Afterwards we went downtown to the Eugene Festival
. This was a place where bands played and every kind of exotic food was served. This was one of the most fun festivals we had every participated in. Eugene is known for being a "hippie town". The freedom with which people expressed themselves was liberating and a blessing. The experience ranged from dancing with the reggae rock type of bands to a drum line. We laughed and laughed and laughed. That night we went to bed tired at Amy and Aaron's.
The plan for the morning was to go shopping quickly at a Safeway grocery store opening and then see the Saturday market quickly before taking off. Little did we expect all the wonderfulness that would entail. We went wild! All the free samples and coupons were more than we could take. We kept picking up name brand items, more and more. When we finally got to the checkout with the cart, it was unsure how much all this would cost. Our budget per week is sixty dollars for food, we usually buy in half week increments. When we checked out, the Lord provided $80 of delicious food for $40! It lasted an entire week. Our food basket looked as if the Gilmore Girls were going camping.
Amy and Aaron then took us downtown to the Saturday market. This was a feast of the senses, all the vibrant colors of the clothing and jewelry, the smells of the flowers and food, and the tastes of the Asian pears and goat cheeses contributed. There we met our friend Raspberry Ralph
. A native of Kentucky, he now lived on a farm outside of the city that grows food for non-profit organizations, including Hosea. We laughed and talked with him in the market for much longer than we expected. He bought us raspberries, Asian pears, and tomatoes they were scrumptious! His feet and chacos were very hard core from being on the farm and we thought a lot of him a few days later. Mainly, all six of us walked away from Raspberry Ralph feeling uplifted because of his generosity to share, not only his produce, but his spirit and his optimism in life. We were quite distraught over having to leave Amy and Aaron, they had brought us so many unique experiences in 24 hours. Now it is going to be very exciting to see what happens with their ministry, God is going to bring many unique opportunities because of their open hearts.
We moved on to Eugene. Amy and Aaron (Amy is a friend of Sandy's), have been living in Eugene working with Hosea Youth Services for the last few months. All those we meet have so richly blessed us, that we were excited to be able to serve others for a few hours. Hosea is an outreach for homeless youth, where they can come for a free meal, showers, and laundry a few nights a week. It was such an encouraging experience to participate in Amy and Aaron's ministry, meet those whose lives they shared, and learn from Mike. Mike is a cowboy with a handle bar mustache. He participated in the start of Hosea over a decade ago. One would never expect him to be the favorite of these teenagers with such pain and hurt in their lives, yet he is, and his faithfulness to the ministry is a stellar example. Some of the teens we met were Trent and Francis, their spirits and thirst for knowledge and truth truly left us blessed.