Today one of our students said, “I’ve learned this week that somebody would love to have my situation at home, even though there has been so much I thought was so bad.” It was an honest statement, one that didn’t come easy, and was truly a moment of vulnerability. Another student mentioned how much they often take for granted the simple pleasures and luxuries our lives are filled with, and as they’ve lived as a part of the community here in the group home at Open Arms this week, they’ve gained a great appreciation and respect for the girls here who so bravely face the challenges of each day with a smile and an eagerness to give and receive love, truly with “open arms.” Such have been just a few of the many ways our lives have been touched and will never be the same because of this week. Most all the students on our team have expressed how much they’ve enjoyed getting to know the girls here at Open Arms, and cherish the relationships that have already been built in just three short days.
Today our theme was image; specifically how we see ourselves, and if we’re willing to really look deeply at our lives and try to see the way that God sees us. We talked about how we are created in God’s image from Genesis 1:27 and how we are God’s workmanship, his handiwork from Ephesians 2:10. We had the opportunity to lead an afternoon bible study for the Turning Point Academy students beginning with the same theme and were able to present the simple Gospel message through, of all things, a Reese’s cup. You’ll have to ask Jennifer Burnette sometime about her great object lesson involving the classic peanut butter candy. We’ve had a lot of time to hang out, play some games, do some crafty projects (thanks to Rhena Crane & Creative Memories), and play a little basketball this evening. It’s been really great to share a bit of life with the students of Open Arms and with the resident staff and Marty and Shiela Corey, and it’s been really awesome to see the love that is shared with the students here and is the foundation of all that Open Arms is about. It’s obvious that God is in this place and among the work that is being done here in the lives of the students. We’ve been honored to be able to come alongside the great things happening here to serve and be encouragers.