We finally got connected to the internet late this evening. It’s been a busy couple of days. The bus arrived around 10 AM yesterday, and all of the flyers arrived around 2 AM this morning. We had two worship services today, VBS setup, an amazing Filipino potluck with Alex’s family, the Adult Bible Study this evening, and finishing up the VBS setup. We’re all exhausted (except Trinity who never loses steam)! Here are some bus photos from yesterday that we didn’t have a chance to post yet:
Today started with the fliers traveling from Albuquerque to Roswell. We had some difficulties with our flights departing on time. The first group of fliers left Saturday morning at 10:00am and were to arrive in Albuquerque at 7:35pm local time. The second group of fliers (the group I was in) were to leave Pittsburgh at 5:35pm and arrive in Albuquerque at 9:35pm local time. Well, my group landed first and by the time we got our cars and hit the road it was almost 11:00pm. We arrived in Roswell at Westminster Presbyterian before 2:00am.
The whole went to the morning worship with the Westminster congregation. Both Doug and I gave a minute for mission. We talked about our history in this mission field with this congregation. I pointed out that Alex was a youth in this church and has returned as a missionary from Grove City. Doug and I have a gift of a Wendell August Dogwood Cross for their church’s cross wall. We also told them how Chloe designed and hung the cross wall at North Liberty for her Gold Award.
Doug presented a praise with the help of some of the bus riders during a special time of praise during the service.
After the service the Westminster congregation hosted a “welcome” reception for our mission team. We had a great opportunity to talk to their members and share our experiences serving God in Roswell. After the reception it was off to the Hispanic Church lead by our friend Adam Soliz. Doug and I took a much larger role in the worship service. Doug lead the music and I gave a sermon.
I have shied away from writing and delivering sermons at North Liberty for many years now. So, writing again was a little bit of a challenge. I spoke today using Matthew 4:18-22. This is the account of Jesus calling His first disciples. So to not bore you readers the point was God calls in the midst of our daily lives. He only asks that we get-out-of-the-boat. Doug closed our time together with more praises offered in His name.
After our second worship we ate lunch and started transforming our host church into an amusement park for VBS. after several hours of working we had the great honor of eating dinner with Alex’s family. We had a traditional Filipino meal. To say it was great does not do justice to the great meal, fellowship, and setting.
We rushed back from dinner and hosted an adult Bible study where we studied Romans 12:1-2. By the end of our study we looked at how we can be a church that transforms our world.
Now, we are busy completing the decorations for VBS. Everyone is busy trying to make the first day of VBS a success.
So, this has been a very long day #1 through my eyes. But, I’m not tired. I’m energized because has called this group together for His purpose. I can sleep when I get home.
Thanks to everyone that supplied us with cookies, veggies, fruit and snacks for the bus trip that kept us well fed! We are in New Mexico now. Busting boredom on our last stretch by counting cow, trains, windmills and cars. The cows are winning!!
It took us about 15 hours of driving, fuel stops, and rest stops, but we made it to Amarillo, TX by 10 PM Central time. It was another great day of travel with some silliness thrown in at the end as we all got a little stir-crazy in the bus. We’re heading out at 6 AM again tomorrow so that we can stop at the New Mexico Welcome Center for Nate and Jake to see the woolly mammoth tooth on display on our way to Roswell, then Artesia. I think we’re all pretty happy it is a short travel day!
I’ve been reflecting on God’s mercies. Yesterday we spent about half of our drive going through construction areas but it only slowed us down twice. It really could have been a much longer day. The weather has been great the whole time. And we’ve been safe along the way. Praise God!
This morning, the anticipation of tomorrow’s trip is growing. I am anxious about the weather but encouraged by the good news of a smooth trip for the bus riders yesterday. Today two more team members will take to the sky. So today’s prayer is for a safe trip for Diane and Brianna. I have pondered the grace and blessing we have been given to make this trip possible again. I am so thankful for the gracious folks at Westminster who welcome us back. Adam has worked hard to open the doors to families and has been encouraging them to bring their children to VBS. He has been the foot soldier in Roswell. (Think about that Pastor Jim). What a blessing he has been in so many of our lives, an encouragement to us so many miles away. So as I prepare to leave I have become aware of how many blessing we don’t recognize in our daily lives but I have easily recognized for this trip. What we haven’t taken for granted, but realize that God’s hand is on it. Lord, help me to see these realities in my everyday life and to share them with others.
Riders may God speed you on your way today, thankful for the hands that prepared it for the trip and the gifts that made a bigger bus possible.
Our bus pulled into the hotel in Mehlville, MO at around 8:30 PM after a short stop for supper. It was a smooth uneventful trip with A/C and sunny skies the whole way. The Thompson kids provided lots of laughs the entire way (and FYI for long trips Window Markers are a huge hit!) We’re hitting the road early again tomorrow morning, and will try to post again once we get to the hotel in Oklahoma.
We are in the final week and now we are busy doing those mundane things like washing and packing. But God continues to put that excitement in our hearts as we anticipate meeting new children and families. sharing God’s word, worshiping and studying with the folks in Roswell. We pray that the upcoming trips by road and air are uneventful. We don’t want the devil interfering with our travel; so we can arrive in time for Sunday worship and preparation for Monday’s VBS. We have been blessed by the generosity of many folks at North Liberty Presbyterian Church as we raised funds for this trip and even on Sunday the gifts continued with comments “use this for whatever you need”. God’s blessing continue and as we prepare to leave we realize that He has allowed each of the team to answer that “call” and we can’t wait to see what He has in store for each of us.
“Change My Heart” is the name of one of the vbs songs. This song has ment a lot to me this week as well as the memory verse for the week. II Timothy 1:7 says “God has not given us a spirit of timidity but one of power, love and self control.” God has opened my eyes, as the song says, and helped me to see how badly I need a sprit of love and self control. I have found myself spending a lot of time and energy complaining about and cutting others down. As I struggled with this the verse about the mouth speaking from the overflow of the heart came to mind. I looked it up to get the context. It is from Matthew 12 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” My heart has not been full of good. Bible school here at North Liberty has already had a big impact on me. I believe God has already begun His spiritual preparation inside me for our trip to New Mexico. I pray that he changes my heart so that good is the overflow that comes from my mouth. I praise God for continuing His work in each and everyone of us!
I have been painting scenery for VBS at North Liberty and assembling material for the week ahead. Preparation is part of the Roswell Mission Experience. As we prepare for the logistics and material side. I would ask that you support us with prayer so that we can also prepare spiritually. Adam’s recent visit enriched us and made the trip that much more exciting . So as we begin our mission here at North Liberty this week, pray for the children that will be coming to VBS and for those who haven’t yet registered whether here or in New Mexico.