I couldn't go to sleep last night because I felt so joyful!
The rice dinner ended up being more than I could have anticipated.
It started out with our 10 and 8 year old neighbors, Cassie and Sydney, collecting the food from the neighbors. They brought it all over to our house so that everyone who came for the dinner would be able to see all that they accumulated. They spent hours sorting and counting and sorting and counting. They made a thermometer to track the progress, and got excited every time a neighbor dropped off another bag or two. We made it to almost 600, with promises of more on the way!
I've always dreamed of having a neighborhood like this, where we feel comfortable walking into one another's homes because we are that comfortable with one another.
I've dreamed of seeing kids know that they have a chance to make a difference in the world, and at one point Sydney said, "Tamara, I know you asked us to do this, but I am glad that I did it because I like to serve people." (This makes my heart soar and makes all the work of getting to this point worth it.)
The best part, however, was when everyone started to arrive. About half of the 50ish number of kids and parents were from Missio Lux and about half from the neighborhood. When they sat down to eat, they ate with one another and discussed the specific country they were given to explore that experiences extreme hunger, making new connections and friendships.
I realized when everyone left that I had been able to accomplish for a brief time what I dream of doing, helping people come together for a reason bigger than ourselves and breaking down the barriers that exist between those who pursue Jesus and those who currently don't. I know this: that when we reach out to serve it awakens the heart of God within all of us!
I can't wait until next year to eat that delicious rice for dinner.....