I’m thinking it would be fun to add an element called POI (Point of Interest = GPS vocabulary) to my travel blogs. Today’s POI is in Clear Lake, Iowa – the small city where our US headquarters is located. Its claim to fame is that Buddy Holly performed his last concert here.
Tragically, that night he died when his plane crashed in a nearby farmer’s field.
And now, for the regular post!
Do you remember Paul Harvey’s radio program and his closing line, “And that, my friends, is the rest of the story”? I appreciated his common sense perspective on news briefs, and I found the behind-the-story facts and details fascinating.
Today brought me an unexpected surprise when I discovered that Laura, one of our International Messenger short-term alumni at this weekend’s retreat, worked for Paul Harvey as a fact researcher. What fun to hear about this man from someone who knew him personally. She said he was the real thing – a true gentleman, a hard worker, and a husband who treated his wife as kindly as he spoke of her on the air waves.
This weekend’s opportunity to meet IM staff and board members was a blessing. It amazes me how God takes people from all walks of life – music teachers, farmers, nurses, landscape engineers, school teachers, lawyers, retirees and more – and puts them together to form a Kingdom-building team.
What do these people have in common? Their love for God and their willingness to obey His voice when He says “go.” They also share a passion for the Eastern Europeans and a desire to make IM the most effective it can be. And so, our group of 50 spent Saturday updating ourselves on our 120 + career missionaries and their work, strategizing questions for a marriage mentorship program, discussing pros and cons of pursuing grants, and more. And we prayed.
We prayed for every missionary and for each other. We prayed for God to provide a van for one of our Polish pastors who ministers to children from pathological families. We prayed for funding so the day center for young adults with HIV/AIDS in Romania can remain open. We asked God to provide money for other specific ministry needs as well as monthly support for each missionary. We prayed for the health and protection of their families, their marriages, and their interpersonal relationships. We prayed for their language learning abilities and for encouragement for those who struggle emotionally through long, dark winter days without sunlight. The prayers were as varied as our staff’s personalities, ministries, and physical needs.
We also worshiped together. With voices lifted in harmony, we praised God for His amazing grace that saved this group of 50 wretches. We marveled together at His redeeming love. And we thanked Him for setting us free when He nailed our sins to the cross.
This weekend was a mountaintop experience. We wish we could linger longer, but that’s not to be. Now it’s time to get on with sharing God’s amazing love with those who have never heard, and with those burdened by the load that comes with trying to earn their way to heaven.
I’ll spend today reviewing our workshop materials for the parenting classes we’ll teach in Poland, formulating discussion questions for the single women’s retreat at which I’ll speak in a couple of weeks, and planning some upcoming creative projects with our graphic designer. Then we’ll try to get a good night’s sleep because tomorrow will come early.
When Tuesday comes, we’ll drive to Minneapolis. From there we’ll fly to Chicago, on to Frankfurt, and finally to Poznan, Poland. It’ll be a long, long day. I’m taking Gravol along – I hear it helps people sleep on long-haul trips like this! We’ll arrive at our destination on Wednesday and begin working on Thursday. That’s when things will get really interesting. So follow along, my friends, for the rest of the story.