Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bests (With Pictures!)

As promised, here are some of the Bests about my trip to Visalia:

Best way to keep awake after 22 straight hours of travel:  Find a station playing songs from the 80’s, throw dignity out the window, and sing along as loudly as you can!   
The trip each way was close to 24 hours.  Thank you for your prayers for safe and smooth travel.  We had no troubles making connections or finding our way around.  All praise to God!
Megan (Fiji), Rachel (DR, me, Tara (Costa Rica)
in Sequoia National Park

Quince:  There were 15 new missionaries, in various stages of the process, heading to four different countries.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, it was incredible to hear their stories.  God has surely been at work, redeeming the years the locusts ate (Joel 2). 
Rachel & me in front of General Grant
(and yes, I'm wearing a scarf & gloves -
thanks Rachel!!)
New/Old Sister in Christ:  A mutual friend put Rachel and me in touch when she was praying about coming on staff.  We’ve talked on the phone and emailed, but now we got to meet!  We stayed in the same house, which meant even more time to hang out and chat. 

I’m so excited that we’re going to serve together!  And, she loves hiking and Indian food, so it’ll be fun to have a friend to explore and cook with, too.

We call her ‘Jane’:  I always knew that Pam (who works in the SI office) was super sweet, patient and efficient with all my many questions and emails.  But, how fun to find out she loves Jane, too!  (That’s Jane Austen for those of you not obsessed!)  She’s even seen Bride & Prejudice (the Bollywood version of P&P). 
We had the opportunity for a good, long chat one day, and it was so encouraging to hear her story of brokenness and healing.  I praise God for another ‘new’ sister in Christ!
the house we stayed in didn't have
lizards or geckos, but did have a
rather demanding cat, Storm!
Believe it or not… I only spent 45 minutes in Target.  And that was mostly just to buy some BubbleWrap shipping envelopes.  In fact, I didn’t get much shopping done at all.  The rows and rows of stuff at Target (and also at Walmart where I managed an hour before giving up) really did overwhelm me.  Our schedule was also quite full, so there wasn’t much time to spare. 

Oops, I lied:  I spent 45 minutes in the actual Target, but nearly two lovely hours in the Starbucks in Target where I met Kris.  Kris and I connected through my blog more than a year ago.  She blogs, too, and writes honestly about how she’s doing, and her faith in Jesus in some un-fun circumstances. 
Since she lives in Visalia, we got to meet!  It was fantastic to chat with her, and it felt like I’d found still another sister in Christ.  She also gifted me with some awesome supplies for the Site, and herb seeds for me!  Can’t wait to try and grow some basil, thyme and others!
Karen & Mike, Kenny & Karen, Brian, Eric, me, Rachel
(All heading to the DR)
Sharing a laugh - and joy in knowing that God is so good!!
General Grant:  On Friday we drove up, up, up to Sequoia National Park.  The redwoods are incredible!  General Grant is the third oldest, and 40 people holding hands could circle its circumference.  Trying to look up at the top made me feel dizzy. 

267 feet tall, 107 feet around... the One who
created this amazing tree has carved us
on the palm of His hands!
Without moving, without speaking, without any flashing lights or bells and whistles, this giant tree shouted out the power and majesty of our Creator.  Walking in the beauty of the mountains, in the cool (okay, cold!) crisp air, talking with all of the wonderful SI folks… what a day!

Nuts-and-Bolts:  Oh, yeah, we actually did have some Orientation, too!  When I worked for Perdue, I had to spend 2 ½ days going over policies and procedures with the new hires.  So, I empathize with anyone having to go over this stuff.  Also, since it was my profession for many years, I actually enjoy talking about it!  (I know, I know, I’m a bit sick!)  It was good for those not on the field yet to hear about our retirement, payroll system, reimbursement procedure, etc.  
Alex, Socorro & Brian outside In-N-Out
Now I've been to California!!
In-N-Out:  Socorro and her husband Alex treated Brian and I to the In-N-Out experience.  (Soc was an Intern when Brian and Sissy were in the DR their first time.)  In the crazy-small world we live in, she knew the family whose house we’d been staying at, a friend of mine from Calvin College, AND good friends of mine from Harrisonburg!

The Main Thing:  The best thing was hearing over and over again, from SI leadership and Board members, the commitment to ‘keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing’.  We were encouraged to keep our relationship with Jesus the ‘Main Thing’ in all we are, in all we do. 
The needs of those we minister to (both in our communities and outreach participants) can pull our attention away from Christ if we’re not continually abiding in Him.  Each of us struggles with that at times – I sure do! – but knowing the commitment SI has to keeping Jesus our Main Thing means when my focus starts to drift, I know I’ll have others to lovingly help point me back.  

I’m leaving out all kinds of stuff, but hopefully that gives you a bit of an idea of what all happened.  It was a good time, and I returned home feeling even more blessed to have been called to work with SI.  And now… time to get ready to head back to El Callejon for the start of this new year of ministry!  Woo-hoo!!


  1. Loved meeting you and I agree: what a SMALL world! I couldn't believe you knew Amanda, Brian and were staying at the Schlick's house! All such special people I've had the opportunity to know. We sure did have a great time with you and look forward to seeing you around here again, except we will have to have a Mexican-style visit next time you're in our area :-)
    -Alex & Soc

  2. Also, I LOVE that someone else (other than us) realizes that the trip from Visalia/Tulare to Jarabacoa is LITERALLY 24 hours between driving, lay overs and flying! NUTS! People in the DR never understand why Alex and I are so exhausted by the time we get there!