I find myself milling through pictures of Allendale last summer. It is amazing the power of a picture, especially one you take yourself. It is nice to see others' photography, but it does not conjure up a physical memory. While the exams have taken a break, and I have a bit of time to play the game of Senior-itis, I've been looking through them. I'm surprised that I am able to actually smell Allendale. If I close my eyes, I can be sitting one of the 4 picnic benches, listening to Nathan speak about why we have purposeful conversation, overheated, but still happy because my shower was in the afternoon. The team is slightly sunburned from the days work, but very happy to eat another delicious meal from Melissa and her crew. I can smell it. The smell of the land, newly cut wood on the site, freshly showered workers, coffee brewing (all day long), classic tuna casserole, and sheets of chocolate chip cookie bars.
While I enjoy the very real memory running through my senses, I'm more struck by the snipits of conversations had over the course of the summer, as well as our work. It's like one of those weird scenes in a movie where flashbacks run quickly, but they all trigger an emotion, because they have already been shown during the course of the movie. The smell of Allendale is great, but the conversation and work are better. Conversations of the Lord's work in the neighborhood, the love for team members, the struggle to continue to determine to finish college, this word from the Lord that comes with perfect timing, the neighbors who brought this dish with so much joy, and the children who seem to have Yale Street residents in their hearts every day. It seems unreal to have this much love for a people and a place after only 3 months of residence. I have had moves where it takes me a year to warm up to the new place, and still, there is not much lasting love. It is clear our Father has something in mind... I am so excited to be a part of it, in any new place He sends me. Imagine all the new pictures, new smells, new memories, new conversations... all leading to the Kindgom of God being more present here on earth. Glory!