I’m thankful for a weekend here in Chattanooga. The past two weekends were good, weekends full of travel, meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends and family. Thank you for your prayers for me.
Friday, June 25th, I drove through two heavy thunderstorms on my way to a Ukraine ministry presentation in Birmingham. A friend graciously organized a dessert and coffee evening, giving me the opportunity to tell ten adults and two children some of how God is building his kingdom in Kiev. I showed my team’s Kiev ministry video, shared a few stories of Ukrainians I’d met the three times I was there, and invited my friend’s friends to consider supporting me with finances and prayer. Saturday morning, after managing to get stuck an hour in an unusual traffic jam, I swung by my friend’s church’s farmers market, picked up some fresh produce, and trekked back up to Chattanooga in time for the second half of the USA v. Ghana world cup match.
Last weekend I drove to Pennsylvania for an Independence Day family reunion with my mom’s extended family, and my parents rode with me. On our way north, we stopped at a Starbucks in Roanoke, VA, so I could meet with a supporting church’s missions committee. I shared the Kiev team video and my calling and vision for how I may join in building up the church in Kiev. I enjoyed meeting these six sisters and brothers who gave me an hour or so of their time on a Friday evening. One of the men, who had been to Ukraine a number of times, brought a small Ukrainian flag for our table, and told me stories of his wearing his Scottish kilt and taking his bodhrán to play music with Odessa street musicians… it was a joy to meet these people.
My maternal grandfather was the oldest of eight siblings. Much of his extended family gathers to celebrate Independence Day and the Saturday after Christmas each year. Over the years I’ve realized that its increasingly rare for extended family to maintain these ties, but its been something I value. Perhaps this is because most of our extended family are believers, followers of Jesus, and that makes us not just distant kin by blood but brothers and sisters with a common Father. This year I showed my Kiev team’s video to interested relatives, enjoyed seeing my cousin Audra and her Ukrainian husband, Oleg, and was gratefully surprised when a great-uncle and great-aunt (Is that the proper term? they’re my mom’s uncle and aunt) told me they plan to give monthly to support me.
After our July 4th celebration with the family, my mom and I detoured to see friends David and Eowyn, who’ve just moved from Berlin to Philadelphia. Over the years, we’ve prayed for David and Eowyn’s family in Berlin-Pankow, and mom was part of team that went to Pankow in 2008 to help with the English Camp. I’m particularly thankful that we were able to fit our brief visit into this trip.
Sunday we spent with my grandmother in Wilmington, and my brother and his fiance came down from northern New Jersey for dinner and the afternoon. It was good seeing Aaron and Susanna, but altogether too brief a visit: perhaps we were trying to squeeze too much into the weekend.
Monday during our drive back to Chattanooga, we stopped for some lunch, and a large, bright-orange moth landed on dad. I came out of the Subway, and dad was leaning against the wall with his hat covering the moth, waiting for mom to come out so he could show it to her.
Wow–writing about the past two weekends makes me tired. This weekend, I think I’ll stay put here in Chattanooga. I’ve got support-raising work to do, a bit of cleaning and reading, a run to the bank, and perhaps I’ll catch a performance of “The Crucible” with friends tonight. I’m looking forward to worshiping with my home church tomorrow!