Thursday, September 24, 2009

A fun week

Last Thursday my Japanese friend came to visit. We have been having a fun week discovering South Dakota. We also made a little trip into North Dakota for a church visit. Noriko has taken about 1000 pictures! I don't have quite that many, of course, since I was driving.

The first day we took a walk around Madison. We stopped in the church where Dad was working on the computer.

We also went to Shonda's for delicious grilled salmon and veggies from the garden.

The next day we were off on a trip to Ashley, ND. On the way we stopped to take in the sights along the way, like DeSmet to see Laura Ingalls' homestead.

When we arrived in Ashley we went to the Schauer's for dinner and had fun playing with the children.

From North Dakota we headed to the most famous South Dakota site. It was much colder than we thought it would be so we had to buy sweatshirts! We both liked the pink one.

We also stopped by Crazy Horse and drove through the Badlands.

On Monday we had lunch in Hill City at Alpine Inn which was recommended by several people. While there we saw Monte and Marian, friends from Madison. In the evening we arrived back in Rapid City for dinner and ate a a Happy Days style diner where we saw more friends from Madison!

It has been so fun to have Noriko here! I will miss her when she goes home tomorrow! It has been good to speak Japanese together, too:)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How weekends are spent

While on home assignment the word schedule is used for Sunday church visits. After that, there is no schedule! Every week, every day is different. This is good. This is challenging. This is.

So, here is a little of what has happened the past three weekends:

A visit to Brandon Baptist Church where the morning music was put on by these guys...

The following weekend was Labor Day weekend, a Monday holiday in the U.S. It is also the weekend of Life Light, a huge Christian concert outdoors with bands from all around the U.S. and Canada playing music from almost every genre. Here is what it looks like from about halfway back from the main stage:

That weekend my college roommate, Cindy, came to visit-it was very bright!

It was also my birthday weekend. We started with breakfast at the Sims' house.

A little ladder ball in the afternoon.

And family dinner in the evening.

Last weekend was spent in Herreid, SD being encouraged by the church there. We also had an afternoon/evening of food and fellowship with area churches. One of the games was to put on extra large work gloves and open Hershey's kisses. This is what it looked like...

That was followed by pastors vs. youth volleyball...

So, although my Sunday schedule is full, it is a lot of fun, too!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Time to think

The last full week of August I spent in Palmer Lake, Colorado at Mission Training International. Before leaving from Japan I got on the internet looking for retreats for missionaries, knowing that I needed some down time after three years of ministry and if it got to include hanging out with missionaries then that would be an added bonus. The retreat I found that fit with my schedule was 'debriefing and renewal' at mti. How absolutely like God to lead me to exactly what I needed! Oh, how I appreciated that week. It was worth every penny, even more!

I met missionaries who have been serving all over the world. Families with babies and young children, families with teenagers, empty nesters, second careers, singles, missionaries in all stages of ministry. What a blessing to hear stories, be challenged by stories, laugh, cry and pray together.

Each morning we met with our small group. We talked about stress, ministry, leaving the field, returning to the field, hanging out with God, hanging out with friends, and everything in between.

Afternoons were spent individually with our group leaders for a 45-minute session. Then we were free to nap, spend time with God, hang out with our new friends, walk, hike, go to coffee shops, etc.

I was so encouraged by the missionaries I met. We had great times of fellowship. Our favorite spot to go was Serrano's Coffee Shop in Monument. While there we talked about every topic under the sun and shared our hearts for our adopted countries, struggled together about what the future holds, and got to know the gals working-one of my new friends even taught them how to make an iced coffee drink she likes, now they can add that to their menu! We also spent time playing speed scrabble and apples to apples as well as went bowling.

God graciously met me there. We had wonderful times of fellowship together. He reminded me of His love, grace, and delight. I am thankful for the time I had to think there in Colorado. I am thankful for the ministry of mti and our leaders who love to share God through there service to missionaries. What a blessing the week was!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

One More Post

I just realized it is the last day of August and I haven't posted much this month, so I am trying to get one more in!

This month has been full of travels, fun with relatives, lots of car time, meeting missionaries from around the world, and even a little airport time. My last post contained lots of pictures from travels and got me to Colorado. So, here is an update of what has been going on since I arrived in Colorado.

I hung out with my aunt, uncle and cousins for about a week, learning a bit about how to live in chaos:) With 5 kids from 20 to 6, how can life not be just a bit chaotic?! We had some good conversations, relaxing times in the backyard and took in a minor league game. Abby, 6, used my camera for a while. Here is the perspective of a baseball game from a 6 year old!

Random people we don't know...

We do know these people...

Trying to get a self-picture of her missing tooth...

We had a lot of fun!

Next time will be about my missionary-filled week.

(Ah, I just realized that because my computer is still set for Japan time, this is going to be a September post!:)