Last Spring, I received a page of pictures and name of girls that would be on my team. Scanning through, I spotted this one girl with a smirk on her face who was wearing black eye liner. "Oh, no!" I thought. "She's going to give me trouble." I prayed for Emily and the other girls on my team. The day the girls arrived, I helped check them in, and we counted their spending $ and put it in an envelop. Emily brought quite a bit. As I counted, Emmy seemed rather embarrassed than prideful and explained, "I just have a really generous church family." Hmmm, not the reaction I was expecting from Ms. Eyeliner.
As bootcamp wore on, I realized I had completely misjudged Em. Emily was patient, kind, and selfless. She was always quick to give a hug or comfort one of our homesick girls. And for the record, she said she just sometimes likes to wear black eyeliner. =) Em was also one of our resident French braiders. Before I left for Zimbabwe, I prayed the Lord would put a girl on our team who could French Braid. At the time, I had long hair down my back, and knew a braid would be the easiest solution for the humid Florida Summer and bucket bathing. All Summer long, after bath time, we'd line up and Emily and Chelsea would braid hair. Never once did I hear them complain.
The only time I saw Emmy really cry, was the night we learned we would be traveling all of the way to Zambia to catch our flight home. No one was emotionally prepared to leave early, and I think the stress of having to drive 20 hours in a cramped van really got to everyone. As we stood in a circle crying and praying, Emmy asked the Lord if we could maybe have a vehicle with some leg room. See, in Zimbabwe, a "bus" is just a normal van. The first 13 hrs, we road like this:
Once we hit the Zambia border, we were dropped off *abandoned* and left to walk the mile to the border, and then take taxis to the bus station. We arrived at the bus station, and guess what we saw? Oh, yes. A charter bus. Not only a Charter bus, but a Charter bus that played Christian music for the entire duration of the trip..mind you it was the same CD, and at one point it got stuck and played the same song for over an hr, BUT STILL! AND the LEG ROOM was unbelievable!
On our journey to and from Zimbabwe, we were often stuck in airports for hours *days* at a time. I knew two members of our team needed help with meals. I asked Emmy if she minded helping. I only had to ask once. From then on, every meal Emily would check on others to make sure they had enough money for food or ask if anyone was low on cash. She did this until we left to go home. While stranded in Kenya on a 23 hr layover, we were broke and hungry. Emily paid for half of the team to eat dinner that night.
FAST FORWARD to TODAY! Remember my post about Sipho? And how we had found a surgeon and just needed the money? Well, my sweet girl sent her birthday money and other donations $120 over the cost of the surgery. This is not to take away from the glory of the Lord, but this kind of generosity brings tears to my eyes. Emmy, my girl that I completely misjudged by her picture has opened my eyes to the true meaning of the words "Joyful Giving." I really pray I haven't embarrassed Emily by this post. My heart is just so full right now, I just had to share! Love you Emmy Lou!
2 Corinthians 9:7
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD,
and he will repay him for his deed.