Posted by Jenny Morgan

There are so many people these days who are going above and beyond that it would be impossible to name them all. However, I would like to give a special praise to Pastor José for all he is doing right now to make it all work. Some of you may know that he is currently working on his licensing requirements with the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. He was supposed to have been going to classes at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology this spring, but of course, that had to be converted to online classes, videos and virtual homework assignments. He has been juggling very difficult classes, writing assignments, working at his job as an interpreter (albeit on video calls and the phone), keeping up with Skyland’s youth via multiple social media methods, and recording sermons every week. He has something online nearly every day of the week for his congregation and the youth. On top of all of that, he has worked tirelessly with me to deliver Backpack Buddy food bags every single week since the lockdown began. Pastor José has one more week to go with his classes and I would like to ask for everyone to lift him up in your prayers during this time.

I’m sorry I have been so long in posting – the Backpack Buddy expanded program has gotten so active and so many blessings are coming out of it. I have met an amazing number of good, kind people in the last two months and have rejoiced at the number of times God has shown up at the 11th hour with more than enough provisions just when we thought we were out of commission.

This afternoon, God sent me a special gift. I love to watch hawks. Odd, I know, but they are so beautiful really; so graceful when they soar and so dignified when they sit up in the trees. Normally, they are only visible briefly, but today, I got to watch one nearly all afternoon. He spent most of the day perched either on the tree outside my bedroom window or on the fence between our backyard and the neighbors. It reminded me of an extraordinary encounter with a hawk several years ago that showed me how God can show me His sense of humor and provide a little miracle all at one time.

A house we owned at that time had a pool. Austin and I were cleaning leaves out of the pool one morning when I realized there was a snake just swimming away right in the middle of the pool. And it was not a little baby snake. I began to envision trying to scoop it out with my long net to throw it over the back fence, but my brain went right down the rabbit hole to imagine how the snake would leap out of the net and right onto my face.

I turned to Austin and literally raised a hand to heaven and said, “Oh, Lord, how are going to get this snake out of the pool before he gets sucked into the filter and breaks it?” To be totally honest, it was not a legit prayer. But God laughed at me and my tiny faith and how I didn’t even really ask Him to help. At that very moment, a beautiful hawk flew like a bullet out of the woods and grabbed that snake with one clawed foot and flew away to enjoy his lunch. I laughed out loud at how God knows what we need before we even ask (or don’t even have the good sense TO ask) and how He provides so often in interesting and creative ways for us.

-By Eleanor Flanagan