Last night we went to Nando’s–a chain famous for their great chicken. Afterward, we went to After’s (an ice cream place that has quite the color scheme–everything is either black or pink bright). Honestly, the entire night was overwhelming, especially for my introvert self. We went with a group of people from the church, making 19 total in our party. At Nando’s we were pushing together tables and then you have to go up to order your food, so it was altogether quite chaotic. By the end of the night, I was ready to leave.

I know, that’s not good. I guess the people, especially the younger people in the church, don’t really get together like that to all hang out. So sometimes it doesn’t feel like this is ministry, but even if the only thing we do is help build more unity in the church, I think that it makes a difference. So the night was good. The people are great. They are welcoming and enjoyable to be around. But if you aren’t an introvert naturally, please understand it was overwhelming to be around so much. Not to mention, I have been with my teammates for the past two weeks pretty much nonstop. We are living in a not entirely safe borough to be walking alone in, so I don’t really have the opportunity to have time to myself.

So last night I hit an emotional wall. When we got back past midnight (so exhaustion also plays a part), I broke down. Full out crying to the point of not really being able to breathe. I associate my own tears with weakness sometimes, and I didn’t want to be crying in front of my team like that, I already place myself as the team’s weakest link, I didn’t want to solidify that. But all my emotions were pent up.

Today is my birthday. Right. I know you’re thinking, spending the first hour of your birthday crying is such a way to celebrate. And you’re right, it’s not. You see, it’s really a number of things that were boiling to the surface.

When we were in El Paso, I shared my testimony in a church service, but that’s not all my testimony. As a team we have all shared our stories, but partly since we have been quite tired at night, and partly because I already shared the highlights, I hadn’t gotten a chance to share. I don’t consider myself to be that high of context person, but I feel it’s important to understand each other and understanding each other comes from knowing each other’s stories.

And then of course it’s my birthday. So I’m not home, and I’m spending it with people I’ve only known for a couple weeks at best. I miss my mom, and it’s my first birthday without my Grandma, so it is all around difficult. Plus it is my 21st birthday, which is considered to be a big deal (not in London, and not as much for me because I don’t really care about drinking), but I’ve always carried some baggage with not liking my birthday. I have the mindset that I always built so much up to my birthday, and it usually ends up being a letdown. Today we have a seminar at the church, so I will for sure be spending six hours in the church in seminar. Other than that, I don’t really know. I think people in the church will be able to suggest places to eat (even though I don’t like making decisions), and will sing and maybe join in celebrating in some way. So it’s not like it will be a bad birthday. I mean, I’m spending my twenty-first birthday in London.

So I don’t know what today will bring, but it’s in God’s hands. And I know He has been watching over our team.

I apologize if maybe this seems too self-involved, but I’m just trying to process my own thoughts and feelings and maybe this isn’t the best format to do so, but I wanted you to join my journey and journeys are not always smooth.

All the same, cheers to being 21.


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