Friday, February 12, 2016

Two Years.

Wow.  Has it really been two years?  There are times it feels like just weeks ago and others that it feels like light-years.  This time two years ago, our team was probably gearing up to head to the airport in hopes of catching what would be the last flight out of Atlanta to Paris that day.  Due to weather conditions, our others were canceled so we were praying that this one would come through.  I was thinking about the favor we saw from the start and am just in awe still.  Typically, shuttles to the airport take you to the domestic terminal for you to then catch one to the international terminal.  Our sweet driver offered to just take us straight to the international terminal.  While it may not seem like a big deal to you, it was to us.  With 9 adults, 6 instruments, 9 checked bags (originally...sorry Bea) and some other small carry on pieces, not having to move it again was a big deal.  And looking back, it was a wonderful way to start out on that journey where we tangibly saw God's hand and favor. 

Even looking back at the time leading up to Russia is wonderful because only God could take a Bluegrass band to Russia for the Olympics. Only God could have put that team together.  Only God could have orchestrated raising the funds that got us there.  Looking back at pictures and videos this week have had me laughing to the point of tears and left me grateful for such an incredible journey.  That team will always be so dear to me and while I know the time can't be recreated, I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it and miss that time with them. I want to share a bit about each person from that team and how incredible they are.  I know, I know...rambling again but hey, it's my blog and I'll do what I want.

Early Brackin has got to be one of the most patient men I have ever met.  I remember early on he said that our goal wasn't to be flexible but to be fluid because none of us would know what to expect.  He led with grace and loved people so well.  He's like another father to me and reminds me so much of my own.

Lynn Murphy is one of the most well traveled individuals I've ever met.  His experience got us where we needed to be and when.  His humor added to the mix of shenanigans that took place and his kindness to others ministered to the people he traded pins with.

Stephanie & Tod Brock are a wonderfully packaged deal in my book.  Stephanie doesn't meet a stranger and her precious heart was so welcoming to those who gathered to watch the band play.  I have to admit, seeing her and Tod together is one of the most precious things.  I remember being in Red Square as he gave her his valentine gift for her and it was absolutely darling.  They really do love each other well and fit together like a solid pair of goofballs.  :) 

Justin Parrish was the missing piece I had no clue was missing.  It was as if we had known him for years and the amount of laughter and talent he brought was unexpected.  I mean, our group was already hilariously entertaining but he fit perfectly. 

Jared Spier was already a brother to me but getting to see him interact with others while wearing an American flag was one of my most favorite things of all time.  It was so great getting to see him love on others in true Jared fashion and allow God to use him as an instrument of compassion and musicality. 

David Taylor is certainly my little brother and I have to say that it was super fun seeing him experience his first plane experience (not many people on the plane at all on the way there and it was glorious) in addition to seeing him rock the mandolin and kazoo.  He wouldn't admit to it but he interacted with the people there so well and ministered more than he realized with how laid back he was with them. 

Bea Brackin is one of my partners in crime and forever #ABA.  She had a rough start on that trip from being sick when we left and never receiving her luggage.  I've said it before and I'll say it again that no one can rock a cat shirt or a moose sweater like she does.  Knowing Bea for as long as I have, I can say without a doubt that she is one of the most considerate young ladies there ever was.  The laughter she brought to any conversation in addition to her heart for God overflowed to her interactions with others while there.

They're my "dear friends" and I could go on and on about them but I'll stop here.  They're gold in my book and I can't imagine that experience with anyone by them, nor do I want to.  Here's to the fact that we went to change the world but were changed for the better because that's just how good our God is. 

SO MUCH happened while we were there and much has changed since we got back but the one thing that hasn't changed is that God is still present and so very faithful. 

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