I just got back from the youth retreat, and I'm really glad I went. It was fun to get to know the youth group, most of whom I didn't even know their names prior to the trip. I enjoyed the chance to hang out with not only the Hoopers but also the Meltons - Steve and Jewel just moved here after being in Lubbock for several years of assisting with AIM. They're going to head up West Coast Missions here in the near future. It was great to reconnect with them. Over the last few years I feel like I've totally completed my transition from "youth" to "adult," which is still interesting for me to recognize in myself. I want to still connect with middle- and high schoolers even though I am pretty far removed from that stage of life by now. And the nice thing is, seems like they want to be my friends still too. :)

Honestly though, the best part for me was our time we spent in the Word. We read the whole Gospel of John in pairs together, out in the woods (it got really cold!). Reading the whole thing in context was so powerful for me; I feel closer to Jesus now, like we caught up after being apart for awhile. The thing that hit me the most was how incredibly honest Jesus always was to everyone. I've been praised for my honesty, and I do think that I'm a pretty honest person, but I was so challenged by his blunt truth and love in every situation that I feel like... well, I have an eternity to go before I could begin to call myself Christ-like even in that one aspect.

Singing was also really good. I've only sang devotional songs like that a handful of times since being in Mexico, and it really made me miss my teammates, my coordinators, and my Mexican church family. But the cool part was that I was really aware of the open communication that happens in worship between us and God and was reminded of his omnipresence. Sometimes all I feel like I have to offer God is a "Please, help." And it's nice to know that he hears and responds.

I got really sad on my way home because Daniel is gone now. I'm excited for his new phase of life, but I'm going to miss him a LOT. Not that missing people is new for me, but I do get really tired of it sometimes...

I work tomorrow, then Tuesday and Wednesday I'm off. Besides errands I need to run, I'm planning on spending some good alone time. For now, I'm here with Felicia, and her friendship is wonderful. Tonight I'm hoping to celebrate Halloween with some friends - we'll see if anything happens.

Until next time!

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