24.11.2008 - 26.11.2008
After the first week with Kuni, having stayed at his aunt and uncle's house and making the single commute to Universal Studios, we landed up at Levi's mom's house, where I was reunited with two of my brothers Josh and Levi. When I heard that they could see the hazard lights of our car a house down from them it brought about a pretty heartfelt emotional response from me - and the moment that followed when we were stood in front of one another and embraced on their home turf for the first time in a long time, all of a sudden all that was new and unfamilar became familiar and an instant reminder of all the good times we had shared all over the states. I knew that it would be a short stay at Levi's mom's place, but I'm glad I showed my face there that night.
I was also introduced to Alex, a guy who I had never seen or met, but soon I realised he was part of the family and the brotherhood. I was saddened in that he reminded me of dgoody, knowing that I wouldn't see him unless I somehow managed to stay for Christmas in Texas. So, with Alex, we all headed off to Clermont - where we were told we would be staying with one of Levi's uncles. The first evening was short as we had already come from Levi's mom's, so we ended up chatting a fair bit and had a good laugh about things. The next evening we watched "Dog the Bounty Hunter" and ate Papa John's cheese & mushroom pizza. The morning after that second night was thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving with Levi's family was an amazing experience. We took a look around the house and introduced to everyone present, then we went straight into a game of basketball with the three lads who live there (so it was me, Josh, Levi, Alex and Levi's brother. Later, we were sat down at a table of at least thirty people, which was already set with all the different kinds of foods that each side of the family had contributed. Sadly my appetite had left me as I was still becoming comfortable with the cultural adjustments. After another game of basketball and a game of football, I regained my appetite and tucked into my meal. This was when I met Levi's mom - she dished up my food.
We drove back to Levi's mom's house for an hour or so, where we watched "Click" and drank hot apple cider. The guys got their things together and were just heading back to Clermont when Levi's mom and I started talking seriously about why I had come to America. She started by saying that she'd heard that I play the keys well and added that she'd noticed other things about me, musically and spiritually that she wants me to properly understand and make the most of.
Earlier on (the morning of thanksgiving) Levi's uncle asked if there was anyone who'd be willing to cover for the prayer set later (that evening - after the thanksgiving meal) and I agreed to play. The house of prayer felt like home, and it felt like I hadn't been home for a very long time. I found myself saying to God that I would take joy in serving in the house of prayer, wherever it may be. Later, at the One Thing Conference, a girl called Lauren told me that she had a real heart for OHOP and said that "it really feels like they're 'doing it' there". It's made me think a lot about how I will use my time and where I will serve in years to come.