We were told we would be surprised once we began the fundraising journey of being missionaries. We’ve heard many rich stories of how God provides for those who are trusting Him. So with some trepidation we have submitted ourselves to the unnatural and uneasy process of spreading the seeds of the vision and calling to work in Burundi with just about everyone we know.
What we have found is that there are many sweet surprises coming to us daily in unexpected ways. Like the several short visits to Cincinnati in the past three weeks as we’ve made a figure eight driving circuit through the southeast which allowed us to see our kids several times–visiting Linnea at her cool place of employment (Coffee Emporium) and seeing Ian perform as Romeo.
Another sweetness has been the incredibly fair driving weather we’ve had this fall with mostly sunny and warm days for driving, lower gas prices and road safety for the 3500 miles we’ve booked in the last three weeks. With the “death” of our 17 year old Audi during our first week out we had to rent a car. To our joy we were able to get a one-way rental for three weeks from Winston-Salem to Chicago, which on the day we picked it up was upgraded to a 4-door, more comfortable car with a GPS. Then we found out that by joining AAA we could get not only the extra driver free but also a 10% discount.
But one of the greatest blessings has been visiting friends we’ve known from the past 34 years of our marriage and seeing how they are flourishing in faith, community and godliness. What has become so evident to us is how over time each one of them has grown in exhibiting the qualities and characteristics of Christ (humility, patience, compassion, kindness, faithfulness). It is evident in their marriages, as most are still married to their original partners. It is evident in their commitment to their communities and churches. It is evident in how they bear the scars of life with grace and gratitude. We have been deeply appreciative of being able to spend time with so many old friends and be encouraged by them. As it says in Ps. 16:3 “I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” It has been our delight to be with so many saints who are old friends!