An excerpt from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress reads:
They went, then, till they came to the ” Delectable Mountains ,” which mountains belong to the Lord of that hill of whom we have spoken before. So they went up to the mountains, to behold the gardens and orchards, the vineyards and fountains of water; where also they drank, and washed themselves, and did freely eat of the vineyards. Now there were on the tops of these mountains shepherds feeding their flocks; and they stood by the highway side. The pilgrims therefore went to them; and, leaning upon their staves (as is common with weary pilgrims when they stand to talk with any by the way), they asked, “Whose delectable mountains are these? and whose be the sheep that feed upon them?” Shepherds. These mountains are Immanuel’s Land, and they are within sight of his City; and the sheep also are his, and he laid down his life for them.
Though we are living among these beautiful mountains, which bring refreshment just by their presence, we were given another kind of refreshment as the World Harvest Mission (the agency we are affiliated with) had it’s every third year conference in Spain recently. “The shepherds” of WHM gathered their “sheep” from all around the world to encourage, refresh and invigorate them. The first week area/team leaders gathered for workshops, discussion, encouragement and prayer. Since we are team leaders (even though without a team beyond the two of us at present) we attended this first week. The second week all the teams arrived from around the world. It was one of those times to step back and get a very big overview of God’s kingdom growing and changing the world. It was one of those reorienting perspectives, like when you go up in an airplane and can look down over a whole city, the perspective can change how you see yourself, others and present difficulties. Our Burundi sister team was there also. It was nice to have the opportunity to get to know each of them a bit more. They also wrote up an insightful description of the time, check out it out at their website http://mccropders.blogspot.fr
One of the best parts of the two weeks for us was Linnea being there! She was one of the many who came to assist in the childcare for the two weeks. A huge blessing for parents allowing them to attend the workshops, meetings and prayer times. Before the conference she took the advantage of being in Europe and did some traveling on her own. Then she returned to Albertville with us for a few days before leaving for London and returning to the US.
Since we had a day and a half between the first week and the second in typical “Randy” style we did a 24 hour trip to Tangier, Morocco. This meant renting a car, driving three hours to the port city of Tarifa, Spain, taking an hour ferry to Tangier, walking to our hotel, spending the afternoon and evening walking around all the old streets of the Kasbah, observing the night life from the balcony of a restaurant, having breakfast overlook the port. Returning the next day again by ferry, car and two buses to the conference site. Whoosh! Quick trip, highly interesting, but very limited in scope. We would enjoy seeing more of the country one day.
While missing two weeks of classes may have slowed our french acquisition it was what we needed for the feeding and refreshment of our souls, to be reminded of the love of our Great Shepherd, Jesus and to partake in the delights on the “delectable mountains”–fellowship, encouragement, singing (in english!), worship, prayer, and hearing the stories from others of their journeys, trials and God’s triumphant love. We are renewed and regenerated for the continuance of our call to Burundi and learning french.
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” John 10:11