Esther Pavao
Well, I've had a lot going on, and no time to blog, nor anything to blog about. God had to teach me a little lesson, I don't remember whether I put it on the Mexico blog or not....I think I did.

With my Mexico trip creeping up on me, the Coffee House opening, and my passage coming up, I've been learning a lot, but it doesn't really feel like it, and when I look back on it, it doesn't even look like much. One thing did touch me though, and while it is kind of personal and it was a little hard, I guess it'll be good for me to share it.

Saturday morning, I offered to stay behind and help Tipharah get Vesper ready to leave for the ladies' meeting. My mom refused to let me and said Nichole would help Tipharah, commenting that I was "one of the Mexico people". I was confused, but didn't think anything of it until I walked into the ladies' meeting, Elena beckoned to me and told me she had saved me a the front row. When I noticed Samantha sitting one seat down from her, I put two and two together (why does it always take me so long??). Sure enough, after we sang a song or two, Miss Hannah announced that since this was the last ladies meeting before our trip, the ladies wanted to give us encouragement and bless us before we went. I was seriously regretting not bringing a notebook when Ashley crawled up behind my chair and handed me a little notebook and a pen from Miss Hannah. And then it began. It was so sweet! Ladies who had already been overseas gave us small things they'd learned from their trips and other ladies gave us stuff they'd learned about being with other ladies and listening to God and learning to submit.

About halfway through, I began to feel slightly overwhelmed. Why in the world was I going? Surely there was someone else who had much more to give and had more experience or a better relationship with God. There are needs in the Mexico Village (I don't know what they're calling it....) that were matched up perfectly with the other people going, electric needs that Saraph will meet, farming needs that Asher will help with, they got a horse recently and Samantha and Elena have been doing horsemanship for years, and I started to question why I was on this trip.

After the ladies meeting, I couldn't shake the feeling, and for the rest of the day, I struggled with this feeling that I wasn't supposed to be going, and that someone else better equipped should take my place. When I couldn't take it anymore, I went and talked to my mom and shared my fears with her.

God always knows exactly what I need. My mom, far from reassuring me that I had special qualities and gifts that made me irreplaceable, asked me why I was making it about myself. Of course I'm replaceable, she told me. God can always use someone else. But the fact that he offered the opportunity to me should have made me grateful and willing to serve. God knows I don't deserve it. I don't have talents and gifts that no one else has, but God is allowing me to give what little I have to someone else, so I need to get my eyes off of myself and back onto being grateful.

That was my little lesson for the week. It wasn't fun at the time, and I confess I had expected, or rather hoped for something more soft, reassuring, and encouraging. But the truth is, if my mom had sat and comforted me like I wanted, I would still have been thinking about myself.

So I'm back to being extremely grateful that God has trusted me with this opportunity and this experience has me praying that I'll be up to the challenge and willing to serve my guts out. Because that's what He's sending me down there to do. No, I can't train horses, and if I tried to help with electric....I'd probably end up electrocuting myself or something. But I do know how to clean, and cook and take care of children and take care of people because that's what God has had me doing for the past 18 years. He's had a plan all along and every time I've done cleanup and baby sat, or whatever, it's been in preparation to go to Mexico and do the same thing there.

So anyway, that's what God has given me over the last few days.
Esther Pavao
I was in the kitchen yesterday making dinner when my mom handed me a paper. Well, actually 3 pieces of paper. It was a list of all the things I have to accomplish before my passage. Three!!

I won't deny that reading those pages made me feel incredibly behind, even though I have a slight head start. Two things she was going to have me do I've already begun on my own and I have 5 months to complete the rest, but those pages intimidate me as much as they excite me.  It will be a lot of fun and a lot of work, but I know my mom wouldn't ask it of me if she didn't believe I could accomplish all of it. At least I hope so. I hope it's not one of those lessons that you're meant to fail so that you can learn that it's okay to fail. I never handled those lessons very well.

I remember being in 6th grade, I think, and Shammah was my math teacher. He wrote us up this test that none of us will ever forget. When he passed it out, I remember thinking it was an unusual math test. For a start, there was nothing to do with math at all on it. I didn't think past that and began. It was a list of about twenty things to do so I started doing everything including standing on my chair and yelling my name backwards, holding my forehead to the back of my chair and jumping up and down three times, and running to the front of the class to shake the teacher's hand and tell him what a wonderful teacher he was. By the time I got to this one, Shammah had a very interesting expression on his face. I attributed it to trying not to laugh at all of us. We did look pretty ridiculous. Then I got to #17. Do nothing on this test.

I couldn't imagine how I'd failed to see this before. I read back through the first few problems, and sure enough, #1. Do everything on the test in order. #2. Read through this whole test before doing anything on it. I have no idea how we all missed it, but we all failed that test. And we all learned to read the directions thoroughly. We didn't like that test much, but we did learn the lesson he was trying to teach.

I don't think my mom would do that to me with this, but this would be a harder fall than just embarrassing myself in math class.

I'm not really as pessimistic as this made it sound. I am actually very excited about the opportunities it's presenting. I get to spend a lot of time with ladies that I really look up to and admire and I'm really looking forward to that. But the story made this post a lot more interesting. :)
Esther Pavao
Well, today's the day I get to practice what I say.

I talked about not being grateful, and then "thanksgiving" day comes up. So I want to say several things that I am grateful for.

My mom. A common misconception is that a single parent will raise bad kids because they're alone and they get tired. This can be true, but my mom is the perfect example of the opposite. My dad moved to Utah when I was 9, leaving my mom with 5 kids living in a bus. Eleven years later, one of the kids is opening a coffee shop, one is living in a gatehouse, one is going to Mexico, one is learning to express God through art, and one is still in school, but is incredibly smart. Not bad for a single parent. (Not to brag or anything :)....)

My mom never allowed being a single parent to slow her down, or as an excuse for our bad behavior. She never felt sorry for herself or allowed us to run wild because she felt sorry for us. She encouraged us to find God in every situation, and still does, even though two of us have had passages and moved out. We never lacked in love, and even if we couldn't afford all the new styles, we never wanted for necessities.

She always encouraged us to be strong, (which I'm afraid to say that my brother and I may have taken a little too far) but always sent us to talk to other adults when we weren't. And she never assumed she had everything we needed and made us make relationships with other adults.

There were times that couldn't have been easy for her. I was a hard child to raise, and my little brother isn't a piece of cake either. On 9/11 when the airports were closed down, all of us kids were in Utah visiting my dad, and we were scheduled to fly home within days. My mom drove all the way to Utah to bring us home. Such expressions of love never go unnoticed, and I didn't even realize how big a deal it must have been for her. Her kids were all the way on the other side of the states and the country was in chaos.

We've all come crying to her with heartbreaks and hard times, when friends leave and when God's dealing with us. We've all celebrated with her when good things happen and when God moves. She's been faithful in making God the center of her focus, and teaching us to do the same.

Anyway, that's the main thing I'm grateful for this morning. I have to go cook for Thanksgiving dinner, so I'll try to get on and list the rest later.
Esther Pavao
It's never fun to find out your weaknesses, and God decided to reveal a few of mine to me.

Let me start with the fact that since my passage was scheduled, I've been hearing a lot of "It's time for you to behave like a woman.", to which I frequently respond, "But I'm still a kid!" Probably not the most mature response, but there you have it.

My prayers have an addition now. After praying for my grandparents and friend in Africa and friends in Memphis, I ask God to show me what it means to be a woman and give me opportunities to do that. Some are easier than others. For example, he allowed me to go to Memphis and help them move. I considered this a privilege. Esther, Ashelie, and I had a wonderful time together. And though some people might have considered it a work, we had so much fun doing it, I really couldn't.

However, started talking to me one night about how ungrateful I am. I complain a lot, even though I really have nothing to complain about. He has blessed me again and again and given me more than I deserve, and somehow, I still manage to find something wrong with the things He has given me. How can I go from writing a speech asking people to consider the orphans and homeless in Africa, and then stand, walk to fridge and open it, and loudly exclaim, "Why don't we have any food in here?!" Makes no sense whatsoever, and yet there are situations like that all the time.

So that was one thing that God has asked me to remember. Be grateful.

Another was that I can't stand alone. I don't really like to rely on people, and am one of those people who say, "If you want it done, do it yourself." I spout opinions like a fountain, but I don't really like to confide in people. And I don't know how to explain the difference to you, except that one makes you vocal, and the other makes you vulnerable. I do NOT like being vulnerable and I do NOT like feeling weak. But as God would have it, that's a weakness, as much as it feels like being strong.

Things come up sometimes in my house, or with my family, and I just deal with it on my own. Yes, I talk to people for advice, but never to break down and need help. I always told myself, "People need me to be strong." True, but people need me to be real, not just strong. It's hard to talk to someone who looks perfect. I know that from experience. And somehow, I keep trying to look perfect.

Well, I don't know if this is a confession or just a statement of the obvious, but I'm not perfect. I'm not always strong, and I do need people. I make a lot of mistakes.

Well, that's about as emotional as I can handle being on paper...screen, whatever.
If I keep going who knows what I'll say? :)
Esther Pavao
As I write this, I'm sitting in total terror. My stomach feels like a particularly violent swarm of butterflies has inhabited it, and my head is spinning. My body temperature keeps spiking and then plummeting. I have to face one of my worst fears tonight.
Public speaking.
Somehow, standing in front of 100 people who all know and love me, and talking to them about stuff they already know is one of the most terrifying things to me.
Let me say that I have good reason to dislike public speaking. Nearly all of my experiences have been bad or humiliating. I develop this embarrassing stutter, and then all sense of reason, logic, and memory abandon me. I start sweating profusely, and my face burns red. Not blushing pink, scarlet stop light/stop sign/autumn leaves red.
If I don't have everything I'm supposed to say right in front of me, I tend to forget whatever I'm supposed to say. I swore I wouldn't do it again several times, and in spite of that, I continue to find myself doing it.
Because God won't let me have my own way. He continues to make me overcome my weaknesses and my fears.He loves me and doesn't let me settle for doing less than I can.
Because I've seen pictures of these children that I'm speaking for and I've seen Abba's face when he talks about them, and I've seen the conviction on his face when he talks about the gross waste in other countries. I've seen the missionary teams we've sent over changed entirely by just one week with these children. And somehow, that gives me the courage to face a fear that suddenly seems much smaller and insignificant compared to these people's lives. If one person is touched by what I say, and is inspired to help, and steps forward to make a difference, it is totally worth it.
Esther Pavao
Another hero long gone, but her story is still very much alive.
I doubt anyone who reads this does not know who Queen Esther is. Another hero of mine, not simply because she was raised up from normal girl to a queen, but because she used her position to save millions of lives, putting her own at risk to do so. That's not even my favorite part though. My favorite part, hear me out because this will sound weird at first, was that she hesitated.

When she was first asked to go and risk her life, she was scared. She isn't painted as a fearless saint. She is still a human. She asked to have all the Jews in Susa pray and fast for three days before she would even go before the king. But then she does offer up her life to save her people.

Often, when we read about martyrs and heroes, they are made out to be perfect. They have no flaws, feel no fear, and perform amazing miracles. I always feel I could never measure up to these people and too often just give up trying to. I'm nowhere near perfect and if I ask myself whether I could willingly die for people, I'd like to say "Yes, I would." But in all honesty, I don't know. I wish to God that I would have the courage to sacrifice myself if I every got into a situation like that, but very likely I would hesitate, just like Queen Esther did. Because even the people we look up to are only human.

So all that to say that it's okay to be afraid, and it's okay to make mistakes. What separates the heroes from the cowards is not the way they feel, but the choices they make.
Esther Pavao
I've been waiting to post this because I wanted to write something with a friend, but I've had so many people ask about it (courtesy of Abba...) that I have to post it now. I'll see if I can get my friend to write something and post it later.

I went to a Christian concert a few weeks ago. Not my first one, but the first one with a Christian rock band. And it left me with a few questions. Are we worshipping God? Does God feel that Christian rock concerts further his kingdom?

I'm inclined to answer no. I don't think I can say they're "bad", but I don't want to delude myself into believing that I'm worshipping God either. Yes, the words are to God, and I believe the singers meant what they were saying. I heard the lead singer talk before the songs, and I truly believe he was genuine. He meant what he said, and he does follow God. Which is why I left confused.

The songs were good, but in today's music industry, to make any money at all, you have to entertain people. And that's what I believe that a concert is for: entertainment. The people in the audience were worshipping the band as much as they were worshipping God, if they were thinking of God. I personally was a little distracted by the flashing colored lights and the vibrating floor from the bass...and I'll admit to clapping, screaming, and even dancing to the music. Yes, I meant the words I was singing, but I wasn't singing them to worship God. It was fun.

I could totally picture myself on that stage, thousands of people watching me sing and the lights and the drums and the worshipping fans. I don't think that's what God has in mind. He wants us to worship him. I'm not saying the band wasn't worshipping God, but I know for sure that if it were me on the stage, it would be to get glory for myself. I'm only human.

I'm not going to say that I'll stop going to concerts, I just want to be in reality about myself. I loved the adrenaline rush I felt when the bass and drumset exploded and the lights flashed. I nearly lost my voice screaming. But I'm not deluding myself into believing that it was the Holy Spirit that filled me. It was entirely my flesh.

I think music opens doors. It's a tool that God gave us to reach people, but like every tool, it can be used dangerously. I got a whole new picture of why teenagers do stupid things after listening to heavy metal concerts. You get so pumped up and excited, you want to go do something, anything. If the words I'd been listening to had been encouraging stupid behavior instead of godly, I think I'd probably have done something stupid. And I don't make it a habit to do stupid things in case you were wondering.

So my question is, how does God feel about concerts? If it leaves me feeling pumped up and excited, not about anything bad, but not necessarily centered on God either, is it okay? And how does He feel about having His name in there? Is it disrespectful to say we're focused on God and this is all about God when we're really just enjoying the show?

I think like everything else, it's fine in moderation, as long as you know where you stand with God and you're not believing you're going to find God. It's pure entertainment. Like junk food, movies, and games, it's okay to have a little bit. But a steady diet of it will kill you.
Esther Pavao
Me and Vesper, in our matching dresses for Quinn and Amy's Wedding

I wanted to take a minute to talk about my niece. I decided to break up the heroes blogs throughout. I can't do them all at once, and when I want to write something else, it feels like it has to wait on the heroes. So, that will be a continuing thing.

My niece, Vesper, is only 8 months old. Actually, as I write this, she is sitting on my lap, attempting to contribute. She is already full of personality, and her least favorite word in the world is "no". Which is funny, because that was my first word to say. She is already testing her limits and trying to figure out how much we will allow her to do. My favorite thing about her though, is how much she loves people. I'm sure she doesn't have a very clear picture of "love" and everything, but she hates being left alone, and loves being held as much as possible. The hardest thing, is when she doesn't understand why I take things away, or tell her no.

It gives me a better picture of how God wants us to be with Him. Too often, we think we know what's best and we go off on our own and want Him to let us do what we want. He always knows what's best for us, the same way I know what's best for Vesper, even when she doesn't believe me and reaches out for a box fan or a small toy someone leaves around. And she gets angry at me for pulling her away or taking the toy so she doesn't choke. But in the end, she always forgives me. She always wants to come back to me and play and reaches for me when someone is holding her that she isn't familiar with. She doesn't hold grudges because I saved her life and she didn't understand. She just tries again the next day to see if I'll let her do it again, and when I stop her again, she realizes it's just something she can't do and stops trying.

I wish I was that way with God. I wish, when He told me, "No." I would realize that it was Him, instead of going, "No, I really do know what's best for me. I know myself better than anyone else, so I know what I need." I never know what's best for me. And as far as knowing myself better than anyone else, that's just an excuse for my behavior. "Well, she said this to me, and I'm just this way so it's my prerogative to react the way I did." It's my excuse to do what I want to do, and behave the way I want to because I'm "just this way".

Now, Vesper can't talk yet. Well, she can say "Whoa", "Mama", "Dada", "No", and something that we think is "Watch out!". Nothing very clearly though. But I hope that when she does, she'll realize the reasons I've been stopping her from doing what she wants. I hope that she realizes that I did it because I love her. The same way I've come to realize that God puts restraints on us, not because He doesn't want us to be happy, but because He loves us, and He wants us to be the best we can be, not get distracted by what we think we want and we think will make us happy.
Esther Pavao
I have a few minutes. I wasn't paying attention to time and started my lunch break later than I usually do, so I have a few minutes to try to write about my next dead hero.

Joan of Arc

First of all, she did some amazing things in her life. There's debate on whether God told her to or not, and some people go so far as to say that the devil was her advisor. I obviously disagree, but I suppose we're all entitled to our own opinions.

She stated in court that she started hearing voices when she was 12 years old. The way I see it, she was marked out by God as one of His from the day she was born. He started preparing her for His work while she was still a child. At 17, she became the only person to ever be placed General over an entire countries armies under the age of 18. She united a country that had been divided for years. She crowned a spineless king and helped him to become a man, in that order.

How did a girl, who could neither read nor write, was untrained in military knowledge, and had been expected to do no more than farm and raise a family leave behind all that she knew, spend her days with rough and tumble soldiers and speak to people far above her station, and unite the downtrodden people of France and eventually throw England off entirely? She trusted God. He spoke to her, she obeyed without question. She didn't know what she was doing and she knew the kind of ridicule that she would get. Not only did people not expect her to do anything great, it was considered impertinent to step out of her station, and it was virtually impossible for her to have accomplished anything that she did without the help of God. But she trusted that He wouldn't ask her to do anything that she couldn't.

And at the end of her life, after she had been imprisoned and forced through unfair trial and tricked into saying things that would condemn her, God asked one final thing of her. The thing she was most afraid of. She is quoted saying she would rather die one hundred times by the sword than by fire. And yet, that is exactly what she did. Without doubting God, she recanted the words she had been hoodwinked into saying and so condemned herself to the stake. She died before she got to see her work truly finished.

How do we form trust like that with God? For me it comes down to me not believing I know best, because most of the time, I do. I believe that I know better than anyone else. I guess that could be translated to pride. Not being able to admit that I'm wrong. I don't actually hear voices telling me what to do all the time (actually, if I did, I probably wouldn't tell you!), but I do have common sense and a conscience that guide me, as long as I let them.

Time's up. I don't really have time to make that tie together how I wanted to, but I'll just write the questions I asked myself and had to answer. They weren't easy for me. "Where in your life do you trust yourself over God?" and "Why?" and "What are you going to do to change that?"
Esther Pavao
I've been meaning to catch up on this for weeks, but we've been in the middle of our Ingathering. Hmmm....I wasn't going to use this post to describe the Ingathering, so I'll have to save it for later.

This one I wanted to write about my heroes. See, recently, about 60 of our teenagers went to a Do Hard Things conference in Alabama, and one small morsel of the tons of stuff we got was that we should have heroes: people we look up to, dead or alive, that influence our life, decisions, and way we behave. So I took a little time to think about people who I really admire, why, and what I can do to be more like them.

So I'll start with the dead ones. My first hero is Mary, Jesus' mother. I've always been completely amazed by her story. First of all, that God would choose a poor, illiterate girl to carry His son. That enough would send me reeling, but her reaction, not her position is makes me admire her.

I've never had an angel appear to me and tell me anything, so I can't even imagine what was going through her mind, but I have to say that I would probably be beyond terrified. But from the records we have, she didn't freak out. She merely said, "Let it be as you have said." She knew the ridicule and scorn she would get. She knew people would hate her, she knew the rumors that would go around about her. She knew that her parents and her betrothed would believe she was unfaithful. She knew that she could get stoned to death. And yet, in spite of all of this, she obeyed God. Can you imagine a world where we all just obeyed like that?

It took a lot of thought to come up with what I could do to be like her, but when I finally came to it, it's quite simple. I have to assume that she obeyed like that all the time, to any authority that was put over her. If you don't practice obedience, it won't come naturally to you. (Don't I know it?) So, in order to be like Mary, to be chosen to do great things by God and for God, I have to be obedient in small things, and to people who have authority over me. Even if I feel that they shouldn't have authority over me. Examples of this for me would be my siblings, or people put over me in dance, or school. See, I have this mental block that if I feel someone hasn't done anything to deserve my respect, I don't have to respect them. God has taken a little time to change that opinion. Sometimes it still flares up inside of me, but I think I have gotten a little better at swallowing it and obeying it. If not all the time, then at least sometimes, which is definitely better than not at all.

Well, I'll have to tell about the rest later, my lunch break is nearly up. I guess I'll do this one hero at a time.
Esther Pavao
I had a woman I trust talk to me once about what it meant to fall in love with God. It seemed ridiculous at first, almost sacriligious. I mean, God is God. You don't "fall in love" with Him. But recently, I started praying that God would show me what that meant.

The woman told me, "Imagine THE most perfect guy in the world. What would he look like? What kind of things would he do? How would he go about showing you he loved you?" I put a lot of thought into it. And I had a pretty long list of things that this perfect guy would be. He would love me enough not to let me have my own way; he would make beautiful things just for me to enjoy them. He would spend time with me just because he wanted to be with me. These are just a few things, not even the most important ones, just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Well, you know that feeling you get when you fall in love? You look forward to every time you see that person. You perk up and pay attention when you hear their name; you find yourself always talking about them and thinking about them unconciously. You dwell on your last conversations. You pay attention to everything they say, and notice little habits and quirks.

When I started praying that God would show me what it meant to fall in love with Him, this is exactly what happened to me. I would walk outside my house early in the morning and see the mist over the grass, the sun peeking over the trees and feel that God had woken me up early just to see what He had made. I got excited when I heard people talking about Him, and would listen in and join their conversations. I noticed Him in everything good that happened, and in all the bad, would feel that He was standing there comforting me. I got curious about reading the bible, which has never really happened to me before, and I found myself reading chapters in my free time, just because I could.

Because He really is THE best guy there ever could be. And I don't really think it's sacriligious anymore. The bible refers to Him as the bridegroom on more than one occasion with the church being His bride. I don't think it's a gross thing, being in love with God. He's like my father, my brother, and my best friend all in one.

I love the little things He does to show me He cares. I love spending time alone with Him. I love talking to Him and feeling that He's listening and answering. I love that He understands me and knows what's best for me.

I love God! And it is the most wonderful thing to me that I get to spend the rest of my life with Him.
Esther Pavao
I started this blog in hopes that I could spread my message. I wanted something that a lot of people would read and be touched by. The internet really is an amazing tool, albeit an incredibly abused one.

Who am I?

I am a 17-year-old girl who grew up in Rose Creek Village. My parents moved there when I was only 4 years old. My dad moved away when I was 7. I know some people just aren't cut out to live this life. Believe me, it's no picnic.

We live on a 100-acre piece of land in West Tennessee with about 25 mobile homes--2 to 3 families per home. A lot of people ask why we live several families to a home and other people post suspicions and rumors. The truth is, God asked us to. Plain and simple. We have found this is one of the best ways to fellowship with each other: learning to resolve our differences, and truly come together. We aren't polygamists. We have simply found that it's not enough to see each other once or twice a week at church or Wednesday night service. We wanted to live in each others homes and live right next door to each other.

The reason I named this blog "Spreading the Message" is because my age group is called the Messengers. We are all 16 to 18 years old, and there are currently 13 of us. All the age groups have names that reflect what God was doing with us at the time of our naming, and what we feel that He will do with us. Our name came when we were getting messages from India, Kenya, Uganda, Myanmar (Burma), Rhode Island, South Dakota, and many more places, asking for us to come and speak to them about what God has done with us and wondering whether we could help them start villages. The village felt like we'd get to be part of spreading God's message and so we became the Messengers.

I'm writing all this about the village and the messengers because I feel like it helps describe who I am. I read a Japanese proverb once that said, "If a character of a man isn't clear to you, look at his friends." My friends define me. We are a strong group of people with a lot of talent and potential. Three of the Messengers started a band and played a song that they wrote and it was beautiful. One of them does welding and is taking classes to be certified. Several of the girls are studying to become midwives. Several are interested in photography and video and have already proven themselves to have wonderfully creative minds and an eye for beauty, capturing the beauty in situations that I never would have seen it. A couple are good at writing and several more at public speaking. A lot of us dance, Irish, interpretational, tap, ballet, and more. I haven't found my passion yet. But I suppose I still have a little time. We are all a little intense when we're talking about something we feel strongly about, and some of us are just that way naturally. We used to be very argumentative, but these debates don't usually end in tears anymore. We love to have fun (don't all teenagers?) and especially together. Rarely does a group of people plan something that the rest don't end up being a part of.

Something all of us are heading towards and are looking forward to is a passage. Passages are the celebration that the village puts on the commemorate the passing from childhood to adulthood. When the parents of a teenager or the adults that teen is close to feel like that particular teen shows qualities becoming a woman or man as the case may be, it's time for them to start behaving like a man. Can they make good choices in life? Do they show self-control, discernment, and wisdom? Do they have good relationships with other men/women and with God? Sometimes this is backwards. If someone is past their teen years and still isn't showing signs of maturity, then sometimes they need a passage so that they can feel like, as an adult, I need to grow up and act my age.

I didn't mean to write so much about the Village, I was trying to explain who I am, but I am of the Village, so I suppose that everything I write about me will be about the Village. Some people might be offended if I make this bold statement, but I'm going to anyway. We are the body of Christ on earth. He has chosen to live among us. We obviously aren't the only ones, there are so many people that we haven't even heard of yet that are doing God's will and I only hope that I am privileged to meet them some day, but we could never do the things we do if it weren't for God's constant grace.

That's who I am and what I am a part of.