Saturday, July 2, 2011

A gift in this year: My HNGR Small Group.

The girls of our small group... sorry Kirk and Riley, we love you too, you just weren't in the picture!
And this is how small group usually looked anyway: all the girls cuddling on a couch. Bc, obvs.

OK so true story. Most of the first few months of this year,
I worried that agreeing to co-lead a small group for the outgoing HNGR interns had been a really bad idea.

It wasn't that I didn't want to do it.
It just was an extra commitment of time + emotional energy...
neither of which I had in particular spades last fall.

Psh, and as typically happens whenever I'm preemptively not excited about something...
it turned out to com-plete-ly rock.

So grateful for the friendships I got to develop with each of those six people. They are each so wonderful- passionate, thoughtful, caring, fun.
So grateful for the depth of relationships that formed among our group. People were real- in ways that taught the rest of us; in ways that sometimes involved pain and vulnerability. We got to learn from each other's hearts and pray over each other in some really important and beautiful ways.
So grateful that I get to walk through their HNGR year with them, and with a foundation of close relationship.
So grateful for the opportunity to be closely involved with another class in the HNGR family.
So grateful for the source of fun and laughter they were in my year. I loved the girls forming a huge cuddling pile every week. I loved the meals we shared. I loved our bonfires and the time we had a spontaneous hymn sing. I loved sharing our "boxes" of our stories. I loved the time Hayley could not stop laughing for absolutely no reason. I loved the coffee dates I got to go on with the girls.
So grateful for how they all loved on and encouraged me.

So grateful for our last meeting, where we went around and all spoke words of challenge and affirmation to each person. After so much time together, and with some incredibly thoughtful and perceptive people, I think we were really able to speak to each other's hearts and needs. I was so blessed by their words to me.

So grateful that we were officially voted by the HNGR office the winners of the "BGE" (Best Group Ever) for 2010-2011 HNGR Small Groups. YEAH! Obvs.

So grateful for what Hayley said once... "Whenever I tell people who's in our group, I'm like, we have the best group ever... and I know there's no way they could even argue. I'm like, it's just so clear to everyone."

So grateful for Christy, my wise and beautiful "co"-leader. Aka... she led and I hugged. OK? It's my role in life. What can I say. We developed such a great friendship and her beautiful smile, patience, prayers, words of encouragement, and heart for prayer and God and adventure are such gifts to me. I love that we are meeting once a week now to hang out and pray for and miss our group.

 And I'm grateful because...
Starting this group less than a year back from my own time in Bolivia, I was still really struggling... and to be honest, the question of "Am I glad I did this?" was more active in my heart some days than I wanted it to be. Every week, I got to hear their hearts, questions, hopes, dreams, fears, ideals, and foundations of desire for going on HNGR. Besides just how much that taught me from how awesome they each are, it was such a helpful thing for me in giving me a renewed vision for why this program, and the ideals behind it, are so important.
Grateful that God gave me that.

And... sometimes we're psycho.
(Not really sure what was going on in this picture. Erica's kissing me, Hayley is hiding, Marissa's running away because I'm tickling her, I'm apparently trying to swallow the camera, and Christy is... casting a magic spell over all of us?)

What I sent the HNGR office as my prayer for my small group as they headed out... "My prayer is that through their time in their host countries, they come closer to the truest version of who God made each of them to be- that they each use the unique gifts that God has given them to bless others in ways only they can. I pray that His hope guards their hearts as they interact with seemingly unanswerable questions and realities. I pray that this year they will each be drawn into deeper intimacy with Him and awareness of His love for them than ever before. I pray that they will learn how to seek hope in nothing other than the fact that Christ is greater than the power of any death."

Thanking God for giving me my HNGR small group this year. 


PS- Check it:
Kirk- Philippines
Marissa- Philippines
Hayley- Ecuador
Erica- Peru
Riley- Ethiopia


Anonymous said...

Ahh Emily!!!! You make me feel so warm and fuzzy inside. You are so warm and fuzzy that you are capable of making people feel this way who currently reside on other continents. Haha, I'm not surprised. You articulated so well the blessing and joy of our group this year. :) I absolutely loved it, looked forward to it each week and cannot thank you and Christy enough for being the ringleaders. I felt so much HNGR-love and just Jesus love. And all, the words given to me on that last night have deeply encouraged me, stick with me today and will continue to for a very long time. Thanks to each one of you. Peace BGE. P.S. We still are the BGE even as we are spread around the world!

Hayley said...

Emily! I love this! You are wonderful. And I absolutely affirm everything you said. So, were we really voted the Best Small Group ever, or was that a joke? because it wouldn't surprise me in the least if we were, but I just didn't know that HNGR did that. haha wow! HNGR has made me so analytical.
Also, thanks for quoting me. So legit. Even backed your blog up with legit info from a really legit person ;) whooo.
Thanks for being such a blessing to me this past year and even while I'm halfway across the world. I love that you never fail to be the first person to comment on my blog. It's "makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside" (to quote erica) and like someone actually cares if I post :) You're great. I'm going to respond to your email tonight! Miss you!

Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.