It's a Small World (Plus more pictures!)

I wasn't planning on writing anything today, but something happened today that I think y'all would like to hear about. It ties in nicely with something that happened on a hike I went on last weekend!

Last weekend, I went on a trip with some other Americans, and we hiked Rainbow Mountain on Saturday. On that hike, we met dozens of groups of people coming down the mountain as we were going up. It was obvious when the people we met were from the States, and Chandler and I got really excited when a group of people greeted us with, "Hey y'all!" About halfway up the mountain, we came upon a group of people that looked a lot like us: American study abroad students. A girl in their group said something like "Go Cats" or some mascot, and as they passed by, I responded with "Go Vols," without thinking anything about it. (I'm a Tennessee Volunteer. It's just what we do!) Almost instantly, I heard a familiar voice say, "Wait. Who's from Tennessee?" I quickly turned around, and standing at the back of their group were two students I knew from UT! They are studying abroad for the summer and are heading back to Tennessee at the end of July. What are the odds? I mean, I met them on campus when all the study abroad students met everyone who was also traveling to their chosen country. So, I ran into two people I knew over 8000 miles from home, three hours away from the city I'm living in, and halfway up Rainbow Mountain. Crazy, right?

Today, I went to the mall with the sole purpose of getting a cell phone and a prepaid plan to use while I'm in New Zealand. (Good news! I actually didn't have to buy a phone! Apparently, my iPhone is "unlocked," and I was able to use that instead.) So, I went into Vodafone, and there was a lady standing there with two little boys and a shopping cart.  She was looking at me strangely, so I did what any Southern girl would do and said, "Hello! How are you doing today?" She responded, "Oh! It's so good to hear a familiar, Southern accent!" As it turns out, she's from Crossville, Tennessee and was wondering if I was from Tennessee, as well. (I guess my Tennessee Volunteers sweatshirt tipped her off.) She was absolutely the sweetest, and her sons were adorable! Her name is Rachel, and her husband is a dentist in Palmerston North. They moved here to help out the Church of Christ church downtown. She went to Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, TN, and she even knows (of) a good friend of mine! (Any guesses who, Phillips family?) Anyway, she gave me her phone number, asked if I needed anything, and told me if I ever needed anything at all (like cheap dental work, for instance) to give her a call! It was so nice to talk to another Tennesseean! I really believe that God put us in that store at the same time, and I'm so thankful that I ran into her! You never know what might happen, and it's nice to know that they can be there for me if I ever need them. 

It really is a small world. It's so amazing to me how God does small things in our lives, like running into classmates or meeting a nice lady from Tennessee, just to show us that He is here for us. These may seem like insignificant events to anyone else, but to me, they're sweet tastes of home and small gifts from God, just to show me that I am not alone in this adventure. Everything about this trip so far has been so incredible, and I can feel His hand on my life through the good friends I've made, the opportunities He's given me to see more of His marvelous creation, and the sense of peace He has placed in my heart.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 14:27

On a completely different note, here are some more pictures from my weekend excursion! Haley took these pictures on her Samsung Galaxy, and we were all so impressed with the quality!




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