Julie (far right) and her team of crafty babes.
She and three other women from her church crossed the Pacific Ocean to make crafts. Supported by established missionaries on the ground, Julie and her team held seven events designed to give the Chinese women a rare opportunity to experience creativity, get their DIY on, and receive their first taste of Christian love. The team also broke bread with these ladies and tried to build bonds over a sizable language gap. By the looks of the dozens of photos I've scrolled through, it seems that Julie and her team accomplished those goals in spades.
And I'm proud of Julie for that.
But laying mission and ministry aside, I'm proud of her for something much more simple and yet much more profound.
I'm proud of Julie for saying yes to this trip.
For taking a chance.
For trying something new.
For stepping far outside the bounds of her happily ordinary life and putting herself into an unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and undeniably vulnerable place.
I'm proud of her for committing to the trip before she knew how she would pay for it.
I'm proud of her for trusting that her family - including her four-year-old boy - would be fine without her for two weeks.
I'm proud of her for taking a deep breath, stepping out from the safe shore of ordinary, and throwing herself headfirst into the deep, dark waters of life experiences.
Chinese taxis are not for the faint of heart. But Julie (far right) survived.
By taking this trip to China, Julie swam through some high waves and powerful undertows, and came through it all with a smile on her face and buoyant spirit. Now that she's home again and back to her routines, she looks like her usual sunny self.
But Julie has swum in deep waters now. And in her heart, I know she will never be the same.
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Photo credits to Julie, the ladies on her team, and their missionary support in Chengdu. <3