Highlight #1: seeing this guy!
Michael and Shawn have been good friends since they were little boys and it was great to catch up with him! We met for pizza at Mellow Mushroom. He and his band, Holiday Parade, will be touring soon and we hope to see him again in Chicago in a few days!
Highlight #2: Dave the Horn Guy. This guy was unbelievable. He has this custom suit that's covered with bulb horns that he plays as a musical instrument. Dave started out 4 years ago when he played "Jingle Bells" at his church's Christmas program and 3 weeks later, was on Leno! Here's a longer sample of what he does. Dad, Shawn, Michael, and I went to his "concert" and were amazed. Dad and Shawn even got to try it out. :)
Highlight #3: Gary Haugen from International Justice Mission
Gary was the speaker for Wednesday evening's banquet and it was such a privilege to hear from him. In case you haven't heard, International Justice Mission works to secure justice for victims of modern-day slavery, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression. They literally have lawyers and advocates all over the world who are going in the trenches, finding slaves, pulling them out of their situation, and bringing their masters to justice. Incredible. As I just typed that, I was reminded of this passage in Job that is so appropriate to what they are doing:
"I was a father to the needy;That's exactly what they're doing! It is so from God and He is blessing their ministry with rapid growth and success. As you can probably tell, I've been a fan of IJM's work for a while now and was able to tell Gary about Brighter Day, my online jewelry shop that donates 10% of everything to IJM. He was excited and gave me his newest book and signed it!
I took up the case of a stranger.
I broke the fangs of the wicked
and snatched the victims from their teeth."
- Job 29:16-17
The only bummer of our time in Atlanta was that we missed Shannon and Erik, who happened to be in Texas while we were there! Hope to see you guys soon!
Overall, we had such a refreshing few days and are so thankful for the break. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for inviting us! We'll do it again anytime!!
PS - As an update, I did board two planes that both took off in bad weather - and I did ok. I wouldn't say I did great and was still pretty nervous during turbulence (especially on one flight when the pilot asked the flight attendants to sit down... ugh). But I am praying that God would miraculously take away my fear. I've never feared flying and I know that this new fear is not from Him. I'll fly again in June and between now and then, I'm going to read up on flying - hopefully education and prayer will put all of this to rest!