Our time in China will be over in a couple of days but what we have seen, heard, and learned here will not be soon forgotten. I also have an ache in my heart for the one who was not meant to be on our team. Yet I feel Abbie’s absence and wonder why. Sometimes in the middle of an activity I would think about whether she would have been excited and I know that she would have been all in. We spent Jimmy’s first father’s day without her and felt his sorrow as we all covered him with our prayers all day long. I will be honest enough to admit that it is hard to understand why. And when our youngest team, Conner Phillips, at the tender age of 16, shared that it is better to not understand God because if you think you understand God, you have reduced him to our level. You might want to reevaluate your faith for how can we understand the magnitude of our God? He also shared this quote from Tolkien: “And thou shalt see that no theme may be played out that has not its uttermost source in Him.” How can a 16 year old understand the very thing that a woman three times his age is struggling with and make that his devotional topic when I needed so desperately to be reminded? Brandon and Melissa, if you are reading this, can I just say Conner is an amazing teenager?
The highlight of this trip for me has been spending time with the Holloway children. I did not grasp the concept of what they gave up to be here. Last night we sent Trent and Brandi on a date and the team took all four children out on the town. It involved a pedi cab ride, navigating the subway, and four different receipts at the Pizza Hut before the westerners finally got the right meals. It was frustrating trying to communicate and this is their life. They are learning Chinese, responsibility, and what it means to sacrifice. They gave up all their earthly possessions and they continue to sacrifice with grace day in and day out. I truly think they understand better than me what it means to lay down your life for something bigger than yourself. As I have lived in their home for the last two weeks and witnessed their day to day walk on very foreign soil, the question that keeps coming back to me is this: What is it that He is calling me to sacrifice?
As we finish out our last couple of days, I am thankful. I am thankful that I do not have all the answers. I am thankful for a God I cannot understand. And I am so thankful for a God who finds me worthy, a daughter worth having. There is no place like HOME and we are headed that way in 72 hours!!
– Kelli Mahany
Melissa Phillips says
i am feeling the overwhelming presence of God.
Morgan Paddock says
praying for all of you. What a beautiful reminder.
Linda Holloway says
It was so thoughtful to take the children out so that Trent and Brandi could have a night out together. I’m sure they were happy to share how much they have experienced this year and loved being able to communicate with you. We miss them very much but are so happy that your team was able to visit them. Rest well!