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  • Writer's pictureJules Arata

a hidden piece of heaven

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

Nappanee, IN

let me tell you a story, about a little town tucked away in the northern farm country of Indiana.

a little place called Nappanee.

this is one of those towns that people drive through on their way to South Bend or Chicago or Fort Wayne. not one that shows up on the airport clicker or does travel commercials promoting tourism. a community that's backbone is strong because of the hardworking farming and factory industries that populate their region.

when trying to locate it on a map, you might need to reference towns 30+mins away to give a general idea of where it is. but that is where the beauty lies. the beauty lies in its simplicity, the fact that they are nothing but honest about who they are. this town is one that leans into midwestern culture, completely confident in who they are and what they are about.

a beautiful community: a mixture of Amish, farmers, families, pastors, factory workers, and missionaries to name a few. this town has the ability to capture your heart without any warning.

it grabs you with the changing colors of the acres of trees, it pulls you in with the sun rising over the farmland and silos. you are mesmerized by the hospitality and generosity, floored by the kindness radiated by every person you meet, and the moment that you are aware of all of it, you have found a family and a place that you do not want to leave.

someone asked me the three biggest things i learned, how i grew from that trip, and my favorite parts. i like this question and will continue this tradition with every trip.

what i learned

1. how stretching this job is going to be

2. how great the Lord’s provision is and just how He will come through even when we thought we wouldn’t meet our goal

3. how He will fill your cup when you empty it out for a greater Kingdom purpose

how i grew

there were just moments that made me not think about how physically challenging the job is, but how important and life saving it is for the children these meals go to. the community that welcomed me there made me feel like i had a home there.

favorite parts

my favorite bits were just those in between moments you know?

the little interactions with volunteers, like giving a little girl a bandaid.

the purpose with which each of our super volunteers carried themselves, as if they were not just giving us a whole week of their lives to serve alongside us, but you could see their passion for missions and serving others.

the conversations I got to have with the warehouse guys and the hosts daughters and the relationships that I cultivated over the days that made it hard to leave.

to nappanee missionary church

this community welcomed my team with open arms this week and truly were examples of what it looks like to be fully committed to Christ in mission & spirit. i found myself yearning to constantly learn more about serving others and their earnest willingness. being able to witness not only their love for Christ, but their love for their community and for selfless generosity was such a beautiful thing. so beyond blessed that i got the opportunity to serve alongside these kind, hard working people and walk away knowing that i will always have a home there.

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