Monday, February 3, 2014

"What do you guys do on weekends?" someone asked.

Trusty tea thermos at the ready:
listening to Mel Ming teach
"What do you guys do on weekends?" someone asked. "Are you home? Do you speak at churches?

What they were asking is what missionary itineration looks like. Last weekend wasn't typical in activity, but it was pretty typically intense.

W and I were privileged to sit in on the first of four weekend sessions for a Church Planting course by Mel Ming, Wes Davis, and Dan Serdahl. I met W at 6:30pm in class - after his full teaching week at NU. I fell into bed about 11. W zipped out to the boat with the guys; they hit the hay about 1 a.m. (Maybe men do talk as much as women, but mostly to each other...)

Friends gathered from among Diane's many
interests and ministries
Saturday, we were back at 8:30. My head quickly started filling up with info. But it was time for a mid-day detour to grieve and celebrate the life of a special friend, Diane Larson, Mel's admin. She passed away in a hiking accident last weekend.

Diane, four others, and I were a women's group pursuing spiritual life through spiritual disciplines. Diane's posts were startling in their sharp focus and deep thoughtfulness. When she first responded in group emails, I was stunned at her brilliance and the intensity of her hunt for God's presence. Most of us saved her emails to reread them.

Don Detrich delivers a message of
comfort and consolation: God is with
us all our days and into eternity
Mel and I drove to the memorial service 30 miles away. What a wonderful tribute to a devout, smart, and energetic woman! It's the first funeral I've been at where so many articulate people got up to speak. Her acquaintances from Alaska and Washington reflected her many interests and engagements. Guests included classmates from her Masters degree cohort, coworkers, her accountability group, hiking friends, and volunteers from the community center where she served. What a broad swath this 36-year-old cut among us. The consensus was clear: Diane was open-hearted, devout, and a marvelous human being.

"Gone too soon," said one.

"We'll miss her!" said all.

Mel and I returned to class immediately that the service ended.

Then W and I left at 3pm to drive to Lacey, an hour-and-a-half south. We checked into our hotel and met with the Faith Assembly team at 5. By 6, service was in full swing.

Lola: a dear writing friend
View her blog here.
What a welcoming church! My good friend Lola Cain W and I both commented on the warmth of the people, not just the official greeters. They made us feel at home in worship and conversation. W and I spoke together about our calling and a passage of scripture, asking questions at the end of the service, as has become our custom. We love the mutual interaction, which takes the pressure off one speaker, especially when we're weary. Afterwards, pastors Peter and Dave hosted us for supper and stimulating conversation. We were back at the hotel just after 10pm.

Sunday morning started at 8:15, back at church, and concluded about 12:30 after two services. It's exciting for W and me to be with the churches; we're learning so much. Peter Degon's heart for his community and his love for his flock is reflected in every interaction. People streamed to the front for prayer in each service to embrace the sense of safety and Presence. We talked about that trust and loving community all the way home.

Then it was Superbowl time; we barely made it in the door for kick-off. W stuck it out - I joined him partway through and left when it was obvious who was winning. Then we caught up on emails and social media... and it was time for bed. This morning, I'm off to 4 days of a final retreat with my accountability group of 20 years. What a celebration that will be!

So now you know what missionaries do on weekends. Hope yours was as much fun and as great a blessing to you as ours was to us. Thanks be to God!


  1. You are a dear! LOVED seeing you! Really appreciated your tag team message. Your calling is incredibly clear, and it was wonderful to hear your account of doors swinging open. You will definitely be in my prayers as you complete preparation and the excitement around going mounts!

  2. Such a pleasure to serve, and to see you again, Lola.

  3. Thanks, Lola. It's sure fun to work together.