Sunday, March 25, 2018

Trip around the world (not quite)

Beautiful eastern Washington looks like Bhutan
When we come back to the States and Canada, some weeks are quiet. We started with that - it takes a while to reconnect. But apparently, that's over. We're in full swing. And on the road a lot.

Saturday, March 18
Our bonus is seeing friends in the evening. They are a treasure along various parts of our journey. Jay and Cheryl are on their way to serve as educators in Africa later this year. Earl and Janet are at NU but were part of my masters and doctoral programs way back in the day.

In the morning, we drive to Riverview, Kent to speak in two meetings back to back. What warm welcomes and great groups of people. Many of Waldemar's former students live in this region so for him it's always a bit of an alumni reunion. I know the names from my job as alumni director, but it's a delight to meet the "names" in person.

Lunch is at Wally's. That is, Andy and Colleen take us to an outstanding seafood restaurant. Since we're near the Pacific coast, the fish and shellfish are freshly caught and delicious.

We have to scoot across the mountain range to Yakima as soon as lunch is over. The weather is glorious: sunshine above - with clouds boiling up in the rearview mirror. There must be a Pacific storm brewing but the mountains keep them to the west of us.

We're speaking to a seniors group in Yakima. Some of the most supportive friends - Lowells, Gunnarsons (Ruth above), Malcolms and others - give us hugs and a warm greeting. We know all the music and sing 9 choruses and hymns with verses! - in 15 minutes (take note, young leaders who think hymns are too long ...) LOVE the spirit of worship and the community that has formed in Yakima.

Jeff and Larry take us to breakfast at the golf club. The prices are half of Seattle's and the food is delicious - we take along leftovers from the heaping plates.

"Make sure you go to Apple King," said several of our friends yesterday. So we do. We follow the GPS along a few empty miles of highway to the apple processing plant. Oh my!

Boxes of apples are stacked and the forklifts buzz in and out of the cold warehouses where apples are stored. These fruits will travel across the world - we have Washington apples in our local Indonesian grocer, so who knows if we'll eat a few ourselves.

We are content with 3 boxes of Pink Lady and 1 of Honey Crisp. Each box contains 34 lbs (15.5 kg) of apples - but all four boxes of crisp, sweet apples cost $33. (Later, we pass a sale notice in at a grocer: $1.49/lb.) Our trunk is full and the sweet smell pervades the car. We pull out a few to munch, washing them off with tea from my thermos and drying them with a restaurant napkin stashed in the car.

Oh, the crunch! We haven't had this taste since we left: by the time we get apples into our fridge in Bandung, they're getting soft and have lost this tree-fresh flavor.

The landscape reminds me of Bhutan - I snap pictures as we descend the hills from Yakima to the flats of Ellensburg. And then it's through the coastal range, out of the sunshine and into the clouds above Seattle.

We have time for a quick snooze before I get to hang out with girlfriends and coworkers in Kirkland. It's a group of credentialed pastors - all female. The community room of Metropolitan Market is their storage closet, with a few tables and chairs between. We agree that we'd rather meet in the main area next time. (In typical fashion, to ensure personal space, a stranger spread her banana peel and books across several places in the nice lounge - so we had headed for the separate room. Too nice, we were.)

It's so great to see these women. I've prayed for each of them over the years - and to see them working and thriving at their calling warms my heart.

We have an early morning meeting on the Kitsap Peninsula. It's a short half-hour on the ferry as the sun comes up. The magnificence of God's world continues to astonish us.

We meet with Wes, Peter, Tom, and Jenni in Silverdale, donuts included. And then there's a room full of enthusiastic volunteers and staff. W and I share what we love about where we serve and listen to what they're about. They're doing a 4-video series on what it means to follow Jesus and live in community. As always, we learn as we listen.
Natural materials sculped along the shoreline
We're on the way back to meet Jake for lunch. Jake has launched a new faith community in his suburb and they are going forward. He has a tender heart for the hurting and we pray as we leave - may God take that gift as a presentation love to those who need it.

I need a nap. But after that, we have supper with dear colleagues from Northwest. All but three are retired so it's a delight to get together and relax. Lots of water under that bridge, for sure. And I forget to take pictures with my phone (W has them so I don't.)

It's Dads and Grandparents Day at the grandkids' community study group. I take the leather frog (yup - a real frog tanned into a leather purse) and an Indonesian puppet for the kids to pass around.

I tell the children a bit about Indonesia. They ask about the animals, about what families are like, and what we like about living there. Kinsey passes out info cards to all the children (her request). W and I go from one class to the next, saying goodbye to the kids before we're on the road again.

We're crossing the Sound on the ferry again. This time the sun's up and it's a beautiful picture all around. W has a package to mail, I want to look around the Sierra Trading Post Outlet store - (my favorite online retailer for the past 15 years) ... and take coffee to yesterday's leaders. W is hungry for Vietnamese food - my pho (noodle soup) is delicious.

Then it's time to drive to Port Orchard to meet a group who is interested in theology. We share our story with Virgil and Mac and about 30 others. What a treat - the questions are thoughtful, the people engaging, and we enjoy them so much that I forget to take a picture.

The rain is back: we're on the freeway for over an hour in the rain and happy to sleep in our warm beds by 10:30pm.

Kim and I meet as usual in the early morning. I hang around to see if some of the "maybes" will show up, do a bit of browsing in the bookstore nearby, and head home.

The 3 grandkids love the pinball games I found on the sale table: the clicking of little balls into the chutes reminds me of my own children's pleasure in such little treats.

Our friends and family, Mel and Martha, are working on this side of the mountains - so we meet at their hotel. The guys do tech and catch up while we gals talk. Good family is hard to find - and they're the best! Plus, they were the ones who first mentioned Indonesia to us, five years ago. If not for them .... ? And I forget to take pictures again!

For supper, we meet Don and Brenda, who were among the first people we told that we were going to Indonesia. They have encouraged, advised, and supported us from the start. They are excited about their own trajectory - wow, how cool to be world-changers at our time in life. I feel like I'm grinning from ear to ear by the time we say goodbye.

Jonathan (our youngest) and Kirsten (our daughter) fly in separately. Jonathan is celebrating his birthday tomorrow but will be at a friend's wedding most of the weekend. It's fantastic to see Kirsten - she is in a pause for her chronic arthritis (thanks be to God) and her joints are better than they have been in years.

I'm off to a women's retreat tonight and tomorrow morning. We sing a song, "I'm no longer a slave to fear; I am a child of God." And I pray this over the people we have met, those we care for, and those we love dearly. May each of us have the confidence in God that he is able to sustain and protect us. I feel the love of Christ surrounding me in worship.
Cheryl and Janet make me laugh
It's our youngest son's 29th birthday. We won't see him until tomorrow as he's with friends today. Happy birthday, Jonathan, wherever you are.

Oh, it's so great to meet many old friends. Many of the younger women are now in full voice; they've had experience in speaking and have gained authority and skill. What FUN to see them.
Toss a few beach balls into the crowd and watch them soar - fun at a women's conference
 My small part in the conference is a short "thank you" to the women's groups who donated money toward new ovens for our Indonesian kitchen. Movie night dinners used to take 1.5 days; with their help, the cooking has sped up to a half-day! Plus, these ovens get to 425o, rather than the old one's limit of 350o (on a hot day.)
Doris and I, fooling around

Jeremy and Rebekah join us from eastern Washington. He's our oldest - and she's a CPA in the middle of tax season. They're here for their niece's baby dedication tomorrow. That's true love for family.

The afternoon is spent catching up with connections and relaxing with family. Melissa makes supper - for a woman with 4 little kids, she's close to Wonder Woman in my eyes. It's late by the time we turn the lights out in the basement suite. We sleep soundly.

Read more:
*Jesus said, “I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power’, and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’” Mark 14:62
*See also Isaiah 50:4–9a; Psalm 31:9–16; Philippians 2:5–11; Mark 11:1–11
*Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord or fully declare his praise? Psalm 106:2 (NIV)
*The great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—the King of Israel!” John 12:12–13
Moravian Prayer: Almighty God, we celebrate your triumphant entry once again. Come anew into our hearts. Fill us with your love. May we long to shine your light to the whole world. Give us courage to seek ways to celebrate your story of love and forgiveness. Amen.

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