Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Buffer

After leaving Utah mid-March, I enjoyed about 3 weeks in the Midwest.  A friend wisely termed this my "buffer" between West and East.  I needed it.

The most relaxing days were in Minnesota, where my family was reunited for a rare photo.  I missed you, Grandpa.

Time spent with Grandma (and Aunt Carol, pictured): always precious.  I even got a bonus day with Grandma when 9 inches of snow suddenly made travel ill-advised.  We potted geraniums and watched March Madness and visited Grandpa's grave and reminisced.

Another highlight: visiting the country church where I grew up until age 11.  These dear people faithfully support me and several other missionaries.  Debbie and Darrin (below) made sure there was a plate of cookies after the worship service, and we had such good fellowship that Sunday school never even got started.  Thank you, High Forest Community Church.

After the Minnesota snowplows did their thing, I hopped in a Kia Soul (awful handling, nice sound system) and drove back to Kansas alone.  I visited Grace Bible Church in Garden City on Palm Sunday.  The picture below shows a young man sharing a worship song he had written in Burmese.  The tune?  "Take Me Home, Country Roads": the state song of West Virginia.  What are the chances?

It was a treat to be with supporters at Newton Bible Church for Good Friday, and then to be home at Hoisington Bible Church for Resurrection Sunday.  There was a thought-provoking play about the first Passover, and a brunch—oh! can these people cook—and a joyful service.  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed.  That afternoon it was time for a photo op with the parental units.  Mom and I are both subconscious head-tippers, as you can see.

Have I mentioned how, in Kansas, the wind ALWAYS BLOWS?  Always.  Hence the hairdo.

The day after Easter I headed east.  <--That sentence makes me curious if the etymologies of those two words are related.  Wendell the White was riding awfully low under the weight of 2/3 of my earthly possessions.  (The other 1/3 had been mailed from Utah.)  The terrific thing was, if another sudden blizzard hit and I were stranded, I would have about 23 sets of clothes within reach, along with just about anything else you can imagine.  If worse came to worse, there were 7 years' financial documents that could be burned for heat.  Thankfully, no such extreme measures were needed.

I crossed eastern Kansas listening to these apropos lyrics:

Look down upon this winter wheat and be glad that You have made
Blue for the sky and the color green that fills these fields with praise.  -Rich Mullins, "The Color Green" 

Two short stops before I made it out of the state.  Breakfast with a supporter (thank you, Shirley!) and lunch with an old friend (below).  Sarah's friendship and her quiche and her two adorable boys were good medicine for a heavy heart leaving home again.

After that, it was straight to Mt. Vernon, Illinois and a night at the Motel 6.  And on Tuesday, April 7, Wendell and I drove the rest of the rainy way to West Virginia.

The life of a sojourner seems to include too many partings and leavings and drivings off with tears rolling down your cheeks.  But then there are also the graces along the way: quiche with a friend, and music that lifts the spirit, and $2 on the floor of a Missouri rest stop, and eager friends to unload the car when you finally arrive—friends who say, "I'm glad you're here.  I know it's not been easy.  I've been praying for you."  And also, "There's almond milk chilling in the fridge for you."