A Stop to Re-Fuel

This morning as you’re reading this, I’ll be about to speak to a group of ‘veterans’.

By that, I mean ‘veteran missionaries’. Our little band of what’s called “Journeymen” in Baptist circles, went out in 1973 to all the world.  There were 80 of us back then and still are almost as many, but after a lot of cancellations because of health and family matters, there were only about half of us (with our spouses) who were able to come to the reunion this year.

While the Journeyman program only allowed for two years on the field, we were young, and two years represented a lot of time, so the experience has stuck with us.

This particular reunion is especially being held for the benefit of being with our leader, Stan Nelson. While we were buzzing around with our own lives, he has become nearly 90. He lives in this area and we thought we should all try to see him while we still have the chance in this life. Two months ago, his own precious wife went to be with the Lord after several years of debilitating illness coupled with dementia. But now, as I look into the eyes behind that face so etched with pain, I’m thinking Stan may well outlive us all. He comes to us with a strength born of hardship, and a spirit that can only come from God.

Stan was able to speak to us for quite a while today, and he never fails to awe us with his wisdom.  As usual, he had our full attention and we were either laughing or crying as he recalled each of our names and details from 46 years ago, an uncanny “gift” he had back in the day, and which has never left him.

Here’s what I’m talking about: When Tony wrote the book, The Road Rising several years ago, Stan wrote the Foreword for it. Here’s how it began:

“Impoverished imagination removes the color and the zest in our biblical readings.  Because of our environment’s usage of the visual, the inner world has shrivelled and become nearly extinct.”

… and then Stan continues on to write about the book, and how it possesses that elusive element of imagination wrapped around a message so vital that it has to be seen, heard and experienced.

You can see how it is that Stan has always inspired us so.

Anyway, back to the retreat, for some reason they asked me to deliver our closing sermon.  I reminded them that Southern Baptist Women don’t preach, so they told me I could ‘share’ instead.  I think it’ll be hard for Tony to sit on the bench this time!  You can imagine that I’ll thank you for your prayers this morning!

Then, after I finish, we and another couple will head for the airport to Miami where we’ll board a ship and travel around thru some Caribbean islands, the goal being to spend next Sunday at the Baptist Seminary in Havana, Cuba. Tony will be giving them his discipleship course, Anagaion, and hopefully talk about the possibilities for a Spanish version.

By the way, here’s an off-the-wall idea, just in case the Lord might be leading you as you read this. The seminary got hit by a huge hurricane a couple of weeks ago, resulting in lots of broken windows and damage to their one vehicle. We’re planning to give them what we can spare to help with relief efforts. If any of you would be interested in contributing, let me know by email before next Saturday. We can “add to the pot” whatever you’d like to give, then you can deposit into our Stateside bank at your convenience. Just a thought.

Our trip is going well, we’ve been in good form, surviving in two carry-on suitcases, and are looking forward to and hoping we’re ready for the next adventures.

We probably won’t be able to send out a blog next week, as we’ll have no internet when we reach Cuba.

But we’ll look forward to telling what we find in Cuba, as soon as we get back to internet, as we’re quite intrigued ourselves.  We chuckle at the fact that while Cuba appears happy to have ‘cruise people’ arriving, if you want to alight, they offer you a visa; $50 for everyone except Americans; for them it’s $75.  (Fortunately we also have Aussie passports so we’ll try to use those).  And then presumably, when you get to shore, you get to do several hours of voluntary ‘community service’ for them, before you can do any sightseeing!  So funny.  We’re hoping that our letter from our church will convince them that our community service will be visiting the seminary, but who knows, we may be picking up trash as well.

I heard a piece of Cowboy wisdom this last week we spent with my sister.

“For every mile of road, there are two miles of ditches, tread carefully!”

Happy Trails, Marsha

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