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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ariel's Back!

We are all full of smiles here, Ariel's Home! It seemed like the phone call would never come, but finally we heard the news. Ariel was 40 minutes away from home. We all rushed into the car, and headed to the church. We took up a good position so we would be the first to see the bus come driving down the road. It brought tears to my eyes, knowing my daughter was finally back. I couldn't wait to get that first hug and hear the news of what happened this past week.

Gabe couldn't wait to see Ariel too. On Thursday afternoon he told me he just couldn't walk by Ariel's door anymore. If he opened it up and saw that the room was empty again, it would make him too sad. He missed her so much!

We weren't left waiting for very long. As soon as the bus came to a stop, Ariel yelled hello out the window. She had some very exciting news for us too! She didn't even wait to get out of the bus to tell us her good news. "I spoke in tongues at camp!" It was so overwhelming to hear those words from her. I just knew that God had become real to her in such a big way. I can remember when I was just about her age, the same thing happened to me.

My family was very close to each other, and sometimes we would all gather in the living room and have a prayer meeting. We each could take turns saying what we wanted to pray about and my family would pray together. I can remember for a long time my request was always that I would be able to speak in tongues and be baptized by the Holy Spirit. We had lots of meetings, and it never happened for me. It was late one night, when my mom and dad were tucking me in to bed and saying my bedtime prayers with me, that it finally happened. I was so excited, I could hardly sleep that night. At that time my family cleaned the church building and the next day was a cleaning day. I wanted the world to know what happened to me that night. Before we left for cleaning I made a sandwich sign to wear. I didn't want anyone to miss out on my great news. My sign hung on the front of me, and the back of me saying, "I'm baptized in the Holy Spirit" The only people at church that day were the pastors, but they were touched by my enthusiasm. The next church service we had, I got to go in front of the whole church and share my news with everyone.

It was a very empowering experience for me, and I am so grateful that my daughter now understands my joy. It still today makes me cry; I'm so excited for her. I hope that she never forgets this day, but I pray that she will continue to seek God and praise Him for what He's done, and is doing for her. It's not just meant to be a one time experience, it's meant for a lifetime of praising Him.

"Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does. Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you. Most of all, try to proclaim his truth. If you praise him in the private language of tongues, God understands you but no one else does, for you are sharing intimacies just between you and him. But when you proclaim his truth in everyday speech, you're letting others in on the truth so that they can grow and be strong and experience his presence with you."
1 Corinthians 14:1-3 (The Message)

We planned a special "Welcome Home" party for Ariel. Gabriel was the mastermind behind the party which made it even more sweet. We filled the living room with different colored balloons, and rented a bird movie, "Up" to watch with our pizza. After the movie was over we all shared some chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, Ariel's favorite. Then the kids all got in their jammies and had a sleepover together on the pull-out couch.

We love you, Ariel! I'm so glad you're home!!!

It feels so good to all be together again. I pray that we all can remember just how important each of us are to one another.

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