The air of the ambient dining room was filled with the smell of the daily-made rustic baguettes in this unique restaurant. The walls were brick, our hostess led us to a couple of two-tops, which were uneven slabs of steel, and the lights were low. The elements in this place felt artisanal, organic, and nothing looked completely identical. In this charming little restaurant in downtown Phoenix, the Foxtrotter team met with a couple of individuals who themselves were a mimic of our setting's elements. Both now college students, they were refreshingly different from one another, they were both extremely organic and began to share something we will never forget, a burden to go and do something. We heard the hearts of this young couple over dinner. We were awkwardly interrupted numerous times by a waiter who he himself, seemed genuinely, socially clumsy. But the conversation never stopped from the moment we sat down and was rich throughout. As we literally broke bread together to attack the baked goat cheese dish that had just arrived at our table, we stopped to bless our meal. As the given thankfulness came to a close for the moment, we knew this night would be the start to something incredible.
Ally, a college Freshman, is one of the founders of steppingout4hope. She shared her story and involvement in this small local organization started by 3 high school students here in Phoenix. We discussed what her upcoming trip to Monrovia, Liberia would entail as they were going to be bringing supplies and materials to a school her and her team was to be dedicating to Katie this June. We saw this young person speak about what God has truly done in that place. We could feel what He had done through Ally, Carly and Katie. It was not about how much money they had raised in their efforts, but how much influence they have had on their peers and beyond. That influence had been found in Ryan, who was sitting next to her. A young man who'd return home for the summer from college, and even as they hold a long distance relationship during the school year, he says that the fearless Ally was the one who inspired him everyday. We went on to discuss his zeal to make a difference, whether it was a local effort here in Phoenix or across the world much like Ally is doing, he was on fire.
The conversation continued to spark some exciting ideas between our two camps. Ally and Ryan then tell us, that they had more young people in mind, just like them, hungry for action, and ready to step up and make a difference. We talked about how Foxtrotter could come alongside their group, and how many people we could inspire through a project together. Foxtrotter will be watching as Ally and her team finish up the project her and her friends dreamed up a little over a year ago. It will be bittersweet said Ally, as we all wish that Katie was here with us to experience it. There is not enough to be said about the courage and boldness that you could hear in Ally's voice, as well as a rare sense of focus on her specific mission this summer. A focus that undoubtedly comes from a very intimate and emotional place in her heart. The evening affirmed why our team is attempting to fill this gap. The gap that needs to be filled with substance solid enough for these students to step on, to get from one side to the other. Last night we were inspired a couple of young people who know reality, and don't accept it, they want to make it better. They challenge their generation, with joy in their hearts and wish to change the way their peers view themselves, life, and others. Our team will be here for them when it's time, and that time is near. Strangely, this evening was not planned by either parties. We never meant to sit down and explore possibilities together over dinner, we never meant to hear their story. But God was at work, and in Paul's words, we will not quench the Spirit.
For more on Ally's project, go to steppingout4hope.com
- Team Foxtrotter