Monday, October 18, 2010

Destination: ISRAEL!

I've been busy lately getting ready for the tour to Israel with the Women's Concert Choir at school. We're planning to give concerts and serve the people in Israel for two weeks in May, and all of us are getting excited. Rehearsals are happening, support letters are being written and stuffed, and we're talking about t-shirt designs. We recently had pictures taken, and we all had to have our dresses hemmed. Mine was just a bit long, but we fixed it. I had a friend run the sewing machine. (It's dangerous for dolls to sew -- we might get sewn to the clothes ourselves, and then where would we be?)

I've been so blessed by the music in rehearsal. Words about looking to heaven, God's amazing grace, and pressing on in suffering soothe my soul every time we practice, and I can't imagine what a ministry the program will be, even to us girls in choir. Our director puts so much time into choosing the music, and carefully selects Scripture to go with it. I'm looking forward to worshiping God through this music nearly every day for two weeks -- what a blessing!

The next step involves passports. Next thing I know we'll be planning what to pack... and in a few short months I'll be in the Holy Land. In the meantime, I need to polish some accompaniments, learn the second alto part, and pray fervently that God provides the grace to accomplish it all. Or... rather, that He accomplishes it all, and maybe uses me as a tool. I'd appreciate your prayers during this time of preparation. 

So... without further ado -- the prayer request list! As I blog about Israel tour preparations, I'll give two or three specific prayer requests, and would appreciate your intercession for us.
  1. Pray that the work I do on accompaniments would be excellent, and that God would multiply my efforts during my practice hours.
  2. Pray that I would be able to prioritize my time well, get enough sleep and continue to take care of my health. Every individual member's energy affects our effectiveness as a choir. (My health has been doing so much better, by the way!)
  3. Pray that our support raising would be a bonding time for the choir, and that the mutual dependence on God for the finances of the trip would cause us to grow closer to Him and each other.
One more thing... if you're praying, would you comment and let me know? It would be such an encouragement to me during our preparation process that God has raised up some prayer warriors on our behalf.

With love from an absolute doll,

Erin Joy

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Friendship, Fountains, and Fall

The city has enjoyed a beautiful October heat wave. Combining the gorgeous reds, browns and golds of autumn with the warmth of summer doesn't always happen, and I've been loving it. The flowers are still blooming in the parks, the fountains are still running, and the city is a perfect place to enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon.

It's important to take a break every now and then. In the midst of the stress of mid-term exams and projects, a friend and I chose to take a much needed break and walk around the city. We stopped in at some cute little shops, and looked in the window at others. We walked through a park and enjoyed the fountain. (My friend lifted me up so I could see it. She got my fabric a bit wet, but I splashed her back.) We went to an African worship concert that evening, and then had dinner at an Italian restaurant with sidewalk seating. I've always wanted to eat on a city sidewalk. :) I finished the evening refreshed, and much more prepared to study for exams.

There's something so charming about the city on a Sunday afternoon. Very few have a huge agenda. A lot of people are ambling, sitting on a park bench and reading, or stopping for a leisurely dinner at a restaurant. The bustling you see on a Saturday at Macy's was gone in the quaint little shops in this part of the city. Oh, there were still some in a hurry. There was a rowdy bunch at a sports bar watching the big game as we passed by. There were people standing in line, hoping to get their spot at a restaurant, and there were cars driving constantly.

But still, most seemed to have stopped for a moment to enjoy life. Maybe that's what heat waves in October do. Maybe everyone was just grabbing the last bit of warm weather they could. Or maybe I saw the city through rose colored glasses that afternoon. Perhaps my determination to set aside my worries caused me to see the world as carefree. Whatever the case, I found the city delightful on Sunday, and it's left me in something of a nostalgic mood.

I was also reminded that afternoon of the beauty of friendship. A very close friend and I enjoyed the afternoon together, forgetting about homework for a while and sharing the stresses and joys of life. Our choir director joined us for dinner, and we enjoyed fellowship and laughter as the evening waned.

Honestly, I don't know how I would have made it through midterms if it hadn't been for some intentional rest. When you use your brain all the time, the stuffing gets squished from so much hard thinking, and you get tense all over. Sometimes, you need to be a little floppy and flexible. I reaped the benefits of that rest this weekend.

With love from an absolute doll,

Erin Joy