Dreams Really Do Come True
When I first came on staff with Open Hearts in 2010 we began implementing the early version of what has become our “Regional Strategy”. I remember clearly when the key leaders in the Southeast Region began hoping, talking and praying towards a Journey event in their region. In the years that followed they were tireless in their efforts to look into possible locations, dreaming of the day when Open Hearts would host a Journey in the Southeast.
April 21st their dreaming came true as the leader team assembled and the Regional Journey in Atlanta began. It was a sweet time as we gathered on a southern style veranda to share a meal. Looking around the table I saw the faces of those who had hoped and prayed this event into reality, smiling and soaking up the joy of a dream come true.
The week was wonderful. As I had the privilege of speaking daily I had a wonderful vantage point for watching the faces of the participants transform a bit each day. I love what happens at a Journey event. I love where I come to know the crowd more each day, those who choose consistently to sit in the front row, those who come in late and catch my eye as they try to find a seat, those who sit in the back making eye contact above the heads of those seated in front of them. People tend to sit in the same places, because there is something calming in returning to a familiar spot in the room.
The south has a welcoming, slow pace. We felt it in the groups, and we felt as we ate our meals in local restaurants. They are not in a hurry…taking your time, savoring the flavors, enjoying the moments are part of what it is to be welcomed with southern hospitality. As I listened to the group leaders they all felt the slower pace and wondered if the nine week curriculum would be long enough with things moving slower. We “stayed the course” and waited to see how God would show Himself. As the testimony time unfolded we experienced another truth about the south…slow southern style produces flavorful and rich results. The groups all ended with beautiful stories of transformation, hope renewed and places of redemption found.
For me, some of the sweetest moments were as I heard participants talking to one another about registering for the next Journey. To hear that their time had been so fruitful and beneficial that they were already talking about signing up to do it again made my heart smile.
The closing words for many from the Atlanta Journey were “see you at Maranatha” as they said their good-byes to us. I loved that!
The momentum is building and hope is in the air for what will come in October. I hope all of you will consider signing up to be with us.
I would love to see you there.