Thursday, November 8, 2007

Out in the Wilderness

The end of October I got to visit one of my alma mater's, Montana Wilderness School of the Bible. Joe, who with his wife Bev and their family was on staff there when I was a student from 97-98, now pastors a church in Fort Benton just NE of Great Falls, MT. Community Bible Church there welcomed us in to present about Vanuatu and God's leading on Sunday morning. Joe and Bev let us stay in their lovely home and Bev fed us an incredible meal after church. We also enjoyed fellowshiping with Greg and Cheryl from their church over the meal. Here are Cheryl and Greg on the left and Bev and Joe on the right. Emily, Joe & Bev's daughter, also lives in Fort Benton so we got to see her and meet her husband Peter at church, which was fun.

After lunch, we zipped through Great Falls and on to where Montana Wilderness School of the Bible (MWSB is nestled, well, in the wilderness, an hour or so from Helena and an hour or so from Great Falls! At MWSB, we met a "new" (to me anyway, they've been there 4 years now) staff family, Kevin and Pat. Kevin and Pat housed the Richards and I stayed with John and Terry, who are the directors of the school and who were hugely impactful in my life especially when I attended there. Here are Terry and John to the right. We spoke for evening chapel to the students and had several hours after chapel to further interact with students (and some of the staff) who had questions about missions or our testimonies, about Vanuatu, and about discerning God's will and making decisions. What an awesome time to be able to encourage college students to pray about and pursue missions! I really enjoyed the girls I got to talk to and new relationships grown from that time. I'm praying for you girls for wisdom as you seek to glorify God with your lives and in the steps taken after Bible school! I had some nice times to catch up with John and Terry and to get to know some of the other staff as well. I talked briefly with Adam, son of Joe & Bev, and his wife Brooke for a bit at MWSB as well as they are on staff there now.

The scenery there was, as always, incredible and it was as always, hard to leave a place that has been over the years such a haven of rest and growth and of encouraging fellowship. God has truly blessed me in allowing me to have a relationship with MWSB and the staff, students, and alumni from there.

The only stinky thing about the whole weekend was that Gretchen and Gweny weren't able to come. A day before we were to leave, Gweny started running high fevers and not doing well. Gretchen and Houghton decided to have her stay back with Gweny to give her a chance to get well. Houghton, Jesiah and I traveled without them then. Jesiah enjoyed playing with toys at Bev's house, seeing Aaron again (who we visited in Ronan in August but he's now going to school in Great Falls so we got to stop in and see him twice on the trip, as well as to run in to his mom and brother who were visiting), and playing with the great boy toys at Kevin and Pat's. Kevin and Pat had 3 boys (of their 7 kids) home when we were there and they were fantastic entertainers for Jesiah. Here are Pat & Kevin, Rob, Ben, and Josh (and Jesiah behind the nurf gun on Ben's lap). He was VERY sad to leave there. :)

This last weekend we were in western North Dakota presenting at our first church in that state. Pastor Dave and his wife Renee were out of town so asked Houghton to fill the pulpit and we were able to share about Vanuatu there. We met some incredible people and aside from the insane wind gusts threatening to blow us off the road on the way home, were blessed at Beach Evangelical Church. Houghton's parents had us over to celebrate his and his dad's birthdays after we drove back so we got some great grub and came the rest of the way home late Sunday night. Houghton turned 28 Saturday.

Friday we leave for Buffalo, MT to visit with my friends Jessica and Ryan, who graduated with me from MWSB. They have 5 kids now so I'm excited to meet the newest, Jared and better get to know the other 4. After presenting in the church in Buffalo, we'll head down to Frontier School of the Bible again to present during their missions conference for the week.

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