our pastors and elders (along with the kindness and generosity of the Avery family) we are over halfway to our goal!
To celebrate, we had church service out on the land and invited a couple hundred of our closest friends ;). Unfortunately, MJ was at FNCE and had to miss out on this momentous occasion.
It was a sight to behold! We normally have 2 services on Sunday, so to see the church worshiping together as one body was, well...it was beautiful. We rented 900 chairs and every last one of them seemed to be filled. In fact there were even people standing outside the tent! I'm getting choked up just thinking about it.
After the service, we continued the celebration with a festival open to the community. We had sack lunches prepared, a petting zoo, and plenty of games and activities for the kids.
Talk about taking one for the team, our pastors volunteered to take shifts in the dunk booth. You're probably thinking, "What's the big deal about that?". Well, considering that a cold front had rolled in a couple days prior and the temperature that morning was in the low 40s...I think you get the idea. Although we still have a year to go with the land campaign and then a building campaign after that, MJ & I and the rest of the HCB-Round Rock family can't wait to see what God is going to do next as we strive to reach every man, woman, and child with the life-changing reality of Jesus Christ.