47 days of missing you, but looking back at the past 6 days..!

It has been 47 days… 47 days of missing you.

I have talked a lot about the past 47 days and the feelings and emotions that have come with the past 47 days. Today, I’m going to talk about the past 6 days.

p.s. I know these go at the end, BUT this is important. The last time I wrote was write after I got back from Indiana. I told you guys that I promised my bed I wasn’t going to leave it again… Welllllll… I left it again..!

p.p.s. haha I did it again… ANYWHO, WARNING…. below is a lot of words and a lot of pictures! Happy reading and viewing!

December 7th, 2016, we (Mom, Dad, Milo, Carrie, Graham, Damaris, Kala, and I) headed in Washington State. Why? The ACTS team was in Thailand from November 5th to December 6th. They were coming home and mom and dad wanted to go out and see them and hear about their trip and just be with them. They were the people Trae spent his last days here on Earth with. Some of them were the people he spent his very last moments, conversations, and time with.

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The ACTS team went to Thailand and a month there in the city and in the jungle. They spent the month telling people about Trae’s life and more importantly, about Jesus. They spent time figuring out their lives, thinking about where God was calling them. They spent time with kids, teaching them and playing with them. They spent time sharing the love of Jesus with anyone they met. They also spent time missing Trae, like we all have. They left for Thailand a little over a week after Trae died. They left with the love for him and with a hole in their team.

The returned home to Washington by Tuesday. They had just enough time to sleep some of the jet lag off before we arrived Wednesday. We, of course, arrived silly and tired. The lack of sleep had come over us and we just laughed and laughed at nothing really. When I say we, I mean mainly Kala and I, but our whole family. We were tired and so glad to be at ACTS and with these wonderful people. They accepted our craziness and wondered about us.

Before we had left, while I was packing I looked up the weather. The weather app told me that it was to snow 3-6 inches in Tieton, WA, which was our destination. So I am packing and I see this. So I decided to pack my snow boots. So then I had to take a bigger suitcase and my family was laughing at me because I packed snow boots. Well, Thursday afternoon, the snow started a-falling! Who was the silly one now?

Anyway (Sorry about the weird side note above), the students had class Thursday and Friday morning. Thursday morning, we went to Freddy’s and helped the sweet cooks with lunch while the students were at class. Then the students had to start packing for home. We explored the dorms and passed out pictures of Trae that we had made and a copy of one of he drawings Trae drew. We had snow ball fights and played in the snow. We threw snow balls at the students and then got back at us.. (Actually they got back at me. Milo threw snow balls too.) We were out in the snow in short sleeves and no shoes. I told them that was how to know you were from the west, but then I started doing it too…! Whoops! Mom helped with supper.

Thursday night, we had a supper for the ACTS team. The students then shared their biblical purpose, values and Godly vision. This is something I challenged myself to think about and I am now challenging you to think about. I don’t think it comes to us right away always, but it is something to think about and organize your life around it. Think about your life and what God is doing in your life. Think about the things in life you value and why you value them. And finally, think about where God is sending you. Think about what God is doing in your life and how you are going to go forward from here, working for Him.

After all the students shared, Jeff got up and talked. He wondered what Trae would have wrote. He wondered what Trae would have said. We sat there and listened and prayed and cried. We hugged one another and held each other tight. Then they preformed their drama for us. Their drama was put on Facebook a while back by mom and dad. The drama was done because of the language difference between them and the people in Thailand; a way of communication without saying a word. The tears just kept flowing. That night, Sojo’s was open. Sojourner’s in the coffee shop that GCM runs. We went over to drink coffee, hot chocolate, mochas and so much more and sit around and chat.

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This is on the wall at Sojourner’s (The GCM Coffee Shop). The picture of Trae is above where he always sat (the closest seat to the espresso machine) and says, “I know that my life is not my own & I cannot waste the time that I have been given. The least I can do is GIVE EVERYTHING I AM & HAVE for the cause of Christ. I believe in the cross of Christ. Wasting my life is out of the question.” -Wrote by Trae Oyler, Missionary to the World

Friday morning was spent relaxing and hanging out. The students had class and then lunch and then had to clean the dorm and campus. There was many snowballs thrown during this time. People packing and dodging snowballs as they carried stuff to their car. Smiling, laughing, freezing cold hands. So much fun. Mom helped with supper again that night. Friday night was the farewell supper. A time we were and were not looking forward to. A supper that meant after this, ACTS 18 is done. After this, everyone goes home. After this, this chapter of life is over and a new one begins. Supper was delicious. Then there was time of gifts for each student and sharing about the time at ACTS. Trae was not there to receive his gift but his family received gifts for him. Then, they shared a video of ACTS 18 time. Videos and pictures of all of the students. Tears again. Lots of tears. A night of tears.

This night was ended with prayer for the team as they go forth from ACTS. We prayed and hugged and cried and smiled and laughed. I wanted a picture with he whole ACTS team and our family (shown below). I also wanted pictures with each of the students because we were now family.IMG_4695.JPG

A family of people who have one moment in our lives that completely changed us all.We are all connected through Trae. Trae’s death has made us more than friends, but family.

These people are so so special to us. We are all so blessed to know each and every one of these people. My heart has been overwhelmed by the love in the past couple of days. Jesus bonded us with this group of people in a way that no one or nothing else can. Jess said at closing that we were chose by God for this to happen to us. We were hand picked by God to go through this and for some reason, God put this group of people together. We don’t understand why God did this to us, but we try not to question His ways. God chose us and we can’t sit around and be sad. We have to go out and tell people about this and share Jesus through Trae’s life. Mom keeps saying, when talking about Christmas or life in general, that she doesn’t want everything to be about Trae, but about Jesus. That is what we are trying to do. Share Trae’s life and his story and tell people about Jesus. You cannot tell Trae’s story without including Jesus.

Friday night was filled with hugs and a few goodbyes and pictures. Pictures of us, pictures of Trae, pictures from Thailand. Dad shared the slide show we played at Trae’s viewing here at home. We laughed at the pictures of Trae as a little kid and smiled at the photos of us when we were younger.

I loved being in Washington with these people. They were right there when Trae was shot. They know how we feel and what we are going through. Talking to them is so easy. I sat and talked to some of them for a while about how I was feeling and what I was going through. I was blessed to have them talk with me and pray for me and sit with me. I feel beyond blessed to have gained so many brothers and sisters. We ended our trip with lunch with a bunch of people, surrounding ourselves with more love and friendship. We enjoyed every moment of our trip.

Trae can never be replaced. We know that. That is not even possible. However, we have so many new brothers and sisters because of him that it helps with the pain sometimes.

Today as I was coming home from the store, I was thinking about Trae. Sometimes, and it scares me, I think He is still here. I don’t think about him being gone from this world; I just think of him being gone. He is still here; just over in California, or Washington, or Thailand. I have to remind myself of the fact that he is gone gone. It is not a fun thing to go through. I miss him more than words can ever say. I don’t know how many times I have wrote that in this blog since his death. I miss my little brother. I miss his laugh and his smile and his crazy obsession for coffee. I miss his random texts about movies and songs. He will always be missed and never be replaced, but God gave us people to ease the pain occasionally and we are beyond thankful for them and Him.

I always feel like I am dropping a bomb on people when I tell them about Trae. IN the airport and throughout traveling this week, people always ask where you are heading and for what. We tell them because they ask and they just sit there and look at us and give us the sympathy smile (Yes, that is what I am calling it and I am tired of it, but that is life). We tell them that Trae lived his life for God and he was so in love with Jesus. We are assured that he is in Heaven and that gives us comfort.

I remember Trae saying in one of his blog posts that he didn’t really think he had a testimony. I remember reading that and thinking the same thing. I have had a lot happen to me in my life that has shaped me into the person I am today, but nothing that has had such an impact on me as Trae’s death. I hope that I can share his story and his love for Jesus to bring others to Jesus. Trae is in Heaven, walking around and holding Jesus hand (That’s how I imagine him here), but his story is not over. His story is still going. His story will keep going and going. As long as there are people around that know Trae’s story, his story will never be over.

I am beyond blessed to have known Trae for his short 20 years and 11 months here on Earth. I am blessed to have him as a brother. I am blessed more than ever now, to have him as an angel in Heaven watching over me.

Use Trae’s story to share Jesus with everyone you meet. Tell people about Jesus every chance you get.

When you find people you love, hold onto them. Hug them. Love on them. Smile and laugh with them. Stay up all night with them. Just be with them and love the Lord with them. When you love Jesus, you already have so much in common.

The past 6 days have been filled with snow, cold, and frost. The past 6 days have been filled with tears and laughs and emotions. The past 6 days have been filled with hugs and love and “see you later”‘s. The past 6 days have been filled with JESUS!

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This song is the song that plays during the drama. It is a song to make you think about your life and what and who you are. “This is your life… are YOU who YOU want to be?”

“I’m learning to be the Light.”

“And a memory of a day like today {every day this week and every day spent with Trae} can get you through the rest of your life.”

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