Because I keep this as a personal blog, I don’t write much about ministry stuff. Of course over the past 3 weeks in the States, there has been lots of ministry stuff going on. Our schedule is jam-packed with meetings, church services, and “lunch dates” as we reconnect with partners, meet new pastors, and seek to raise ministry funds. We've also gotten to see some friends along the way! In fact, I grabbed breakfast this morning with a friend I hadn't seen in over 6 years! Bethany and I had a great time catching up over Denny's breakfast!

During this “divide and conquer” time, I’ve had to meet with a few pastors on my own. I was feeling a little unsure of myself in all this until last night. I had a wonderful dinner meeting with a pastor and his wife. They were so open and receptive to hearing about our ministry and vision, and they got excited about it with me! It was very easy to talk with them, to share my heart, and to answer their questions.

At one point the pastor asked me, “What can I do for you?” Now I knew what I WANTED to say, but it seemed awkward and uncomfortable to actually say it. So I kind of beat around the bush a bit and didn’t really say much of anything. The conversation detoured for about 30 seconds, during which I just felt convicted. I felt God saying that the pastor was sincere in his question, and I needed to be sincere in my answer. When the pastor looked back at me with a look that said, “I’m still waiting for the real answer to my question”, I pushed myself past what is comfortable and said, “You can pray about how you and your church can strategically get involved with what God is doing through us in Africa.” His face lit up. That’s what he wanted to hear. (Even though my mind was telling me that ISN’T what he would want to hear!)

We talked for quite a long time more. Towards the end, the pastor told me that he is committed to praying about how the church will get involved. We’ve had a lot of people say similar things to us over the years, but this pastor struck me as genuine. He wasn’t just telling me that, but he was speaking from his heart. I was overwhelmed by his sincerity and his like-heartedness, but also deeply encouraged that he was responding as he was when I was the only one there sharing. Niel is the visionary and is so great at casting the "big picture vision" that God has given us. But God used me--without Niel--to tie this pastor's heart in to our vision! Overwhelming!

I walked away feeling totally pumped and blessed. So while I normally don’t post about ministry things, I felt the need to this time! Good stuff is happening!!

As of tomorrow, I am taking a week off from my ministry travels and schedule. My mom is flying in to Seattle to meet up with me. (I haven’t seen her yet, so I am so excited to meet her at the airport tomorrow night!) She and I are leaving on Friday on a cruise to Alaska! Having lived in Africa my entire adult life (I moved there when I was 19!), I’ve never had the opportunity to do anything like this with my mom. I am so looking forward to the time we are going to have together!

Ironically, my mom and I are going to Alaska for my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary! (That story will have to wait for now!) I cannot wait to see my mom, enjoy God’s creation in Alaska, relax on the ship, and take a week-long hiatus from ministry! It’s going to be a great breather!