“By His grace I’ve been blessed to call you my friends”

More crying this week. Like anyone’s surprised at this point.

These tears were for my dear, dear equipping team*. Last night we had dinner together and Amanda performed a song that she wrote for us. Needless to say I broke down. I love these five people so much, and Amanda Craven write freaking beautiful music. Watch the video here.

*My equipping team is the group of six of us who have been leading the Mark Twain Canvas Group this year.

The six of us just started working together in August, but we’ve grown extremely close over the past eight months. We’ve argued, been frustrated and grown in our patience with one another. We’ve laughed until we’ve cried, enjoyed one another’s presence and had a lot of fun. We’ve teased each other about being punctual, mumbling and not making eye contact. We’ve debated and discussed our faiths. We’ve challenged and encouraged one another. We’ve done a lot of hard work. We’ve built life-long friendships; at least I hope we have. But most importantly, we’ve served the Lord together.

This post goes out to you guys, my fellow servants.

Just in review of the past year, here are some things that come to mind when I think about each one of you, whether it be things we did, things you showed me or characteristics of your personality…

Justin: late-night Facebook chats, Skyping from South America to Colorado, giving each other advice, baby voices, arguing all the time, painting doors, ruining my canvas groups, always questioning and seeking, loving homeless people, Teen Girls Squad, Dexter, wheelies, reaching out in Speaker’s Circle and spontaneous New Year’s road trips

Amanda: laughing at everything, loving squirrels, sermon CDs in every nook and cranny of your car, BAP, wanting to be your friend, walks around the YMCA grounds, journal entries, Friday lunches, beautiful music, girl talk, PTLing, 21 shots of juice, hugs, encouragement, being a huge example for me, discipling and sharing the gospel

Sam: hanging out in my dorm room, that stupid alarm all summer, neighbors, roommates, walking to Twain, staying at your house in KC on the way to Texas, giving you all my stuff, QT runs, riding shotgun, laughing and late nights

John: mumbling, various “styles” of hair and beard, Twain life, Super Smash Brothers, zip-lining into trees, having a huge heart for outreach, being a huge role model, inviting me to the Rock in the first place, The Sound of Music and talking through every movie we’ve ever watched

Ben: arguing over ResLife, teaching me to clean fridges, the Papa to my Mama, loving efficiency, reassuring pats on the back during long meetings, LEGIT, hugs, getting cultured at plays and baseball games, really bad puns, sharing the gospel together, a passion for prayer and a no-nonsense approach to following Christ

I can’t even imagine what this year would have been like without each one of you. In the words of Amanda’s song, look at the work God has done here. Praise Him with your holy hands! Without you guys, we wouldn’t have this:

Our Mark Twain Canvas Group family

In closing, I leave you with this song. This song meant a lot to me my junior year of high school when the majority of my friends were seniors. I was really sad when they left, but I think the song means even more to me now. Although my Class of 2006 friends were wonderful, I think this song applies more to my equipping team.

“You know no one could ever fill your shoes.
And as iron sharpens iron, you have taught me how to be a stronger man.”

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