I find it utterly amazing how connected I feel with my teammates after just two weeks. July 10th we didn't even know each other. Well, we knew Grayson and Eryn, and were so excited to see them, but we didn't know the others. I'd FaceBook stalked Rebecca. I'd have several short phone conversations with Emily. But we didn't know them. And we knew Michael and Renee were interested in Italy, but Josh and I both really thought they'd be assigned somewhere different because of their leadership potential and we knew their were teams that needed leaders sooner than we did. (Those teams are scheduled to leave before Italy IV.) Well, too bad for them because the Johnsons are ours! Ha.
How can you feel so close to people you just meant? Does it have something to do with our lives are all changed completely from now forward, entwined with each others for the next seven years. We're embarking on a journey together, faithfully following the path the Lord has laid before us. He's brought us together and given us a team that is truly special. (We all really like each other!) What am I going to do this week? Drive to Lincoln, NE where the closest team members live. Perhaps.
After spending so many months struggling to build relationships with those around me, I am finally making progress. Still though, in the back of my head I know that I'll only get this life for a couple of years before everything changes again. In meeting my team though, I am building relationships that will transcend my impending life change. They will go with me. I know my friends here will support me in the transition into full time ministry, they'll encourage me, pray for me, and tell me to just calm down. But I won't be able to sit with them and laugh on Wednesday nights or worship with them on Sunday mornings, eat at Chilis or play mafia. Life will change. I'm thankful to have relationships that won't be different two years from now. To have people in my life that I'll still be hugging when we're overseas. They're going with me.
Josh and I have been thanking the Lord all week for these wonderful people who have now formed our team. Its been amazing to be drawn together in the way that we have, describable only as magnetism; we've gelled so quickly, effortlessly, as skillfully made puzzle pieces. Each person brings unique qualities, gifts, strengths and personality; when one person is missing the void is felt. We're still learning about one another, and we know there will be conflict along the way, but I'm so thankful for the amazing blessing we've been given in our team. We bonded so quickly; I know I have been blessed so greatly to have these people join Josh and I on our path to Rome.
And so it begins.