Going to the United States is different every time that I go. This time I was not considered to be on “vacation”, I was “working”. The main purpose of our trip was World Mission Workshop, but we used that as an excuse as an opportunity to do other things also.
When I arrived back in the States I spent a few days just winding down and spending time with people that I love.
Some of the people I miss most in the world were right there in Chattanooga waiting for me. I was so anxious to see them and got to on the first night I was there. Greg Moore and Brittney Davidson were two of my best friends while we were at Harding. Now Greg and Brittney Moore are still two of my best friends, and two people whom I appreciate so much for their constant prayers for me. I loved my time that I got to spend with them and, yes it did make me miss them more and made it harder to say good bye but it also made me realize just how thankful I am to both of them.
To Greg and Brittney: I miss you and love you guys so much. You have no idea. I am so excited for your marriage and so encouraged to see you both doing so well. You are in my prayers. Greg, I wish I could have gotten to see you my last night there but I understand that you two are now an old married couple who go to sleep at 9:00 PM. Brittney, thank you for just being who you are to me. I am so encouraged by you. Don’t change.
Sunday rolled around and it was time for our first presentation. It went so well and I am thankful for all that helped get everything ready for that presentation at Red Bank.
Going into this trip I had no idea was my schedule was going to be like. I did not have a car, nor a cell phone so I was pretty much at the mercy of anyone with any type of modern technology. Even after Evan and Rachel got to Chattanooga and we did our presentation we did not know what was going on, nor what our schedule was going to look like. I had to be at the Boyd Buchanan High School chapel on Tuesday and we had to be in Searcy sometime on Thursday but were not sure what time.
Finally we just had to make plans and so that we could know where and when we were going to be.
Monday we stayed in town and had dinner with Jake and Shelley Hendrix at the Reese’s house.
To Jake and Shelley: You are such wise people with so much to teach us. I am thankful and grateful for the time I got to listen to you guys help us out in so many areas.
Tuesday morning I spoke at Boyd Buchanan. Tuesday evening we attended the missions committee meeting at Red Bank then immediately headed to Cookeville, on our way to Searcy. Our travels took us thru Cookville because we had a intern, and new member of our team, Jill Rhodes with us. We stayed the night in Cookeville before heading west. Cookeville is not the most exciting city in itself but has some awesome people. The first thing we did after arriving in Cookville was to go to the Dixie House. The Dixie House is a house of college guys that attend Tennessee Tech and most of them went to Red Bank. I was so thankful to see them all.
After watching Glee and fighting off a migraine we slept and the next day headed toward beautiful Henderson, Tennessee. We spent the day there, and the night in Jackson before heading to Arkansas.
I spent a lot of time in Arkansas in the past five years and it was nice but a little weird to be going back there.
World Mission Workshop was great. We did not do very much with the actual workshop but we got our booth put together and were able to meet some people with amazing hearts for missions.
Thursday night I was finally able to go on Harding’s campus. I was so excited and so ready to see some of my friends from Harding.
To Amanda, ATown, Elizabeth and Joey: It was SO good to see you that day. I know it was fast and I wish I could have spent so much more time with you, but you were all and encouragement to say the least.
Saturday was our big roll out for Manna Global Ministries and specifically the Dominican Republic at the house of Chris and Angela Lowe. Chris and A-Lowe are awesome people who have been coming and visiting us in the Dominican Republic for a long time with the Cloverdale church.
To be honest, we (meaning Evan, Rachel, and I) were a little worried about filling in the time we had allotted ourselves but if you ask any one there, I believe it overflowed. When you start talking about something you believe in so much, you can not help but get excited and probably be able to talk about it all day long.
It was a Spirit filled meeting and it was so good to see all those who were there.
To Chris and Angela: Thank you for opening your house to us. We are excited and look forward to the possibilities we have to work with you guys. You are such wise people in so many ways and I love what you are doing.
Saturday night we were welcomed into the house of the parents of one of our other interns from the summer, Jordan Crow. It was a fun night just being able to hand out with the people we spent the summer with.
To the Crows: Thank you also for opening your house to us. You are amazing people and I am privileged to get to know you.
Sunday Morning church at the Downtown church in Searcy was a throw back to my time spent in Searcy. Downtown was where I spent most Sunday mornings. For brunch we went to Tom and Deann Martin’s house. Tom has worked with Manna for a while doing an excellent job coordinating our group program.
To Tom and Deann: To you two also, thank you for having us over. I love you guys and am thankful for what you do for us. Your work is having a huge impact on the work in the Dominican.
Heading back to Chattanooga had a few stops on the way after a great weekend in Searcy.
I got to Jackson with Jeff Reese and Jill Rhodes, which was such a joy. I love both of those people so much.
Mom and I finally got to spend some time together getting to Nashville, where we met up with my wonderful family. And on Monday I was able to speak at Goodpasture High Schools daily devotional.
To the Perry’s of Nasvhille: I love you guys. It was so good to spend some time with Uncle Bob & Aunt Vickie and Uncle Jack & Aunt Kim at the Cheesecake Factory. I am so encouraged by you guys every time I get to spend a little time with you. Uncle Rick, thank you for letting us stay in your house but I think the biggest encouragement of my entire trip back to the states came from you. I have always thought of you as my uncle and never thought twice because you have been that to me since the day I was born. To hear you introduce my mom as your sister to so many people was the biggest encouragement of all. She is not your adopted or any other type of sister to you but just your sister. I love you for that. I love all the Perrys for that. Those things do not go unnoticed. You are all amazing.
Back to Chattanooga, and a few days just to be with my family.
To my mom and dad: I love you guys and appreciate you more than I can explain. I wish we could have had more time together but am grateful for the little time we had. Dad, I really wish I had more time with you and really wish that your work did not have you tied up so much. I am thankful for your amazing support in so many ways. Just like how Uncle Rick called you his sister, the things you do for me do not go unnoticed. I am excited to see how God is going to use our whole family even more than he already has. I am thankful for your ministries in the United States and praying that our ministries can somehow overlap a little bit more.
I do not even know how to begin to express how thankful I am to all these people. This trip to the States was different than all of the rest, but I am so thankful for all the people that encouraged me while I was gone from home.
I am glad to be back home. Now, we have so much to do and it seems to be creeping up on us very quickly.
Give us your Spirit as guidance and help us to open our eyes to do exactly what the Spirit is guiding us to.
I love you every day.