Sunday, July 15, 2012

Value of Friendship

Life is Good.
I feel rested and relaxed.

I've just finished a trip to Washington DC for our denominational meetings, which was followed by missionary retreat. A little sightseeing, lots of meetings, many connections, times for debriefing, prayer, heart to heart talks, and adventures with power outages.

I returned to Minnesota to celebrate the 4th of July and then went on vacation with family for a week.
Rest and relaxation with immediate family, at a home on a MN lake during a beautiful week weather wise.  AAAAhh, now that's what I'm talking about!

Returned home to go celebrate my Grandmother's 90th Birthday - giving a chance to connect with relatives on my Mom's side of the family and then off to a MN Twins Baseball game where I met up with a cousin on my dad's side of the family.
Now I'm excited to say I've been in the states 1 month and finally unpacked my suitcases that came with me from Japan. Tonight I relaxed with some friends from my college days - the Mukappa group.  Most are adult MKs some are in MN for the summer and will fly back overseas soon, others live in the local area - all are valued friends with a passion for missions.

"We all have a lot of relationships in our lives - maybe too many - but quite frankly, not all are created equal.  All people are important, but not every connection in your life has equal value."  - by Kerry & Chris Shook

Today I was struck by the realization of relational blessings.  The way God has been providing relationships in Japan and in the States.  Some relationships are years in the making, some are new friendships, I've come to realize how much value they give to life.  Because I have homes in 2 different countries at times it causes tensions in the relationships.  Some people would say a "real friend is someone who is with you - present in your life."  But I live life on 2 continents and grieve the fact that no matter where I am I'm not able to be "present" for the people in the other place.  God has been revealing how he has been meeting my relational needs in unexpected ways. Answering prayers. Deepening friendships despite the distance and renewing others because of proximity.

‎"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art . . .. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival." C.S. Lewis.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Where are the photos?

Sorry for the lack of photos - my camera has recently broken and blogspot is telling my I've used up all the memory available for photos.  If you have advice on how to work around the blog space problem let me know.  As for the camera - I'm researching my options - if you know of cameras receiving good reviews by others let me know. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Standing in Awe :: Converge

June 27-29 I was in Washington D.C. for Converge Worldwide and Bethel University Biennal meeting.  I loved the worship and connections made with friends and church partners. 

The International Ministries Luncheon included welcoming the new director of International Ministries

(Ivan has a great blog at Ecipleship for Passionate Christ Followers
and interview with Helwigs - missionaries working with HIV/AIDs health care and orphans in Nigeria.  Amazing ministries. God sized stories!

I attended a workshop on using Social Media in Ministry - Lead by Peggy Kendall and Mark Kraakevik.  I not only worked with Peggy at Bethel U. But many year's ago babysat for her family so was such a pleasure to hear her teaching again.    Mark and I are Facebook friends, and follow each other on Pinterest so it was great to meet face to face.

 What a Joy to be able to connect with pastors from partnering churches: 
  • North Isanti Baptist Church, Cambridge, MN, 
  • Bible Baptist Church, Mauston, WI,
  • New Life Community Baptist Church, Ortonville, MN
  • Ridgewood, Minnetonka, MN
More highlights for the 3 day meetings (for me) included:
  1. Seeing 12 new missionaries commissioned
  2. Meeting Ian Smith the new Converge Worldwide missionary bound for Japan. (You can follow his blog at Joyfield)
  3. Inspiration from 6 retiring missionaries recognized for their many years of  faithful service: Reynolds (Mexico), Downings (Ethiopia/Brazil), Stephens (Cameron).

The Missionary retreat (June 30-July 3) followed the biennal meetings. Photos aren't uploading at this point but perhaps in a future blog post I'll try to capture some of the adventure and connections that took place during those days.