Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Three weeks is a LONG TIME!

I just got back from my 24 day trip to the States. I prefer not to be gone that long, but with a series of meetings, I couldn't help but extend this trip. As I sat on the plane coming home, I tried to remind myself of what I'd done the past three weeks!

My course at Columbia International University was on Member Care Counseling Skills. It was stretching and very useful. I still have one project left to complete, but it should only take a short time and I am looking forward to it.

My class ended on Friday, July 1. On the second I drove up to friends in Stuart, Virginia to spend the 4th of July holiday. They have a comfortable home on 60 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains. I spent several hours out in the hammock under some plum trees,ate wonderful BBQ ribs on the 4th, and had Bucky show me how to make jelly. I was also able to share with the adult Sunday School at Stuart Presbyterian Church that Sunday.

On the 5th I headed to Charlotte, North Carolina where I joined two others from Asian Access for meetings with another mission organization. We are talking about a strategic partnership with this group, and it was encouraging to see how God is working as we go forward in the process.

I flew to California on the 8th, in time to have pizza with the team heading to Japan from Cornerstone Bible Church. It was great to meet the men who have now arrived here to serve God and the Japanese in tangible ways.

The 9th was a highlight--my second daughter and I went to the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles to see Les Miserables. She is a musical theatre major, and needed this boost of encouragement and inspiration as she heads into her senior year this fall. The next day we met my sister for her birthday lunch at the Cheesecake Factory after church.

Monday and Tuesday, the 11th and 12th, the three of us on the A2 Japan Leadership team met to do some strategic planning. We are a newly formed team, and it was encouraging for us to work through core values as we look ahead to the next five years. We were inspired by the dreams of Japanese pastors for future ministry in the area affected by the earthquakes and tsunami. There was a follow up meeting on the 14th with my US based coworker in HRD.

Then on the 15th I headed to a retreat center outside of Newberg, OR for a family reunion on my father's maternal side of the family. My sister was one of the coordinators for this year. Dad had been an organizer of this event for many years previous, and several mentioned how they missed him this year. I have not been able to attend because of living overseas, so this was a special opportunity to join them.

Sunday I drove back to Portland in driving rain and got to see most of the Japan-US Women's Soccer game before I had to board the flight. When the announcement was made that Japan had won, there was modest response--until it was translated into Japanese. The large contingent of Japanese college students in the back of the plane responded with glee!

So now I'm home. But three weeks is a long time!

Stan took off 12 hours after I got here to head up to Tohoku with the Cornerstone Relief Team. They are going to be working in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture along side other teams and under the direction of another missionary from Rhode Island (Stan's home state).

And this morning the California daughter flew in--so now all four of our kids are home for a few weeks.