Yes, I am home from the mountains, but I have been followed here by meandering thoughts and visions that meld and become the whole of my memories of this beautiful time. How can one, using only words, explain the experiences of loving emotions and pangs of empathy mixed together with aromas and excitement, discovery, delight and soul tears for certain persons who tug so strongly at your heart strings?
This is not just a hands on mission work. It involves one's whole being and reflects back to you just who you really are in the sight of your Heavenly Father. There were times when I felt insignificant in light of the work to be done while feeling so blessed to be in that rugged land, so beautifully caressed by the lush hand of God.
There are so many international students at the Oneida Baptist Institute now, and the majorities are from South Korea and Ethiopia, they are from moneyed families and can pay the full tuition. They come for the "beyond" excellent Christian education. Then there are our own, those from the mountain heritage and others from the "flat lands" as they say. These children are for the most part, from poor families, and they pay as they can or nothing at all. They seem to intermingle with their own friends as well as others no matter the skin color. All the children are cheerful and polite. No matter who they are, they all work, have a particular job to do, on the farm or on the campus.
The farm in the valley is so breathtaking surrounded and protected by deep stalwart trees of every hue, size and shape. I awakened to the lingering mist in the mornings, and it gave me the feeling of being in another world, somewhere between dreams and desires to capture this ethereal moment and hold it close forever. However, mist, like life is ever changing, and it lifts and rises and so must we as once again, we began a busy day by lifting our hearts in praise and our bodies to meet the task of the day.
The time to leave is bittersweet; I am so ready to be at home in my space. As I leave the vista of the swinging bridge that hangs like a smile slung between two high banks and swaying in the dappled shade, the tall slender steeple of the church peeking through the tree tops, quaint buildings and sad little homes of the neighbors, their memories are like eye candy that I will taste all the way home.
God has touched our hearts in an unexpected way this week and plans are being made to grow a mission among us of a private nature, it will bind us closer together though we will share with others and allow them to dip into this special blessing also. God will be honored through it, and hearts lightened.
Jesus's presence was with us this week, and we take Him home with us. Yet He remains in Oneida, and His presence is settled on that place that is set apart from this brisk world. His Spirit is intertwined there like the mist in the valley, though He never leaves, He rises, moves, fills and covers each soul and if their hearts are aware they can breathe Him in and be eternally filled, as He, the mountains, valleys and people show forevermore the beauty of God's love.