I am feeling very encouraged and overwhelmed at the opportunities God has given to me in the past weeks. If you have had the opportunity to read through my newsletters you will have known of my decision to finish my AIM time on a state side field. This decision came after months of prayer. I do not regret my time in Italy, but I feel this was the right choice for me. I have grown and learned from this experiance greatly.
My last week in Italy was spent saying goodbye to the people I loved and had formed relationships with during my time there. The Bible School in Florence had a tearful goodbye party for me on my last night in Italy. I am thankful that the Lord allowed me this opportunity as well as opened new doors for me in Grass Valley. I love and miss everyone dearly but i know the Lord has great things in store for me as well as those back in Italy. I will spend my last months in Grass Valley California finishing up my AIM requirements.
Grass Valley California was one of the field choices my AIM class had. Eli Hooper and his wife Kelsey are the designated coordinators for the field and have had past AIMers work with them. His family has been involved with AIM for many years now. I have loved working with them and spending time with their family.
As I write this, I have officially been in California for two weeks. Beginning in April, I will move in with two sisters, Jo and Felicia, who also went through the program. I am so excited to have roommates after living alone for so long! Along with these girls, there are a handful of others from the church whom I have met throughout the years, so upon arrival, I had a great group of loving friends surrounding me. They showed me the town and have taken care of me quite well.
So what type of things will I be doing here?
On the church property they have a large garden of vegetables which are harvested and given to the needy. April will start the garden season. I will spend a lot of time working the soil and tending to the plants until harvest. When harvested, whoever is in need throughout the community will be given food. This is a great outreach and also provides people with basic needs.
The Hospitality House is a house open for the homeless. Meals are provided throughout the week as well as sleeping accommodations if needed. I am able to volunteer here at any time during the week. I have always had a huge love for this type of ministry and I am so excited to begin working with it.
Horses for Healing
I want to take advantage of the little time I have in California, so I researched places where I could be a help. Horses for Healing is a ranch that offers therapy for children with terminal illness. I will be volunteering here on either Fridays or Tuesdays depending on their need for workers.
Apples of Gold
Apples of Gold is held once a month on Sunday afternoons. It is a group of elderly, middle age, and young adult women. This is a chance to build bridges between generations within the church.
The older women want to teach and share with us their life and experiences to help us grow, while they in turn learn about our generation of women now in the church.
Tuesday Visitation Group
On Tuesday afternoons a group meets at the church to creat cards for either visitors or other people within the church who need encouragement. After the cards are made and signed, the group visits and gives the cards to the people they are intended for. My time here last Tuesday was nice not only getting to meet with the members present, but also for a chance to encourage others through something as simple as a card.
On top of these opportunities, I hope to be a part of the community and show at least a glimpse of the love Christ has for them.
Eli Hooper is one of the speakers for the Camp Adventure held in Lubbock. It is a week for kids interested in AIM to come and see what it is all about. He also has been asked to speak at the annual Tulsa Workshop. The Tulsa Workshop is a convention for different Churches of Christ around the nation to come together and share their ministries while being giving the oppportunity to listen to some amazing speakers. Since my coordinators will be attending these, they asked me to attend both events.