“Dearly, Deep Within”

Last week I was on a stateside mission trip in the Appalachia region with Appalachia Service Project, and even though we arrived home Saturday, I am still pondering, processing, and reflecting.  I had the joy of working on two homes and interacting a good deal with both of the families.  These individuals had faced difficulties, and yet, the children still smiled and the parents still had hope.

Luke 2:52 (The Message) says, “And his mother held all these things dearly, deep within herself.”  Other translations of this same scripture verse refer to how Mary “treasured” and “pondered” these experiences, the ones with Jesus, in her heart.  Right now I feel like I have some experiences of Jesus from last week that are held dearly, deep within myself.

As much as I want to put words to my emotions and experiences, I can’t seem to find the words to describe the depth of the poverty I encountered, the depth of the resilience of the human spirit I observed, or the depth of how challenged I felt to become a more grateful and generous person.

At one point, our directions to the home read, “Drive until you can’t go up any higher.”  I felt close to God as I looked at the beautiful landscapes and recognized the creativity of our Creator.

And now I’m back in the real world trying to blend together the rich experiences embedded in my heart with the routines of every day life and ministry.  Eventually, I’ll share more of the specific details of encountering Jesus during my ASP experience, and until then, I’ll treasure these experiences “dearly, deep within my heart.”

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