However, my day got a little brighter when I received an unexpected present in the mail from Colleen Shallenberger in Denver, CO. The photo to the right shows my new prized possession -- a Swedish Fish cap! How great is that?? Thank you so much, Mike & Colleen. I will wear it loud and proud on this trip and ever after.
Where am I off to?
- A week of much-needed vacation in Olympic National Park. Renting a cabin on a lake and looking forward to sleeping, reading, hiking, reading, eating, touristing. In no particular order. Since I excel at all of these endeavors, I am quite giddy about it.
- Directly afterward, I am heading into a youth ministry consulting project for 3 days in the Seattle area through Youth Ministry Architects. I'm stoked to meet yet another group of great people who want to serve their young people as best as possible. This week I also received confirmations from two other churches who want to be coached. When it rains, it pours.
- Following the consultation, I'm taking another 3 days to work with the Free Methodist conference in the Pacific Northwest. I'll be meeting with some pastors who are already advocates for Eden Reforestation Projects, and then speak on a larger scale with all the pastors in that particular conference on Oct. 22 about Eden. This conference of over 45 churches wants to commit to supporting Africans in restoring their environment and breaking cycles of despair. Good for them.
We also received approval this week from our board to go to Urbana International Missions Conference as an exhibitor. This will be my fifth Urbana, but my first as an exhibitor. I am already praying we can connect with so many others to join us in this.
I will miss my cats, CA weather, Fairview vegetables, my bike and my big comfy bed... but I'm grateful for the doors opening up in these next two weeks. I read 2 Corinthians 9 with a group of high school student leaders at breakfast this week, and these verses express this week perfectly for me:
I am blessed beyond measure... today I had lunch with a young student who is chomping at the bit to raise up a worship band who can lead and serve their peers -- yet he knows he still has so much to learn. Yesterday I had lunch with another former student from nearly 25 years ago who is now running a youth group of 40 students. Earlier in the week I had coffee with yet another former student who is now a pastor. I am speechless at the privilege of getting to see "the rest of the story" in the lives of others I have known and worked with. I have received so much, and am ready to keep being a cheerful giver.
Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
So I rejoice in the past and also run toward the present. Thanks for running alongside.