Maybe we were too slow yesterday morning. I'm not sure. Whatever, the reason, we were told to get up even earlier today. All the tiredness that I hadn't been feeling last night caught up with me. Thankfully, we had a long bus ride ahead of us, and Stephanie was kind enough to wake me up when we arrived at our first destination.
Today we visited two rehab centers, one for men recovering from drugs and one for men recovering from drugs and alcohol. At both of them, we all sat in a circle and they introduced themselves to us (and we were occasionally able to distinguish their name in the string of words they said), including how long they had been clean in the areas of their addictions. The times ranged from three years to one day. We then introduced ourselves (each time followed by many "Oi, [name]"), and at the second place included what programs we are in at Providence (I'm one of the few who is not a Music Major, it seems).
For our part, we were able to bless them with a few songs, and Harley and Brendan shared portions of their testimonies at the respective centers. Vaughn also gave out an autograph, I think. I, however, was blessed simply to hear about their lives and their struggles to overcome various addictions. If you ever need a reminder that God can love even you, just look to those who rely on that love to help them through each and every day.
In the evening we sang at another church, and I must admit that we blew ourselves away with the incredible acoustics. It is very easy to enjoy singing in a building like that. Not to mention, once we were finished, we were swarmed like super stars by the young people of the church. Language barriers aside, we will all be receiving many Facebook friend requests in the near future.
And now we are back at the retreat center, relaxing after our meeting (in light of the fact that we get to sleep in tomorrow--finally!). Today's word for reflection was 'melody.' What is melody? What melody do we hear the most? And for me, today and this whole trip so far, I have heard the melody of God's voice. It keeps resurfacing, popping up in the testimony of a friend, the struggles of a recovering drug addict, the generosity of a church, Professor Cameron Mackenzie's message, and simply in observing the city and reflecting on its people. He is present with us and everywhere we go. And even when his voice seems to be in discord with all the other melodies, all the other voices, his word holds true. He is the God who keeps his covenant. He is the LORD our God, and the God of the whole world.