"The Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore." Psalm 121:8
People often wish others "traveling mercies" when they are about to go on a trip. Since my new regional ministry involves lots of travel, I am beginning to observe and appreciate these mercies more and more.
What are the traveling mercies I've experienced lately?
Recent praises and mercies :
*Riding Against Traffic with Garrett Zambrows
I had the joy of riding tandem with Garrett for 62 miles from Topeka, KS to Overland Park, KS. It was hot, windy and wonderful to spend the day pedaling as a part of Garrett's campaign to bring awareness to the plight of millions exploited through human trafficking. My 62 miles feels like a drop in the bucket when compared to the 12,000 he hopes to log in the next five months, but we believe that every little bit counts. I hope you'll get a chance to hear his story as he rides through your neck of the woods. Check out his progress at http://www.ridingagainsttraffic.org/
*Mission Summit, Overland Park, KS
Conversations with old and new friends, worshipping with close to 1000 believers from Burma/ Myanmar, spending time with fascinating young people from across the US who were a part of the Ignite Team and the Regional Youth Representatives, and feeling the electricity of God's Spirit move in and through our American Baptist body fed my soul and encouraged my spirit.
*Impromptu Dessert distribution
Following a gathering at Emmaus House in Olympia, WA a group of 10 of us took donated desserts out into the streets, parks and neighborhood surrounding the church to bless whoever happened to be there. Some accepted our offering with joyous appreciation while others thought us strange and a bit sketch. Chloe, my 7 year old friend and I won't soon forget the night we went out to share a bit of joy with strangers, just because.
*Call to Costa Rica with Judson/Hacienda Heights group
I was sad not to be in Costa Rica when friends from my home church in California were helping paint a mural for the playground project in La Guacima. One of the hardest things I've had to get used to is not being physically present for all of the activities that my Costa Rican friends are involved in. Through Skype, though, I was able to talk with the pastor of the church and with the my friends, checking in on their progress, the budding relationships and how they were seeing God at work. It wasn't the same as being there, but in God's mercy and through technology I could still connect and be a part of making new cross-cultural friendship connections.
*Visit from the Klatts
Just a few days after my skype phone call with the folks in La Guacima, we had a special time of visiting with Bob and Cindy Klatt from Woodbury, MN, friends we had met in La Guacima as part of a sister church relationship there. Providing the Klatts hospitality in our WA state home while they were traveling through the northwest, allowed us to reconnect with friends who love our Costa Rican friends almost as much as we do.
*Indian dinner with Evangeline and Gershom
We had been trying to get our new friends from church to come to dinner for many months and it just never seemed to work out, until last week. Just 6 months after marrying, Evangeline and Gershom moved from their home in India to Olympia, WA for Gershom's work. Knowing what it is like to be strangers in a foreign land, we wanted to reach out to our new friends. When I promised to make Indian food for them, my daughter thought I was crazy and they skyped family at home in India that they didn't know what to expect. It all turned out fine. They liked my homemade naan and curry and we enjoyed a beautiful time together making new memories. We learned about their culture and they ours, without ever having to leave "home".
Upcoming adventures in July and August that you can hold up in prayer with me:
*Costa Rica & Chile July 19th-29th:
I will stop by Costa Rica on my way to and from Chile to pick up Doña Cora who will accompany me to learn from the Bolicks and their Chilean friends about forming Girls Clubs, yarn production cooperatives, and bee keeping, all ways that transformation is happening in the lives of people. I look forward to a time of learning from and mentoring women leaders who are making a difference in their communities.
*Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Youth Training, Olympia, WA July 30th
I will join other service providers from Washington State to:
Understand the social and cultural factors that contribute to sexual exploitation
Explore the harm, violence and trauma experienced by people in the sex trades
Learn and practice useful tools for identification and intervention
Consider personal and societal beliefs and biases about people in the sex trades
Develop a victim-centered and coordinated response to sexual exploitation
*Embrace the Cause, Green Lake, WI August 9-12
I will provide artistic and liturgical leadership for the worship gatherings during this discernment retreat geared towards helping people explore and affirm a mission call
*Birthday party for Mom August 16th
When I told my Mom that I'd like to treat her and her friends to a homemade birthday lunch, I did not expect the reaction I got from her. She was giddy like a school girl and told me that she had never had a real birthday party to celebrate her special day. She went out and bought invitations, special table clothes, and party favors to give to her 14 invited guests. I pray that her 72nd birthday will be a special one and that she'll feel loved and honored the way she deserves. I'm grateful to be able to be there with her.
*Immigration and trafficking vulnerability study week: August 18-24
This trip will include a Border Detention Center visit and interview with Rick and Mercedes Gonzales-Barnes in El Centro, CA/ visit and interviews with Deborah House residents and the border wall in Tijuana/ possible visit with colleagues Tim and Patty Long August 18-24
May you know God's watching over your comings and goings and experience His mercy as you celebrate them each and every day.
Yours along the Way,