Saturday, March 18, 2006
another new chapter
today's post is in honor of ashley. she is the one in the middle, along with amber and sara.
ashley and i first met at the moody bible institute. i remember the first time i talked to her. it was her junior year, and i was a freshman. i was taking the south shore train to visit my grandparents, and i had never ventured out in the city alone. she was wearing a black dress with a gold necklace (wow... the random things i remember...) she gave me instructions- and confidence- to get to the train station.
within a couple days, she and a few of the other upperclass girls sat me down on a couch and read to me what would become one of my favorite books: a small red one called "i like you." it lists all the fabulous reasons why people like ashley and me are friends. ("i like you because you are a good person to like." "if i had a broken arm, and you had a broken arm too, then it would be fun to have a broken arm!" "I think i'm funny, and YOU think i'm funny too. i say something funny and we both laugh. 'ha ha!'")
i never would have thought that night that ashley would indeed end up being one of my dearest friends.
we spent countless hours in her *single* room together laughing, crying, eating, talking about deep things and mundane things. we even discipled each other for our infamous "busy work" class. ("as 'the wheel' illustrates...")
oddly enough, my friendship with ashley became much deeper AFTER i left moody. one summer we were both lonely and bored... so kept each other sane with endless phone conversations.
she is one of the few people with whom i can be entirely honest. when i don't feel like talking, i tell her. and her me. it is a fantastic thing in a friendship.
we went to hungary together. we enjoyed oodles of nutella... hungarian coffee... milka... and even some non-edible things :) - like talking with missionaries whom we came to greatly respect. we walked the streets of budapest and spoke of the great history of the country we strolled. we cried when we said good-bye.
i don't often see ashley anymore. i have seen her only 4 times since we left hungary in january 2003. the last time we saw each other, she read me "i like you."
and tomorrow she leaves. she leaves for a place where most people have never heard the name of Jesus. she will be thrust into a culture that is not her own, to share with them the Love that has changed her life. she will stay there for 4 years. she will grow and change, she will weep and she will laugh. she will rejoice when she sees God working, and continue to have faith when she doesn't.
it is spring for ashley. she is going to a new world, unknown: it is lovely and frightening and horrible and beautiful all at once. she is going to bring it Light.
ashley... you are not going alone. i am praying for you. lots of people are praying for you. this is the last time i can tell you this for a long long time. take heart, my friend, be of strong courage...
go in peace.