I have been on outreach with my team for the past month and a half, and whenever I am in an outreach phase, my priorities shift from those that I have during normal living. There's such a trend for "living simply," and while I don't necessarily subscribe to that, I do love when my heart is re-aligned to thankfulness for small things. I don't shower often or sleep in a bed these days, but that does not mean that God's blessings are not bountiful and exquisite.
Today, I am thankful for:
1. Quiet spaces
Even time that is a space of quiet. We have done a lot of camps this outreach, in Paris, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and now in London, which means that we have been around a lot of people. I am thankful for even five minutes of walking to Tesco alone, and because that time is precious, it means that I often grab it to speak to God, to check in with Him, and to let Him refresh my heart and eyes.
Of any sort, really, whether there are several in a room together, one shower for forty girls, or my shower at home that requires a trek. It's so nice to actually shower, to have your whole body clean at one time. It's possible to be clean without showers, but it takes a lot more effort, and it makes a ten minute shower feel like dancing in heaven.
3. Multiple languages
If you know me at all, then you know that I have been trying to learn Spanish for ages. I am finally at a point where I can communicate, even with people who don't speak English, and I am so happy to be able to be in places with so many nationalities. There are several people living at the camp with me now who don't speak much English, so I've gotten to sit with them and stretch my Spanish to learn more about them, about their heart for God, and also how to figure out how to say "The cabbage needs to go above the cabinet." My Italian is also expanding this week, and my Swedish, and I love sitting in the middle of a room and hearing so many different languages being spoken by people with one passion.
I am so thankful to live with worshipers. And that God didn't make music the only way to worship. Seriously, worship is what saves me during days with little sleep and lots of questions thrown at me. It puts God in His proper place and turns my heart from murmuring to gratitude, because the God of all creation (of water, earth, and sky :p) knows my heart and welcomes me into intimacy with Him all of the time. I only have to turn my eyes to Him. I think that's what the lyric "Keep my eyes above the waves" from Hillsong United's "Oceans" means, anyway. It's hard to stay in my own belly button of self pity when my eyes are focused on such beauty.
5. People's Flexibility
When you do camps, you see people all day (and night, if you're creepy and watch them sleep...which I am not.). That gives you plenty of time to see both good and bad, and to have both your good and bad bits exposed. But one thing that has amazed me this outreach is how flexible people are. Sleeping on floors is not something that people normally do, but for the sake of furthering the gospel, I have seen several hundred people sleep on floors this summer. I have seen them go without bathing, internet, and their usual eating habits. In Bones, the camp that my team runs for Notting Hill Carnival, we wake up at 8 and work until midnight with few moments for breathing in between. And do you know that people pay to come do that with us? They pay to sleep in a church, to not shower, to eat the (delicious) food made for 70 people, to go out every day and evangelise, and to learn to walk on stilts or do percussion for the parade that we do at the Carnival. That's crazy! I love people who do insane things for the Lover of their souls.
But not the instant kind. I don't know why God allowed instant coffee to be invented, to be honest. However, people are gracious with me, and they sometimes bring me coffee, or share their coffee with me, or make me coffee, and I don't know about you, but for me, there's just something about coffee that reminds me that Jesus loves me utterly.