It's coming. They're coming. It's here.
And I get excited, as usual. For 8 years now, I've been getting excited.
However, I once was not excited.
2007: I stepped out of the car that summer, scared stiff and looking the part. I didn't really want to be here. I mean, honestly, these people were weird. I didn't know them, had never seen them, but I'd read that handbook--probably 25 times or more. I just knew I was staring boot camp in the face; complete with wearing a skirt all day, every day, for an entire week. I was convinced this was a kamikaze mission.
2008: A little less harsh, a little more open, but still afraid. Excited now. Hoping for the best...and remember the amazing, overwhelming wash of Christ I'd received the year before. I'm in a unit with who this year? And she's my counselor? Why in the world am I taking Literature Evangelism? Can I dare to open myself up?
2009: A friend in tow. More excitement. More open. More of a smile. Still fearing. Breathing deeply that camp smell. Shivering from anticipation. Looking at LE again. Something feels a little different...but what?
2010: Bounce out of the car. Exuberance, but you wouldn't know if you looked at me. Still locked up, but bubbling over inside. Skirts all day? No problem. Even more of a smile. Two weeks this year. Literature evangelist again. Applying for the Mission Experience. Yes, I like it...I love it. Home away from home.
2011: Early arrival. Counselor. Nervous, still silent, but changed, greatly changed. Girls, schedules, procedures and responsibility. Staggering proposal of internship. Inner wings wanting to stretch....
2012: No arrival this year. I've been here since September. Excitement building, but sitting in the office most of the day. Watching the activity from the outside. Dissatisfied, even almost unhappy, and yet, almost... Almost there...
2013: First time as staff. Proofreading, photography, and any number of odd jobs. Song in heart, smile on face, such a different drum beating inside. Happier, more open, more satisfied, more...
2014: No arrival again. No departure when all's over. Eagerly anticipating others arrival. Satisfied. A little shy and quiet, but no longer closed, no chains, no prison, no bars. Happy.
And, most of all, waiting to see who's going to be freed this year.
I can trace who I now am back to a hot summer in July, 8 years ago, when a 14 year old captive set foot on a little campus in the sticks of Washington. God, through Young Disciple, has made the difference in my life. It's taken a captive and taken her to a calling.
Every once in awhile, I see counselors run past the window. And I smile. I wonder whose life-journey is going to begin here this year...