Sunday, June 24, 2012

Farmers and Friendliness

This week, I felt a few pangs of homesickness - a pang for my bathtub, a pang (or two) for Mexican food, and a pang for my Durham kitchen. But despite those occasional pangs, Brent and I have felt so content here. I know the Lord is giving us that contentment and peace.  Iowa continues to grow on me little by little, and Brent and I had a great time this weekend.
On Saturday morning, we decided to check out the Freight House Farmer's Market. As it turns out, the rest of the Quad Cities had the very same idea! The market was PACKED, and it was AWESOME. It was a big, vibrant, fun farmer's market complete with fruits, veggies, honeys, jams, popcorn, flowers, candy, taco stands, cafes, clothes, dogs, and a playground. We had so much fun walking around looking at all the farmstands and people watching.

We weren't in the market for bread, but I totally would have bought some Praise the Lord bread!
We ate lunch at the farmer's market cafe - freshly squeezed lemonade, sliders, hand-cut fries, and fruit.

I purchased some peaches and tomatoes.
After the Farmer's market, we were already in Downtown Davenport, which we hadn't explored much, so we decided to walk around.

Figge Art Museum - on my list to visit soon

Riverboat casino - NOT on my list to visit soon

Skybridge across downtown

View of the Mississippi

This morning, we had the coolest thing happen to us at church.  {Now we're transitioning to the "friendliness" part of this post.}  We've been checking out churches in the area each week.  We're not looking for a permanent church home since we're only here for 12 weeks, but we want to find a place to worship and maybe meet a few people.  This morning, we went to Bettendorf Christian Church.  It was a smaller church, but not tiny.  Everyone seemed to know each other.  After the service, everyone was milling around the lobby, visiting.  Brent and I are not exactly experts at small talk, so we glanced around and headed for the exit.

We were literally pushing the door open to leave when this woman RAN up to us (almost out of breath) and said, "Wait...I'm sorry, but I don't know that I've seen you here before.  Have we met?"  We stopped in our tracks and said, "Well, no... this is actually our first time, and we're new to the area."  Her face lit up, and she wanted to shake our hands and guide us over to the welcome table to give us a gift.  She said, "We have so many things going on for young adults like you!" 

At the welcome table, we were greeted by two more ladies who wanted to give us all kinds of information about the church and what it had to offer.  They were so, so nice.  They handed us a gift bag, and as we turned around to leave, the head pastor was standing right there, waiting for us to finish talking to the welcome ladies so he could talk to us.  He wanted to meet us and told us over and over how glad he was that we were there. 

Five minutes later, we left with the biggest smiles and walked to the car.  We were both like, "WOW!  That was like the friendliest church EVER!"  We could not get over the fact that the welcome lady spotted us in a very full lobby and knew right away that she didn't know us.  Then, she CHASED US DOWN to make sure we were welcomed.  How many people would do that?  I can't say that I would.  I just saw so many people there full of the holy spirit and so many people who clearly loved the Lord so much that it came out in their service. 

... and then I opened the gift bag.  Y'all, there was an entire loaf of homemade banana bread in there.  It almost brought me to tears, and it makes me smile so big right now.  There is some lady who bakes loaves of bread every single week to hand them out to strangers who are visitors at church.  I want to be that lady!!!!  I want to make bread for strangers!!!  I want to know people at church so well that I can spot a visitor a mile away!!!  About 3 pm, we got a personal email from the head pastor, welcoming us again.  WOW.  Those old ladies and that pastor definitely gave me an example to aspire to, and it just reminded me how BIG of an impression a small thing can have.  It also reminded me that people are the most important part of a church.  I think we'll be going back just because the people so radiated the love of Christ.  And that's something I won't soon forget.  Texans are friendly.  North Carolinians are, too.  However, no one but an Iowan has EVER tracked me down to give me a homemade loaf of bread for the sake of Jesus.  Just sayin'.


Liz said...

What an AWESOME story!!! I almost cried just reading it!

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