We were so excited to meet everyone that we headed down to Manchester that morning. After attending the last service at Manchester Christian Church, Dan let us hang out at Restoration House. We packed a picnic lunch, a football and a Frisbee... which was eaten by the resident pooch. Things have been so hectic the past few months. All our free time has been filled with packing and painting that we haven't really stopped and enjoyed our family... at least not for an entire day. So, this was a HUGE blessing. Even better, Caroline got to hang out with us... which is ALWAYS a treat. She even got Mr. Jamie to dance... at least I think that's what he calls it!
Once everyone arrived at Restoration House, we sat down to an AMAZING dinner... but, to be honest, EVERY meal I've had there has been pretty impressive. Afterwards, we all gathered in the living room for a time of sharing, praying and worshipping. It was really great to sit around and hear every one's story... how God had led them to this point. Those of you that know our story can testify to how God's hand has been revealed in so many ways... well, the same can be said for everyone else... and that's pretty amazing. As we went around the room, sharing the testimony that God is writing in all of us, so many were overcome with emotion. It was a constant reminder of His goodness; of His faithfulness.
After everyone shared, Jared asked each couple to take a turn sitting in the middle of the circle while the other couples placed hands on them and prayed. Now, anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE to pray... especially like this. You feel His presence... His power. But, just as important, it creates an intimacy within the team. I've prayed for my "new friends" several times since that evening. Jamie and I, together, have prayed for them. Even though our meeting was brief and distance divides us for the time being... interceding on their behalf has created a fondness that I am so thankful for.
As our night concluded, Jared realized our evening together was actually the first church service for the Providence plant. That's pretty cool! Especially for us. Our family has been a part of Eastpoint (also a Restoration House church plant) since the very first Sunday... over eight years ago. The journey, while rough at times, has been such an amazing blessing. We have been stretched and encouraged; tested. He has pruned and molded us... sometimes with gentle hands... sometimes with a pick-ax... (but that's more of a reflection of my disobedience than anything else!) As we drove home that night, we felt so blessed to be a part of that special moment in the life of this church. We continue to pray that He will lead us to Providence... completely resigned to the fact that He's the only one that can get us there... because if it was up to me, we would be there now!
Continue to pray for Jared and Rachel as they transition out of Manchester. The staff and their wives head out to Boot Camp soon. Please, pray for them during this time. I'm so excited to see what God is going to do through these three couples. Their enthusiasm and love for the Lord is inspiring and infectious.
(FYI: Angie and Carson (Worship Leader) are standing next to Jamie and Katie and Josh (Small Groups and Outreach) are next to them.)