Autumn Ramblings

A glimpse into the past few month since I helped with Training Camp…

H Squad at Stirred Conference Photo by Casey Wells

Stirred Conference in Gainesville, GA. A refreshing weekend of worship and being with my AIM family. I was surprised to see many people that I love dearly, including some of my H squad family and my roommate from Haiti. Most surprising of all was seeing my dear mom and dad Hillebrand who drove down from Indianapolis. Worship was led by Jonathan David and Melissa Helser and was phenomenal as always. I suggest checking them out if you have never heard them. I respect them a great deal and love their heart for God and His Kingdom coming.

 

Photo by Sean Williamson

 

My dear friend, Vicki Welch, celebrated her birthday during the same weekend as the conference and I drove to my home in Auburn, GA to be part of the celebration. Vicki and her family will be moving to Tanzania next August as missionaries with EITanzania. We had a big sleepover, played Imagine If (which I’m horrible at) and watched Fried Green Tomatoes (though I bailed somewhere in the middle for sleep). I was reminded once more how much I love my Ekklesia community.   (I also thought if I put any photos I managed to sneak from the party that I may get jumped … you can all thank me later).

 

 

Jeff and Alycea Hylton

 

 

A Little Alpaca Love

 

 

I spent the next week with Jeff and Alycea Hylton and their wonderful family.The Hylton’s are precious and have such a heart for their home being a retreat for people. It is a home filled with peace, love and laughter and I know God is going to use them in a lot of people’s lives (and already has). They are doing some renovations to add on to their haven, please keep this process in your prayers.

 

The Adventures of Hillebrand and Pridge

 

 

Very concerned for our safety

 

 

One of my best friends from the World Race, Kim Hillebrand,  just finished squad leading and flew in for the week. It was a great time filled with lots of laughter, deep discussions, movie watching, prayer and entertaining the kids. Of course Chick-fil-a and Swedish Fish were also a part of the week, as well as a Target run. It is kind of hard knowing it will be at least a year before I get another Kim hug. . . but we aren’t talking about that fact.

 

Amazing Chicken Salad Sandwich

Leaving Gainesville, I popped into Riverside Church where I worked as an Office Admin. It was great seeing the staff, whom I miss greatly, even though I don’t miss answering the phone and scheduling appointments. Kay, Melanie and I enjoyed a great lunch and time of catching up in Athens at a place called Marti’s at Midday. My first time there, but definitely a place I’d go again. You should check it out… the chicken salad sandwich was WONDERFUL!

 

 

I also had the chance to sit down and visit with my former professor, slave driver and friend Jennifer Benson in the Communications Department at Emmanuel College. Seems I won the Comm Dept. Alumni Award this spring, but I was in Haiti and unable to attend. They were gracious enough to accept my reason for absence.

 

Now I am in Royston for a few days, back at my home there with Mary Beth and enjoying the Roystonian breakfast. In a few days I will be traveling to North Carolina and will be there through Thanksgiving (well that’s the plan for now, but we know how my plans function these days).

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Of Tuk-Tuk Drivers and Thai Bars

If you spent only a few weeks in a city of approximately 1,328,000 people on the other side of the world, would you expect that your main transportation contact would remember your name a year and a half later?

I wouldn’t.

However, I received this e-mail from my teammate Tim Dixon who is out on the field squad leading:

I was seeing a team off Monday morning that was going to Siem Reap and heard a familiar voice call out my name, and it was Puun.  My memory is terrible and so I didn’t remember his name until after our conversation but he proceeded to name off all of you and ask where you were.  It was a complete encouragement for me because sometimes when you just spend a month in a place and move on you wonder what impact you had.  Well a tuk tuk driver we worked with in month 3 remembers our names over a year and a half later.

Honestly it made me shed a few tears.

Team Manna with Puun

It also reminded me of one of my girls in Thailand, Ae. The first night I met her in the bar I doodled while she served other customers and at the end of the evening I handed the picture to her. I don’t remember what it was, but I do remember her reaction and it was shock that she was on the receiving end of a thoughtful gesture. She had a precious, gentle nature about her but it was evident in our conversations that she felt worthless and without much hope.

Several months ago I received an email with picture attachments. Ae was smiling, joyful and surrounded by people. She is no longer working in the bar but is on staff with a Christian organization that “reaches out to women and teens working in the red-light district who are in, at-risk of, and coming out of prostitution and trafficking.”

When you travel so much and only live somewhere for a few weeks you wonder if it really made an impact. It is encouraging when you find out it did.

I encourage you to intentionally build relationships with others, even if it is only for a short season, you never know how God may use that time in their life… and yours.

The Return of Wonder Woman… Not Quite

A glimpse at my brain processes is like staring at one of those never-ending news tickers scrolling across the bottom of your TV screen providing you with lots of useful and annoying information constantly. It lists off things I need to accomplish, tasks that need to be started, problems that need to be solved and a whole host of gibberish that sometimes even I can’t follow.

Where does that leave you and me?

I have returned to Georgia and am living near Buford. I am hoping to land a retail job for the next few months and, upon returning to the States, I went into hiding for a bit while trying to fill out applications, which have a way of making you feel about as intelligent as an earthworm. So far I have received one friendly rejection, one maybe, and a lot of silence.

I am also working on a new blog site (that would be this one…), since obviously I am not on the World Race anymore, and I am trying  to compile supporter e-mails so I actually have them in one database and am learning how to use a program that will help me send out my updates in a nice, creative, yet professional way that will link to the blog site. To top it off I am working to make sure I have information needed to offer everyone the details of my move to Ukraine, what that looks like, and all the normal support questions, concerns, etc.

Other than that, I am delving into learning to cook (had to happen sometime I guess) and working on being a well put together young woman complete with nail polish, styled hair and make-up (but I have yet to master the art of ironing clothes). Moving to Ukraine already seems to be having a positive impact!

Photo shot and edited by Anna Coffey

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Bird Attack at Starbucks

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