How My 8-Year-Old HLI Experience Is Still Affecting My Life By Zach Wallace

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As I peer back at the year I spent in the frigid and gorgeous state named Maine, I have many fond, painful and life-altering memories. So many things happened in those 9 short months that taught me vital lessons.

I learned what hospitality meant from the radiant example of the Penley's, my host family, who joyously opened their doors and arms to me and my roommate. They listened to my stories, we discussed the Bible and ministry often, and prayed for one another. They showed me how to be family for a complete stranger. The other host families joyously opened their houses as well. They allowed us to gather together and enjoy the few hours we had away from classes and ministry.

I learned what fierce generosity was. From people giving money to send us on missions, to giving their finances, time, and talents to cook us delicious meals. I was astounded constantly by how willing everyone was to give whatever they had to help.

The Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power." 1 Cor 4:20

I learned more about what 1 Corinthians 4:20 truly means. That there is tenacious potency in the Kingdom of God. That actions do speak loudly. They are a resounding gong declaring the glory of the amazing Creator we serve. Our God is not one to twiddle His thumbs in the face of pain and injustice. He is a God of both word and deed.  When the supernatural clashes into the natural world it is truly cataclysmic and life changing. Real healing can come through fervent prayer. God loves to heal and show compassion on the hurting.

Perhaps most importantly, I learned more self awareness. I found out more about what makes me tick and what I need to thrive and be healthy enough to give to others. A dry, thirsty vessel can't quench others longings. We first need to be filled up by God before we can pour out and give to others. Sometimes honest self evaluation is painful, but it is always beneficial when done honestly with the goal of becoming more like Christ.

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I have grown in all of these areas since I left Maine and have fondly looked back at the many memories that taught me these lessons. I am deeply grateful for the plethora of people who helped teach me these lessons through their love and kindness. They are far too many to list, but know I love and pray for you. I am so glad I spent nine months in Maine studying the Bible and doing ministry. I will forever remember these lessons I learned and so many more I don't have time to write about now. God is good all the time. And I encourage all of us to take to heart in the verse in the book of James urging us to not grow weary of doing good. May we spur each other on to more good works, wafting the fragrance of our lovely Lord throughout the earth. May His name be praised in all the nations

Mary McKellick