Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Buffalo and FSB

Buffalo, Montana the town isn't much to see, but the people are friendly and down-to-earth. Most Montanan's we told we were going to Buffalo had to ask where it was. Well, here's why - visually. :)The old church, however, is still open and draws around 50 people every Sunday! Not bad for a ghost town! The highlight though (other than meeting some of the other Buffalo families) was getting to stay with my friends Ryan and Jessica and getting to know their 5 kids better. I attended Bible school with Ryan and Jessica and she and I share a birthday; hers just one year after mine. Abe, Hannah, Joel, Faith, and new little Jared are sweet, fun kids that I really enjoyed hanging out with. Jesiah and Gwen had fun playing with everyone. Jessica cooked us amazing from-scratch meals (and even shared her recipes - thanks, Jessica!). I got to attempt to teach Abe a bit about piano. He was a quick study but I'm not sure I was such a great teacher. Hopefully he keeps his interest in it up at least!

After church and lunch, we drove "home" to Miles City, stayed the night, and drove Monday to LaGrange, WY back to Frontier School of the Bible. We got there just in time to put up our display and run to chapel for the introduction of all the missionaries for Missions Conference. What an amazing opportunity to be able to participate in! The week was jam-packed from early morning to late night with formal and informal times to share with students. I was asked to teach the Sr. girls class on the topic of singleness. I had some breakout sessions to share that same topic with other girls and some breakout times and informal times to talk about missions and the work in Vanuatu.

I also got to hang out with a dorm group for their weekly (late!) night devotions and shared about God's leading in my life toward missions. Thanks for the invite, girls! Here's that group to the right - Courtney, Emma, Raquel, Karissa, Janelle, Lelia, Torie, Larissa in back and Chantel and Rachel in front.

Another fun opportunity was with some of the juniors who were required to interview some of the missionaries for a missions class project. Here is one of those groups - Chandra, Sarah, and Cara.

Geneva, Rebeca, and Larissa, invited me to the (one) cafe for milkshakes one afternoon so we wore our coats, shivered, and drank some amazing milkshakes. Larissa and Rebeca are really seriously pursuing missions so it was fun to hang out with them several hours over the course of the week and hear about places they've served and their passion for the lost around the world.

So many other girls I could name - I was so edified by you and blessed by your devotion to Christ, your humble service to Him, and your love for the nations and desire that "every tribe and language and people and nation" (Rev. 5:9) would know Him. Thanks for the honor of having fellowship with you and being able to share with you.

It was also awesome to hear from other missionaries there - all other than us were reps with their organization, not full-time overseas missionaries, but they had much experience and knowledge to share with us. Neil Anderson of Wycliffe, who was a translator for 30 years in Papua New Guinea (and is still consulting on the translation work with the people group there) was the main speaker in daily chapels. What incredible, inspiring stories of God working through him and his team and the tribe as they lived among the people and sought to translate in a culturally appropriate way with scriptural metaphors and such in the heart language of the people. One especially memorable story Neil told was of their translation of John 3:16. After working for weeks to find the correct word for "love," the verse was translated and read to the people. Their response was to stroke their throats and say "we are dying of the deliciousness of these words." Wow, when have I ever responded so passionately to that same Gospel? It was also fun to talk when there was time with Gary and Judy Anderson (no relation to Neil), who are reps with Wycliffe. My parents are long-time friends with the Andersons so I grew up hearing stories of their work in Indonesia. Pictured here are all the missionary reps as well as Will and Shanna, (far left) who are staff at FSB and did a fantastic job of organizing the conference. Houghton isn't pictured here but most of the others are.

I also got to enjoy a full week with my friends John and Andrea and their kids Michael, Trevor, and Ella. They housed me as a stranger back in September when we presented at LaGrange Bible Church and in chapel at FSB. This time I got to come back as a friend! I enjoyed getting to know them better and to have a bit of time with the kids playing Pictionary. Thanks for the fun and the fellowship, guys! :)

Thanks for your prayers as we have been on deputation. It is rather amazing with all the travel we've done that we haven't had any accidents or hit any (living) deer. On the way back from FSB, I did hit an enormous already dead deer but I was able to at least straddle it and so only scraped the bottom of my car. Thankfully, although some things are bent, it seems to be fine otherwise. We had to avoid other dead and living deer on that same road later, but got home safe and sound (I just have a really smelly car now). I won't include any pictures of that... :)

Thanksgiving was a nice time to avoid all work and not turn on the computer! My parents, Houghton, Gretchen and the kids, and Houghton's mom and I all hung out at my parents', ate yummy food, and us girls played some games. Pretty amazing to think of the length of the list of what I have to be thankful for - wow.
Another nice thing is that my grandparents came to visit last night so we enjoyed a bit of time with them. We'll spend Christmas at their place in South Dakota for a few days, Lord-willing .

We spent this last Sunday at Grace Bible, our home sending church and went out to Coalwood again Sunday night. Starting this week, we are spending the next month sharing at small group Bible studies from Grace Bible, Lord-willing. We are excited for the opportunity to have more informal time and to be able to better get to know people from our home church. Having a church of 500 (that I've been away from for the most part for 10 or so years) means there are loads of people I've never met. We are blessed to be in one place for longer than a few days too!

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