As soon as I was asked to go to Guatemala with Compassion International last fall, I began cyber-stalking the other bloggers have a better grasp of who would be on the trip. I’m no dummy, I understood that the other bloggers could make or break this experience.
Thankfully I already knew, or kind of knew, or virtually knew, Lisa-Jo. We had several mutual friends and had interacted online dozens of times. And I genuinely looked forward to meeting her in person. (I was not the slightest bit disappointed. Lisa-Jo is fantastic.)
So my real intensive research started with Amanda Jones. One peek at her family tree and I started worrying. Yes, the fact that she was raised by Beth Moore was more than a little intimidating. But I knew we had a Texas connection. And a Texas connection is a pretty powerful thing. I knew if she started throwing down some mad Bible study skills I could slip in a Mexican food reference and we’d be back to an area where both of us could exist comfortably. (Side note: Amanda Jones might just be one of the kindest, most welcoming people on the planet. I quickly learned we had a lot more than Texas in common.)
As soon as I convinced myself to get comfortable with the idea of Amanda, I made my way to Ann Voskamp’s blog. And discovered this beautiful concoction of prose, pictures and music. (I know, I usually hate music on blogs too, but trust me, Ann’s music is oddly soothing.) As I delved into the content I began getting more and more concerned, “What could I possibly have in common with the wife of a Canadian farmer who home-schools her six kids and writes like a poet?”
“Dang. I’m in trouble. I am in so far over my head. What in the world was Shaun Groves thinking when he put me on this trip?”
I still am not sure.
But I can tell you this.
Ann Voskamp oozes Jesus. I am not the type of person who says things like, “So-and-so oozes Jesus” but every time I hear Ann Voskamp’s name I can’t help myself from awkwardly blurting it out. Because she simply oozes Jesus. I have never met someone who loves as fully, and vulnerably. I have never met someone who so purely desired to employ their talents (and boy does Ann Voskamp have talents) to glorify God. I have never met someone who could make an email of encouragement feel like a cherished Word from an angel among us. And I have never met someone who lived with such a intense posture of thankfulness.
I am pretty sure I could spend days following Ann Voskamp around and learning about what being Christlike looks like in the midst of opportunity, busyness, and struggle. But since I don’t have the luxury, I will simply have to soak Ann up by reading her book, One Thousand Gifts. I have started it two times and each time have felt nudged to share it with a friend or family member before I could finish it. (Seriously, it is that good.) But not this time, this copy is staying with me, forever.
Oh, and these 3 women and my friends at Compassion were the perfect traveling companions. But you knew that already.
I do have some copies to share with you though, 15, in fact. If you would like to enter to win a copy of One Thousand Gifts, just leave a comment below about a person you know that just oozes Jesus. I will pick 15 random winners on Friday and notify them via email. UPDATE: ALL THE WINNERS HAVE BEEN SELECTED AND NOTIFIED. THANK YOU FOR THE TREMENDOUS RESPONSE.
PS – Compassion just announced their May trip to the Philippines. Be sure to be praying for and encouraging this amazing group of bloggers. I can’t wait to follow them to the Far East. So cool.