Today I received a call from my dear friend Rachel Giese. But it was no ordinary call. She told me she was feeling "unstable" and was worried she was "going to do something she would regret." She asked me to get over there right away. Concerned and troubled, I rushed to put some clothes on (as I was still in my pajamas. Yes, at noon.) I threw my hair up in a bun and told my sweet grandparents that I had received an urgent call from a friend and needed to go. Then, I got in the car and raced over (running into a bit of construction traffic on the way, of course). When I got there, I slammed my car door, raced to the front door, and knocked.
I opened the door only to see Rachel, dressed in a colorful summer gown, looking beautiful as always. Perplexed I asked, "Are you okay?? You look nice!" I almost felt under-dressed! On our way in the house, she mumbled some response about going out earlier that day. I was even more confused. Then, as we entered the Giese living room, I was shocked to see about 15 of my friends huddled together, watching me, yelling "SURPRISE!"
After shoving Rachel a few times for making me so worried then hugging her, several of my friends came up to me to offer me hugs. They threw me a party for my trip to Kenya. But I have to tell you...this was not an ordinary party. As they guided me into the backyard, there was a table filled with authentic Kenyan foods and African-styled decor. My friend Selah gave me a beautiful (and comfortable) African-styled pillow that she made for me. Around the food were phrases in Swahili, ranging from "Rafiki" meaning "friend" to "Nakutakia siku njema!" meaning "Have a nice day!"
Even better, my friends offered to pray over me before leaving. So...they sat me down on the Giese coffee table on my new African pillow and laid their hands on me. They prayed over me...and let me say...this is one of the greatest blessings I have ever had -- to know that my friends would drop their sunny Friday afternoon to celebrate the Lord for sending me and PRAY deeply and earnestly for me -- for my safety, for my travels, for my heart, for the people of Kenya.
Just when I think I couldn't possibly be more blessed, my Heavenly Father surprises me. (I love that He does that!)
Hannah Gaddini, another precious daughter of the King and dear friend of mine, gave me a journal that she decorated personally for me. I've been told that inside are notes and prayers from all of my closest friends, of which I cannot read until I'm on the plane to Kenya.
I anxiously await that day. But for now, what a beautiful day, overflowing with blessing from God through my loving friends that I hold sooo close to my heart. Praise be to Him forever and ever!