Hanging out with the people who hold up our arms

In Exodus 17:8-15, you can read a story about how Moses needed others to hold his arms up so that Joshua could prevail in a battle. I think that passage is a good word picture of how we all need each others help in order to do the work God has called each of us to do. I thought about this passage as I began to write about the two trips we took this past fall to visit some of the people who help hold up our arms.
It's been years since we've been to Chicago and we greatly enjoyed walking a city trail, eating at the White Fence Farm, and our many conversations with Mark and Karen.  Mark's family "adopted" John when he was a teenager, so our bond here is long and strong!

Next we traveled to Ohio; we were eager to meet the people of Maynard United Methodist Church who have been partnering with us for five years thanks to Pastor Al, whom we met many years ago in Arizona.  We enjoyed staying with Al, his wife Maggie and some of their family and on Sunday we visited not only MUMC but two other churches besides (a typical Sunday morning for this "retired" UMC minister; we felt a bit like modern day circuit preachers as we left one service to quickly drive off to another in a nearby township or village.)  At Bannock UMC we experienced  a worship team that included a fiddle (Shevawn was ecstatic!) and then at Flushing UMC we joined them in celebrating their 200th anniversary, including eating at the best church potluck of our lives (shout out to the amazing cooks in Flushing!)

A couple of months later we were able to visit with four families in Oregon; unfortunately we didn't remember to take photos of each visit but we do have a few.  We first stayed with Casey, Abbe and their three kiddos; our relationship with them us goes back to our daughters college days when we met during visits to see her.  Abbe came on one of the Discovery internship teams we led to Ghana; after graduating they got married and have since gone on to be missionaries with Lahash International for 10 years now.  We are thrilled that we were a part of moving them in that direction and grateful that they choose to partner with us.

While in Oregon we also enjoyed a lunch with Jeff and Debbie, (friends since before we joined Wycliffe who have held up our arms for 35 years now!) before going to stay with John and DeAnn.  They began partnering with us 20 years ago after giving to a Wycliffe fund for missionaries who had financial needs like we did at the time; they've  continued partnering with us ever since.  John and DeAnn took us to see the Portland Christmas light show and insured that we ate VERY well during our time with them.  (As you probably gathered by now, we are all about the food wherever we go! 😉)

We closed out our time in the state visiting Geoff and Kelly who were colleagues of ours back in Ghana when we managed the guest house there and who continued to partner with us after they returned to the states.  We went on another lovely walk (although colder and wetter that the one in Chicago!) and came home with new recipes and food they had freeze dried from their garden, as we almost always do after visiting with them.

We are so thankful for these friends and many others like them...together we are bringing the Word to people who still do not have access to it.   We are always looking for more friends and partners; will you pray with us for others to join us in this endeavor?


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