05 June 2008

The America Trip Begins

Mail awaited us upon our arrival in America at Tammy’s mum’s. Notable was the Christmas gift we purchased for Tam’s mum. Jess hand carried it back to the USA after her Christmas holiday with us, then mailed it to Tam’s
mum over 5 months ago. Thinking it was for us, she simply set it aside. We enjoyed watching her open the digital photo frame, then watch the several hundred photos cycle through that we had loaded on it. A birthday card also awaited me from my parents. Funny how such a card can sum up a person, and both Tam and I enjoyed a lengthy chuckle as a result.

2008-06-03, evening
“We forgot to take photos!” That’s what I said to myself when I realized we had left an evening hosted by our friends Greg and Elvie for friends and supporters without visual reminders of our time together. While I lamented my lapse of memory for pics, I nevertheless gratefully praised God for the precious dozen present who represented significant input into our Christian formation. Greg took me under his wing some 25 years ago to co-teach a course on God’s incarnational mission to grasp people with his love for them. Along with his then wife, Arlene, they loved and encouraged early on as we prepared to move to England. Several days before we moved to England, we spent an evening with Greg and Arlene, Arlene’s last before being murdered the next morning. Some years later, after Greg married Elvie, we receive their mutual care and support.

Most of those present dated back to our days at University Street Christian Church in Eugene. Besides Greg and Elvie, there was Don and Dorothy, keen supporters of cross-cultural ministries such as ours. Paul and Jan, who influenced Tam long before she met Tim. Two of their children were in the youth group we led for a couple of years. One of them, Steve, died in a car accident on the day Tim was ordained at University Street (21 years ago almost to the day), and the events of that day still shape our view of ministry and service to others no matter what the circumstances. Ron and Jacqui (another daughter of Paul and Jan) were in attendance, long-time translators of the Bible in Indonesia. I still remember meeting Ron at Northwest Christian College and seeing in him a kindred spirit of love for Jesus. Mayretta, Ron’s mum, who came to University Street our last year there before we moved to Arizona. Dick, director of the Restoration Campus Ministry, a locally supported ministry to students at the University of Oregon, who baptised and married us in May and December 1983. Joanne, whose son was in our youth group, and had a riotous sense of humor. Oh, last, but not least, Bruce and Sally, with whom 11 of us (including Andrew and me) enjoyed a week of salmon fishing in Alaska in August 2006.

Alas, no pictures, but burned in our hearts are images of these special friends who have loved us, believed in us, encouraged us, and modeled a love for Jesus that still spurs us on after all these years. Our hearts overflow with love and gratitude for you!

2008-06-03, morning
After getting a lift to LHR (Heathrow airport) by Richard, we spent the next 20 hours occupying chairs either in airports or on aircraft. Tam and I arrived at her mum's in Eugene, late in the evening. It was a long day of travel from England, and it was wonderful to get here. I managed to get a meal in me, then retired to the settee to turn on the ice hockey game, which went into 3 overtimes before going to bed at what was the equivalent of 5.00am. A catnap or two in 24 hours isn't much, but while Tim did manage 8 hours sleep, Tam only got three. I'm feeling kind of tired now, and wouldn't be surprised to nod off while Tam and her mum are out shopping.

After being with Dickens Heath Village Church in the morning, we made our way to Leatherhead (inside the M25, SW of London) for a wonderful evening with our friends Richard, Marian, Laurence and Rosie. Tam and I were so excited to see them! Richard and Marian became part of DHVC in the early days after we had publicly launched the church plant, and Tim baptized Marian not long afterwards. Marian became Tam’s prayer and accountability partner, and it was a sad day when they moved to London with Richard’s employment. The last time we had talked to them was July of 2007 when we phoned them while driving past the St Louis arch---a city they had lived in for a couple of years with a previous job. It was amazing to see how the kids had grown in the 18 months since we had last got together. We rejoiced to see them. What we didn’t know, while we had been stateside, was that they were instrumental in hosting a home group that morphed into a church plant that recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. Well done Richard and Marian, and thank you for your example and faithfulness as apprentices to Jesus.

No comments: