January 3rd update
God’s providence is amazing. Yesterday I left Hays for an annual trip to Chicago to study with the Aikido Club (that I instruct) at the United States headquarters dojo. I had to seriously pray and consider whether or not to go on this trip with my finances. Ultimately, I felt I should go.
The train departed at 3:00 a.m. (technically the next day), so I had time to visit my sister in Newton. We had a REALLY good talk about some very real things. I miss having the opportunity to grow in relationship with her that way since we now live so far apart. I felt like that was a blessing from God and good for both of us. Then I met a good friend of mine who is completing his clinicals in med school. He and I also shared a very deep chat about a number of situations and about how God is moving in our lives. It was a VERY good conversation. He surprised me by getting dinner, and I had leftover food to take on the train. Not only did I feel that meeting was of God, but a meal was also provided for me (which was important later). After wards I headed on to Newton.
At the train depot I met two Spanish couples—one who leads a local church and another from Mexico visiting relatives (the church couple was dropping the others off). The couple from Mexico spoke no English, so I was able to help them out a bit and interpret all the announcements/instructions for them (it was the first train ride for all of us). We had good conversations about the difficulties they face visiting relatives here with our travel laws. We also had opportunities to share backgrounds and discuss family and faith. I felt like it was good to be able to relate to them and also to offer a welcome to them as a United States citizen (when they had so many difficulties). Near the end of our early morning conversation, they offered me an enormous apple (one of several they’d purchased in Wichita). It would have been rude not to accept, and I truthfully really could use it, so I thanked them and got a little sleep.
At the Kansas City stop I met a neat family (a mother with three kids) who were on their way back to the East Coast. Since I’d packed more Barq’s Root Beer cans in my luggage than I needed to drink in Chicago (I usually over-pack a bit just in case), I checked with the mother and gave one to each of the two boys. I found out that it was actually their favorite drink. We had good chances to talk since the mother and I had both taught swimming lessons for years, and the oldest boy reminded me of some of the young men in the youth group. In particular, the oldest and I had a good chat about living by faith and some of the things he’d been learning from his youth pastor. We also chatted a bit about family and other things.
Later that morning, I was able to eat left-over chicken (from my supper with my friend in Wichita) for breakfast when the mother surprised me by dropping off a coffee for me. I was very surprised, touched, and thankful to God. Originally I thought I’d have to much a Rice Kripsies treat and drink cold water for breakfast, and here I had a filling meal with coffee (which I love but didn’t need!). Lunch was covered by the last of the chicken and the huge apple I’d received, and when we were delayed an hour outside of Chicago, I was able to give Rice Krispies treats (again, I’d over-packed to be safe) to the Spanish couple and the family I’d been chatting with to tide everyone over. ..
The cool thing is that I originally over-packed just to make sure I’d have enough to eat in Chicago, and that ended up being an opportunity to share God’s bounty with others. What’s more, God ended up NOT ONLY giving me some great opportunities to serve Him and others and have great conversations (including the two in Wichita), but ALSO provided me with coffee (which was more than I needed), breakfast and lunch (and even healthy lunch with that huge apple) and all in one shot.
Thank God for opportunities and His providence!