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  • Writer's pictureMarva Hanks

Southern Hospitality

Last week, I was blessed with the opportunity to host 12 delegates from around the world for a luncheon at my home. The delegates were here in Dallas for a 3 - week Ministry and missions conference hosted by Global Advance.

The intent of the gathering was to simply love on these individuals and share a little southern hospitality. For many of them, it was their first time to the United States and/or inside of a home here. I was truly honored at the opportunity to open my home to these men and women of God, and prayed faithfully that God would be in the midst of such an experience.

As the delegates arrived they were serenaded by music from Richard and Vicki Blackwell.

From we all helped ourselves to a tasty lunch catered by City Square. I recently connected with the City Square family, after taking a tour of their amazing facility and getting a peak into the tremendous work they are doing to help men, women and children out of poverty and set them up for success, as thriving members of our city. They do so by providing programs and services that not only meet their basic needs such as food and shelter; but also by providing opportunities to learn marketable skills such as the culinary program.

After discovering the culinary program at City Square, I didn't hesitate to retain their catering services for our gathering. It is the utmost important that the mission of loving God, serving people and impacting community be at the heart of all that I do. Having City Square take part in this event was an opportunity to live out that mission.

Once we were all full and had time to fellowship, to my surprise, I was asked to share my own story of how God sent my husband and I to Texas (a place I said I'd never live) and the transformation that's taken place since we've arrived. They say if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. I could never have imagined the abundant life had for us in a place (I swore to anyone who would listen) that I'd never live. But here we are and there I was telling a story of the intricate way God transformed our lives down in Dallas, Texas.

From there, the President of Global Advance, opened the floor to the delegates to pray blessings over my home. This was truly unexpected and admittedly a bit overwhelming. Here I was asking God to help me show a bit of southern hospitality and yet, he found a way for me to be blessed and cared for as well. What a mighty God we serve!

Before heading to the rooftop of for photos, some of the musically gifted delegates lead us into an impromptu praise and worship session with the Blackwells. The experience was palpable. Looking around the room as each person praised and worshipped God so freely, together from various nationalities and walks of life--I imagined that this was what Heaven will be like.

After the rooftop, we concluded the day with a visit downstairs to one my favorite places in Dallas--Dallas Designing Dreams. The connection between the Global Advance team and Dallas Designing Dreams, was an obvious one to be made as they have a shared ideal of equipping people to live out their purpose.

Shop owners, Arthur Porter and Carla Robertson, gave a quick tour and testimony to the work they do there in the shop. The mission of Dallas Designing Dreams is to nurture the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of individuals with “Dreams or Broken Dreams” and provide them with new inspirations and opportunities for their innovative ideas and products. They do this by offering various classes, including but not limited to t-shirt design and production, sewing, video editing and the list goes on. The Global Advance delegates, whose respective nation's economy's are heavily based on the production of services such as apparel production have the potential to benefit heavily from an organization like Dallas Designing Dreams. I look forward to see what is it come from such a partnership.

As the day came to a close and I began to reflect on all that God had done for and through us all, I was left with the deepest sense of gratitude. The day was a reminder that our lives are not our own and that we merely vessels in the work that God is doing. I pray that God continues to use me however He sees fit.

"...Speak Lord, your servant is listening."-- 1 Samuel 3:10

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