As I sit here to write I am reminded of why it's so hard to sit here and write! The birds are singing their hearts out outside, the warm sun is shining, the breeze is gently blowing and I have to be at work in a couple of hours. Ah, summertime in Avalon. But I have SO much to share that I must come into this dark little spot to spend a few minutes to update our friends.
God continues to affirm to us His calling here to Catalina. Every week another life is affected and through it all, our lives are deeply impacted as we watch Him work. Some of the most recent things include a camping trip to the Isthmus, a cool group of seniors that visited from Huntington Beach for a retreat, a huge graduation party for Alex and our last young adult Bible study that had 24 show up! I will expound on a couple of those...
Last weekend a group of about 16 recently graduated seniors came over to Avalon for their "senior trip". They got connected to us through Alex who met their leader at a Christian Surfers camp a few weeks ago. They stayed at the church and they studied Wild at Heart and Captivating while they were here - sort of a "mini retreat". They came over to our house a couple of different evenings and it was super neat to talk with them about their goals and dreams and the Lord. We shared scripture and songs and stories of faith - it was awesome. We look forward to getting to know these blessed kids (and leaders too) better through the years to come since they live close, only "26 miles across the sea"!
Sunday night we had a graduation party for Alex. As most of you know, Alex, as a homeschooler, finished up his last few credits here on Catalina this past semester and was able to be declared a high school graduate! We are proud of him and although he didn't want us to at first, we threw a party in his honor. It turned out to be one of the biggest blessings since being here! We had over 60 people show up at our house (thankfully with the help of a couple friends we had plenty of food!). We enjoyed hours of awesome fellowship, delicious food and lots of fun. The highlight was toward the end of the evening...in an official Avalon School cap and gown, Alex walked up the sidewalk through the crowd (which was humming the "graduation march" song!). He ended up on our front porch where Andrew and I met him. We then had a chance to share some words - a "charge" - with him. Then people gathered around, laid hands on him and prayed for him. It was INCREDIBLE! Truly the best graduation ceremony I have ever attended! The prayers were all so blessed, the people who came to show their support were amazing and the fellowship was sweet. I still am in awe, a week later!
Every Monday night we have the young adults to our house for Bible study. This past week was particularly cool. 24 kids showed up, some of who are not believers, but seeking truth. We are studying Philippians. Just walking through, verse by verse and picking it apart - discussing the meanings of certain phrases, and most importantly asking the question "what does this mean for me in my life right now?" It's so cool to hear the students open up and share in our group time. It's also cool when afterward we have the chance to go deeper with individuals. We usually stay and hang-out by the fire outside or around the living room inside and just talk together, pray together, laugh together and eat together. That night I was able to talk with a girl here from Iowa for the summer, that I work with. She shared with me that she was one tiny step from going to Indiana for the summer, but at the last minute decided to come to Avalon and stay with her aunt and uncle. She said after that Bible study, she knew why she was here. She said every summer in high school she saw God reach out to her. She had been to christian camps and mission trips even though she didn't grow-up in church. She was able, through friends, to attend. It has been a few years since high school and one of her closest friends that was a believer, has since turned his back on Jesus. She has no one in her life to encourage her toward Christ and had recently decided that maybe christianity was not for her. Then she came to Avalon. She said she has met several christians and after being exposed to the Word again, wants to come back to Jesus. She is going to college in the fall in Orange County and so I was able to hook her up with the group of students that were here from Huntington Beach - many of whom will be attending the same school and truly love Jesus! It was a great night and, again, I just marvelled at watching God work!
Well, I could go on and on, but I gotta go to work! Thank you all for reading and for continuing to pray for us...we feel it!!