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  • Writer's pictureJules Arata

a homecoming

Nappanee, IN


this was a homecoming i have been waiting for. a community that i so deeply fell in love with a year ago. a group of people who so readily stood up for me && were on my side. they laughed w me && asked questions w a genuine sense of curiosity and care.


you would think with it being a missionary church that having a 1mil+ meal packing goal would be feasible, but they make it look easy. this event has become such a fixture of the community's calendar that it is second nature.


the youth group does a late night session on friday, one they have been waiting not only all year for, but for the junior/senior boys, they have been training for their whole lives. this is their moment to show off on warehouse. this is the moment where they get to truly provide and have a show of physical strength. this is also the moment where simple competitiveness comes out and causes them to pack twice the amount of every other session and provide enough meals to feed more kids than there were people in the room at that moment in time.


bc i did have the joy of being able to do this trip again, it wasn't just one reunion, it was continuous throughout the week. full of little moments of recognition and remembrance, of me realizing that i had a larger impact on people than i thought.


this event last year was my third on staff, and this year it was my 22nd. something that i think i could obviously see in myself. last year, i was the only new staff member out of 8 on the event. and this year i was one of two on staff that had been there more than 6 months. it was a cool feeling to have the answers to the questions that i was asking a year ago.


it was a week where i got to have what a homecoming should feel like. one of thanksgiving && joy && laughter && hugs that i have waited too long for.


what i learned

  1. you can learn a lot in a year

  2. high schoolers can save the day

  3. He provides opportunities to practice grace && peace when you ask for it


how i grew


i feel like i maybe knew this subconsciously, but nurturing the relationships with the host team is just as important as the technical side of the job && that was evident on this trip


favorite parts


this time it was the moments of remembering old jokes from last year.


it was the laughter over meals.


it was the warehouse crew's dedication && hard work.


it was my best friends there being the dads (+the one mom) of warehouse & the high school girls.


to nappanee missionary church


thank you for giving me the homecoming i dreamed of. thank you for who you are && hoow you serve && who you push me to be.


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