FIRST STOP: Rutherford Island, Maine
It was wonderful to spend some time with my parents and my friend Tina. It was a short week but a a chance to be with the people who know me "through and through"...no pretending or trying or putting on my best face...just being in their graciousness. Ahhhhhh.
Sunday I got to share at North Woolwich Methodist Church. God led me to this church in 2005 just before I came to Belize. I fell in love with them and the way they embrace God's many "missional projects". They even found an interpreter for me. Not an easy feat in backwoods Maine!
SECOND STOP: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
I took the AMTRAK train from Boston to Lancaster, PA. Wow! What a wonderful, relaxing way to travel and at 1/4th the cost of making the same trip by air. In Lancaster I spent 3 days at Oasis. This is an annual retreat that EMM hosts for missionaries at Blackrock Retreat Center. It was an oasis for me. I loved meeting and renewing friendships with other missionaries. We have so much in common yet so much that makes us different. It was a wonderful group to be with and the conversation was stimulating. Thank you so much, Rose, for interpreting. I loved spending that time with you.
After Oasis I set up a booth at the annual Gloabl Fair. Thanks to Debra Hoffer, and Gloria & Galen Lehman for helping me with that. It's a little bit like "speed dating"... someone comes to my booth, says hello, and tells me a little bit about themselves. I share about my ministry and they move on while the person standing behind them now feels free to move to the front and introduce themseles...etc, etc. for 6 hours. I hope that I was able to promote what God is doing in that scenerio.
Sunday was a chance to connect with all of my old friends at First Deaf (where was my camera? !!!!!). It was great to be there and catch up a little. Sunday evening we went to the Barnstormer's Baseball Game....FUN.
Thanks Deb for chauffeuring me around and feeding me and being my friend. I love you.
THIRD STOP: Harrisonburg, Virginia
Thanks to Skip and Carol Tobin for your friendship, listening skills, wisdom and giving me a ride from Lancaster to Harrisonburg. They dropped me off at the Caribbean Gathering where we feasted on Mennonite potluck and shared a little bit about the work we do with God.
During my time in Harrisonburg I got to spend a day with Mary Beth Moore and her family. They came to Belize in 2010 to help with our VBS. I enjoyed catching up with them. She led VBS in the morning and they had a potluck in the evening, with a women's Bible study in between. It was so nice to meet the Deaf "brothers and sisters" of their fellowship "Signs of Life".
Carol and Dennis Rhodes let me stay with them the entire week. It was like being with family. They even let me use their car to come and go. Amazing hospitality and just so comfortable being with them. The majority of the week was spent at the Virginia Mennonite Conference annual assembly. It ended on Saturday with commissioning. Almost all of my MST Team from Lancaster drove down to Harrisonburg on Saturday night to surprise me and support me at the commissioning. Phyllis, Debbie, Gwen, Mike...You are amazing. Thank you for that expression of love.
On Sunday afternoon Carol & Dennis, Adam, Conrad, Joel and I hiked (they climbed, I crawled) to the top of Bear Fence in Shennandoah National Park. Whew that was a challenge for me...but so worth it. The view at the top was like those pictures of the Shennadoah Valley with mountains folding for miles all around, gradually fading from dark greens to grays. I don't know how high we were, but we were above them all. Thank you, Lord, for that challenge. Thank you Carol & Dennis, Mary Beth, Mynor, Mario, Chris, Galen, Gloria, Adam, Joel, Shirley all who made the week in Harrisonburg a full, but memorable one. You all are a blessing to me.