“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers.” ~Philemon 1:3-4
These are the words of Paul to Philemon and the church that meets in his home, who Paul considers partners in the faith. You are my partners in the faith and in service to the Lord, so they are my words to you as well. I pray this finds you well and enjoying this crazy ride of life on God’s rollercoaster! For me it feels like a rollercoaster, because I am constantly on the go – literally!
Finishing up in Canada
When last we left off, I was wrapping up my six months in Canada, helping at our office up there. My last major activity was Missions Fest Alberta. I handled that alone while my co-worker Todd did the Saskatchewan Homeschool Convention. I manned the Teen Missions booth and had lots of promising conversations with young people eager to serve the Lord! I was able to stay with my former team member, Becky, who was on my 2002 Bolivia team and meet her husband and kids. We really enjoyed catching up and getting to spend a little time together! On the last day of the convention, my team member from 2018, Belauna, came and spent most of the day helping me. We had great fun working the booth together and enjoyed dinner afterward. One of my greatest joys in leading teams with TMI for the last 20 years is the relationships I get to develop with my team members, and getting to reconnect with them feels like a big hug from God! I like hearing about how and what they are doing now, but especially hearing about how their summer with TMI (and me!) impacted their lives. As the years roll on, it’s much easier to stay in contact with team members via the development of social media.
Travel, Travel, and more Travel!
I left Alberta on Monday morning after Missions Fest – it was -25 degrees! I arrived back in Outlook mid-afternoon, wrapped up a few post-conference details and finished packing my car to immediately leave Canada and head back to the States. The cold weather had completely killed my car battery, so I put a new one in a week before traveling. (During the snowy winter I had been driving the TMI van that has winter tires.) Next came the 2500 mile trek to Tampa. I worked through most of Christmas vacation so I could have the first two weeks of March for vacation. I was able to visit my cousin, Treva, along the way, whom I hadn’t seen in many years. I made it to Tampa in time for Mom’s big 80th birthday party! We had lots of people and lots of fun honoring a godly woman who has impacted so many lives. She is doing quite well and still living on her own. Her church is right behind the house and she is quite active with many things from Sunday school to their food pantry. Afterwards, my sister and I flew out to San Francisco for almost a week – just for fun! I had a travel voucher from United and we enjoyed staying with a friend from high school, so we actually had a nice vacation on a slender budget. We rode the trolleys, walked on the Golden Gate Bridge, saw elephant seals on the beach and big trees in the forest. For the second week of vacation, I stayed in the Tampa area and visited with friends there. On my way home, I visited my friend Pam. When I told her I wanted to learn to play the ukulele, she gave me one! Thanks Pam! I’ve learned four chords so far.
I finally returned home to Merritt Island (first time since August!), went to the office for one day, then joined two big vans full of staff and students and we headed to Rogers, AR, to the first of seven Teach Them Diligently homeschool conventions. When we returned, I had one day at the office and then I hit the road by myself to Nashville, TN, to the next one. After that one, I actually got almost a week at the office before some of us got on a TMI bus to Waco, TX, for the next one. By the time you get this, I will probably be in Atlanta, GA, or recently returned home from it! Still to come is Mobile, AL, Denver, CO (I’ll fly), and Columbus, OH. At the AR, TX, and CO conventions, we are helping with the kids program (where I serve) and running the entire teen program. For the others, I am going alone to man the TMI booth. Each time, the travel brings the opportunity to stay with familiar faces and reconnect with people who have previously served with TMI.
While I am physically at home and working at the base, I spend time preparing for the next convention, helping remotely with a few things for the Canada office, and working outside. We are actively preparing for our upcoming Mud Run on May 4th and also for the summer teams coming to train at Boot Camp in mid-June. We recently had “Big Top Day”, where we all go outside and work together to put up our largest circus tent that we use for classes and evening rally. It has five large supporting poles along the centerline that are permanently secured in the ground. I don’t know how large it is, but it looks the size of a football field! At home, I am still trying to put away things from Canada – some of which will just get converted to being ready for the summer team! And then there’s the yard. . .
Well, my last newsletter had hardly gone to press when my destination changed! I am now leading the Madagascar Motorcycle team. This will be my 4th time to Madagascar. The closer we get, the less likely it will change again. Be sure to stay tuned to my Facebook page for any last minute updates, and my field address. I’ll post about it right before the summer program starts. The team dates are June 15 – August 9, and the Commissioning Service is Saturday, June 29th, and is open to the public, so feel free to come! (Be sure to check the visitor policies on the website for important information.)
The Battle of the Bulge
In my last newsletter, I spoke of my commitment to shedding the excess pounds and confessing the sins that gathered them to me. I couldn’t get a good starting weight until I got home. Different scales often give different numbers – it’s the change you see on using the same scale that gives you a good idea how things are going. With all the travel, it’s been hard to give a good push toward eating to win and getting regular exercise. That’s not an excuse, just a hint on the challenges I face so you can pray more effectively. So far, I think I’ve only lost maybe a pound. I am committed to sharing my progress (or regression) in every newsletter to try to maintain some sort of accountability. Be sure to let me know how to pray for YOU!
-Productivity during a time of increased need, but without sacrificing spiritual focus.
Blessed to Serve Him,