Written by Allie Sampson
Photographed by Sydnee Mela & JD Gravitt
On Friday night, our staff gathered together and sat down at a beautiful table to eat a meal and talk about what the Lord has done over the past few months. At one point in the night, Melissa brought up how crazy it was to look back over the past 6 months and look at all of the things that our community has done. Since January, we have released an album, completed 4 building projects, released the 18 Inch Journey book, opened an online store and hosted 7 worship nights in Asheboro, NC. As we reflect on all of these things, we are blown away by the extravagance and faithfulness of the Lord who has tended so beautifully to our dreams. We are so thankful to the Father for each of these projects, but by far, we are most thankful for the two schools that we have started and completed over the past six months.
Wednesday night, we closed our 7th 18 Inch Journey school with an extravagant closing dinner. It was a lovely night of reminiscing and remembering all that the Trinity had done in the 32 students who came. Tonight, we host another closing dinner as we end our 6-month school. Phase 2 is for 18 Inch Journey alumni and is a deeper dive into the rhythms and values taught during the Journey. In February, 12 students returned to the land for Phase 2 and since then, they have been participating in creative classes, small groups, impartation sessions and serving the 18 Inch Journey through servant leadership. We have journeyed with them deeply and are exceedingly proud of each one of them.
This evening, our entire community will join together to celebrate the brilliance of the Father and how much He has done in each one of the twelve. We will hear from each of them as they read their final exit statement, proclaiming how they have seen the Lord since they’ve been here. We will seal their hearts with declarations: statements we’ve crafted that acknowledge what we’ve seen in their hearts and affirm the Goodness of God in their lives. We will set a beautiful table, prepare an extraordinary meal, laugh deeply and cry frequently as we honor the journey of their lives and the amazing plans that the Father has intricately woven together for them. It has been our deepest privilege to get to walk with them and lead them over the past 6 months and we are certain that even better things are ahead of them. Their lives are full of hope because they have cultivated friendship and surrendered themselves to the leadership of the best friend and leader they could ever have: the Holy Spirit.
After saying our goodbyes, our community will be taking some time off to visit friends and family. We will come back together in the Fall to continue dreaming with the Father and to press more into what He is doing here at A Place for the Heart. Blog updates and the Cageless Birds store will resume their normal activity in September. We pray that you have a beautiful and restful August.