beyond belief

After traveling for 45 hours straight (by plane and by car), we arrived at our final destination (at Torch Lake, Michigan) late Sunday night. Relieved to finally stop traveling (yet still feeling as though we were moving), we collapsed into the most gorgeous room I have ever seen. The first week of our USA trip is a "Partner Conference". A church here in Michigan flew in all their partners from around the world for this event. They are treating us to a week of sheer luxury, and it has been so wonderful thus far!

We are staying in a mansion (literally), and somehow Niel and I were blessed with the largest, most extravagant bedroom suite of them all. Seeing as we arrived over a week late for the event, and everyone else had already moved into the mansion, we provided no assistance in the room-placement-process. Yet it's been interesting to hear some of the remarks from other missionaries that are here. (Apparently, the whole group had done a tour of the 3 mansions we are all staying in prior to our late arrival -- so everyone has seen our bedroom suite.) "Your room is so big -- don't you feel guilty to stay in there?" "Shame, my room can fit into your closet!" "Are you doing okay? I know you're really suffering with your small room..." We are just grateful for God's favor -- and that's what we say in reply...

The mansion is located right on Torch Lake, which is the most beautiful lake I've ever seen. It looks like the Caribbean with its amazing hues of greens and blues. The house is "stocked" with a boat, pair of jet skis (3-seaters!), ATVs, and a hot tub. Amazing.

We've been having times of worship and sharing with the other partners and the church team who is here serving us and making it all happen. We are humbled by their generous spirits... We women were treated to a day in Traverse City, which included a one-hour full-body massage. I've had massages in Africa before, but never in America -- let me tell you, it is a completely different experience here. SO GOOD! We spent today canoeing down Platt River and visiting huge sand dunes on the edge of Lake Michigan. It was a fun day, although busier than we all would have liked. We are exhausted!

With a hectic traveling, preaching, visiting, and fundraising schedule up ahead (starting Sunday night, in fact), it has been wonderful to have this week to unwind a bit. I think my favorite part has been the fact that I haven't had to make one decision that affects someone else or the "greater good" -- basically, I haven't had to lead. I just show up and participate. I couldn't do that forever, but it's just what I needed right now!