Showing posts from April, 2024

Michigan was Grand

[Current location: St. Louis, MO] It's a mystery to me how the organizer of the Rapid Waters Zone's spring LWML rally in Grand Rapids, MI, got my name, but when I mentioned to an October 2023 team from St. John's in Grand Haven, MI, that I'd be in their area in mid-April, a visit was a foregone conclusion.   The St. John's crew insisted I come to their prom-themed school auction Friday night - just the occasion I'd been waiting for to break out my mom's '70s prom dress. Zoom in to see the cars and stoplights! Saturday morning, my host family graciously let me borrow their car to drive myself ~45 min. to Messiah Lutheran Church, where an empty table awaited the paraphernalia I'd brought. Just outside the room where attendees were wrapping up a continental breakfast was ALL. OF. THIS. My mind ricocheted from awe and gratitude to the fact that I'd flown to Michigan. With a carryon, and ONLY a carryon. Skip ahead to the end if you're dying to


[Current location: Springdale, AR] If it seems like I've been traveling a ton on home service, you're not wrong. I have had a fair amount of speaking engagements in the St. Louis, area, though. Certain missionaries purposefully refer to missionaries' US stints as "reconnects," for perhaps obvious reasons that rang true for me about a week and a half ago between Colorado and Michigan.  The secretary at Grace Chapel Lutheran School in north St. Louis invited me to lead chapel on a Wednesday. I'd been there a handful of times before...for volleyball games in middle school! Both pastors met me at the door, as did the principal, whom I'd totally forgotten I knew. We'd met years ago at a young adult Bible study group called Quarterlife. Reconnected ! Coincidentally, he's Jamaican; the fact that he's now a Lutheran educator is a direct result of LCMS missionaries there in the late 90s and early 2000s.  The following day, I headed to the LCMS Internat

There are spots left, Erin!

Thus read the body of an email two-time LAC volunteer alumna Joleen sent me on August 4, 2023, mere days after her most recent international experience, in Panama . She'd attached a flyer for the 2024 Northern Colorado Ladies' Retreat she'd been talking up.  I was going to be on home service...I didn't have anything that weekend...I knew I had other contacts in Colorado ... two weekends ago Joleen, fellow Panama volunteer Debra, and I joined 20+ other Lutheran women for a weekend in the Word against the backdrop of a canyon carved by the Fall River.  We took a circuitous route so Joleen could show off her home state, stopping first at Red Rocks (OK, first for a bathroom and coffee)... There I go... And here I come! ...then at the 7,300 ft. Lookout Mountain... Golden, CO, home of Coors, is nestled on the far left side of the photo.  Buffalo Bill's final resting place sits atop the peak.  ...then for lunch in downtown Golden.  THEN we started our ear-popping

Sunshine on my Shoulders

[Current location: Baltimore, MD {layover @ BWI!}] What better song to listen to when driving through the foothills of the Rockies on a gorgeous day? Before I headed to the Northern Colorado Ladies' Retreat in Estes Park with two short-term volunteers turned friends, though, I frontloaded my trip to the The Centennial State with four other visits: 1. Bethlehem Lutheran School, Lakewood, CO When I hosted "Vicar Ben" and his wife Amelia as part of a Mission Education team from Concordia Seminary St. Louis  in January 2023, I semi-jokingly warned the whole group of students I'd be hitting up their vicarage congregations and first calls on my next home service. Guess I made good on my threat (promise?) in at least one case :) Ben connected me to DCE Sarah about leading a Wednesday chapel service, then created a Google Sheet for teachers to sign up for individual classroom visits as an afterthought. Every single slot filled up! Ben & Amelia must have been taking copiou

Gal Pal Time

I owe the title of this post to my friend (and former DR missionary) Courtney's fiancée for asking when she was leaving for "gal pal time" on Good Friday.  The idea came from our mutual friend (another former DR missionary) Lizz, the newest St. Louisan of the three of us: "Spend the day in Grafton. Enjoy lunch at the Loading Dock and then take the skylift to Aerie’s Resort and try out the Alpine Coaster." We met up to carpool, stopping on the way to fuel up with  coffee (or not coffee, in my case). An hour later...up we went! You can see the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers behind us.  Courtney & Lizz nominated me to be the first victim.  Gravity propels the cars downhill, but you can accelerate and brake using hand levers on either side; the much slower ride back up is mechanized.  The rules dictated we were to stay 80 ft. behind the riders in front of us, so I didn't see either of my gal pals until we were on our way back to the start