I dunno. I must have counted wrong at the beginning because we only added one extra day to our trip. But it was definitely longer than eight weeks!
Anyway, from Florida we drove up to North Carolina to mission headquarters where we had our re-entry interview. That was on Friday. Then Saturday we drove to a town near Greenville, SC and visited supporters. Then we went from there to a supporting church in Jackson, SC. We spoke in Sunday School, morning church, and evening church. We had a great time there as we always do. We ate dinner with the pastor and then had the afternoon to ourselves. It was nice to just have time to read and relax. I spent the afternoon outside. Right beside the church is a tree-lined lane leading up to a house. The trees are enormous and majestic, providing a lot of shade. I'd love to take this whole lane to Niger. They'd be the most popular trees in town!
From there we went back to mission headquarters where we attended a Home Assignment Retreat. The first two days we had sessions with things to help us in our Relationship Development Ministry (RDM---traditionally stands for Resource Development, but our new director likes Relationship Development better and so do I. We don't have Resources without Relationships!) Then we took two days for a spiritual retreat. We went to a beautiful house on a lake. We had sessions together and then we split up and went our own ways. Because the house is built on several different levels, it was easy for us to each find our own special nook by a window, out on a deck, somewhere in the yard, or on the dock. I personally preferred the dock (seen in the picture above)...sitting in the sun, basking in the light and warmth of the sun and of the SON.
I thought it would be really difficult to spend two days in spiritual retreat, but it was great. I think spending time alone with God, just listening and giving Him time to speak is something we, or I should say I, am not very good at! I need to do it more often. We have gotten away from taking a Sabbath rest, often using Sundays to catch up on work or to continue on in our frantic pace. Sundays are especially difficult for those involved in ministry and we need to find other times to come apart. I have been really challenged to set aside time to spend alone with God. And taking a nap as part of the retreat is allowed. The purpose is to find rest and if we are exhausted, sleeping may be exactly what God wants us to do.
After the retreat, we drove back down to SC and spoke at Woodland Hills Community Church. They had a missions get-together/supper Saturday night and we shared. On Sunday they had a missions speaker. They also took faith promise pledges and over $27,000 was promised in addition to the regular missions budget. This is not a church of high-income people either....but it is a church full of very misisons-minded people with a lot of faith. The look on the pastor's face when the amount raised was mentioned was priceless. God is so good! Sunday's service was followed by dinner on the grounds.
We stayed with a family that are such an example of how God works in people's lives. It's not my place to write their story here, but suffice it to say that God is an amazing God!
From North Carolina we went on to Virginia. We stopped at Liberty to visit our nephew, Jacob, at Liberty University. From there we went on to visit his brother and sister-in-law, Caleb and Keri in Christiansburg. We spent the night with them, then the next day ate lunch with Peggy. From there we drove on to Lanham, MD. We spent the night there and visited at Washington Bible College.
Finally we got home!!! Nine weeks on the road!!! And it is snowing. This is what we woke up to this morning and more is predicted. It looks kind of funny with the leaves still on the trees. The weather man tells us this is the earliest in October that there has been snow since people started keeping records. We might be in for a very snowy winter!