Thank God Rental Cars Come with Ice Scrapers

Never thought I'd have said the time I closed the book on my first network building trip. Needless to say, I was glad there was no snow when I got home this afternoon!

Thursday morning I presented during First Lutheran Church in Missouri Valley, IA's weekly Bible study. I could count the attendees on both hands, but all seemed genuinely interested and asked great questions. I knew one of the "snowbird" couples that wintered in El Paso when I was serving at Ysleta, Mike & Marcia, was from Missouri Valley, so I asked after them on a whim. One of the couples at Bible study knew them well and gave Marcia a call to no avail. I would have been content to send greetings and be on my way, but the couple offered to drive me by Mike & Marcia's nearby home. I gladly tailed them the few blocks and then did something unthinkable in my city neighborhood but perfectly commonplace in Small Town, USA: knocked on the door unannounced! Mike was home; Marcia wasn't. Once he recovered from his shock, we had a wonderful chat. Before I left, he suggested I call his son, a member at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Omaha, to get the name of the best contact there. I did so, and the rest is history if you read my last post

Friday - after scraping my car off for the first time - I met Mike and Marcia, whom I finally reached by phone Thursday evening, for lunch. Such a treat to reconnect with them after so many years! I took advantage of an open rest of the day to email all of the MO district circuit visitors and make dinner for my hosts, a high school friend, her husband, and their 8 month old baby girl. 

First Lutheran Church in Missouri Valley, IA

Saturday it was finally time to experience all that is Mission Central. That's a post in and of itself, so you'll have to be patient for a little longer. Sunday morning it was off to First Lutheran Church in Papillion (pronounced Puh-PILL-yun, not like the French word for "butterfly," as some poor church secretary kindly pointed out to me), NE, to lead children's messages at two services and present during Bible class in between. The pastor's daughter is a former deaconess in the DR, so he totally "got it" and made me feel incredibly welcome, along with everyone else I met there. I left after the late service instead of joining the pastor and his wife for lunch due to the threat of bad weather. Strong winds blew my little Versa all over the road for awhile; they abated just in time for a steady drizzle of wintry mix that was more of an annoyance than a hazard. I made it to Kirksville, MO, by around 5, in time to take my sister, a student at Truman State University, to dinner. 

First Lutheran Church in Papillion, NE

After scraping my car off for the second time (😡), I left around 8:30 this morning, in time to swing by the first of four circuit meetings I've been invited to before heading home. Normally I'd say there are no stops on a three hour drive...but alas, another roadside billboard, another spontaneous pop-in (Immanuel Lutheran Church in Hannibal, MO). The pastor was away, but I left a prayer card with the secretary and followed up by email. 

Immanuel Lutheran Church in Hannibal, the APRIL!

The circuit meeting, held at Congregation Chai v' Shalom in the Dogtown neighborhood of St. Louis City,  was sparsely attended due to various conflicts, but the circuit visitor at the helm of the group (the pastor who baptized me!) graciously gave me a few minutes to introduce myself to those who could make it. Who knows where it'll lead, but it's always a joy to share about my vocation. 

Congregation Chai v' Shalom in St. Louis, MO

All in all, I'm pleased with trip #1. States visited/driven through: 3. Beds slept in (other than my own): 3. On deck for tomorrow is circuit meeting #2 in Percy, IL, about 90 min. away, thank-you note writing, and finalizing my April newsletter. 

Until next time, blessings!