The start of a new story…

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I’ve been in Nashville for a little more than a week now, training and preparing for the inaugural summer of Project Transformation Tennessee. I have been blessed in so many ways. Before arriving to Tennessee, I received an email from Erin, my boss, that I had already collected my fundraising goal. I safely arrived in Nashville, on the 1 year anniversary of the tornadoes that hit Joplin and devastated their community. On the same day the tornadoes went through Joplin,Missouri, I went through Joplin on my way to Dallas, Texas. I was lucky once again to make it safely to my destination and thankfully, the weather was good! Site coordinator training is over and training for the interns is well under way. My team of 6 interns and I were able to be in worship with our site church on Sunday. They, like many other churches were celebrating Pentecost. Before I go into stories about the site church, you should first know this. They are a African American Methodist Church, most of their congregation is made up by individuals and families that live near by and walk to the church. The church is in a very poor neighborhood surrounded by the projects of Nashville, Tennessee. (These are the same homes many of the children we will be serving live, too.) The worship experience was an experience I’ll never forget. It was spiritually filling. I didn’t realize just how dry I was until I was nourished on Sunday. I felt like a sponge, soaking up everything the pastor was saying and the youth choir was sharing through their talent of music. At one point in the service, they had my entire team come to the front to be recognized and consecrated. Upon doing so, they had us kneel at the alter, then invited the youth and children of the congregation come and lay hand upon each of us. After they children and youth were in place, other members of the congregation were invited to follow in the children’s footsteps and lay hands upon us. It was an incredibly special experience, one that I’ll never be able to forget. After church, the congregation had prepared a meal for us and we were able to eat in fellowship with them. They were incredibly welcoming and kindhearted and so anxious to get to know each of us on a personal level. (thankfully, it was a southern style meal with tons of chicken strips, salad, rolls, and sweet tea, the only thing I turned down were the turnip greens…I’m still not sure what they consisted of!) Many of the members asked about where we were from, what brought us to our PTT experience, and what we were studying in school. The experience I had with them left me so excited to experience worship again with them next Sunday!

As training continued through this week, it’s been a struggle to stay focused. However, today we were invited in to the home of a family to learn about component planning and how to make it effective to each age group we will be working with. Patty, our leader today was so knowledgeable and full of joy. Being her presence made me a little sad that I wouldn’t get to make component sheets because the resources she gave us to use were so helpful and constructive! I think it really energized the interns and gave them purpose for the intense training because today was all hands on training that would benefit the kids that we came to Tennessee to serve.

Tomorrow we have another intense day of training, 1st aid and CPR, both very important. I pray we will be able to stay focused and realize the importance of the training, God forbid we ever have to use anything we learn at site. But, if the occasion arises, it’s much better to be safe and aware than sorry. Thursday we get to go to our site and set it up, which will be another fun day for the interns. It’ll make the experience seem more real. and then come Friday, I’m headed home for my best friends wedding!

I know I’ve said this every year, but I hope to keep this blog a little bit more up to date. I know that this new thing that God is allowing to happen here in Nashville is huge and a blessing to so many people and I want to share my experience with as many people as possible!

I appreciate your support, now and always, in ways I’ll never be able to express with words.

With much love,

Heather

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