My summer trip began a week ago with the trek east through the deserts of Utah, over the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado, and down into the plains of western Kansas. It's a beautiful drive, every inch of it except the minor congestion of Denver. I know many were praying for my safety; thank you. Bubbles purred like a kitten the whole way, and even her tape deck was functional most of the time. Nothing makes the miles fly like Gordon Lightfoot tunes and Jungle Jam episodes. I reached my folks' home in Hoisington at nightfall.
The next day, I was off again—this time to Garden City, Kansas, for a weekend of ministry at Grace Bible Church. They were the first church (apart from my home/sending church) to start supporting me, but it had been four years since my last visit—too long to stay away from these dear missions-minded, prayer-committed people. Pastor John and Joyce Zoschke were wonderful hosts. I loved spending time with them, exchanging ministry stories and ideas, and even eating sourdough bread from Pastor John's starter rumored to be a couple decades old.
Grace Bible Church has a unique ministry among the Karen (pronounced Kuh-RIN) people who have come to Garden City for jobs. From what I understand, the Karen (and other ethnic groups) have been displaced from Myanmar (Burma) due to civil war. I was surprised to learn that many of them come from a Baptist background, thanks in large part to missionary pioneer Adoniram Judson. When I spoke during the worship service, I had a Karen translator (thank you, Sheila Paw), since many of the adults are not yet fluent in English.
Pastor John and Joyce and their church have welcomed this cross-cultural ministry, though it's not always smooth sailing. I was amazed by how they remember all these foreign names (my favorite was a child named Bleh Bleh) and truly care about the kids and their families.
VBS crafts: always a hit, no matter one's ethnicity.
Crayons and glue transcend cultural barriers, I've decided.
Has the U.N. picked up on this yet?
I left Garden City Monday evening with that peculiar mix of weariness and refreshment that ministry so often brings. Thank you, Grace Bible Church, for a great weekend.
Well, hello there.
Nothing brings back that childhood feeling like riding
around the hometown in the back seat of the folks' old Buick.
We like our gasoline pumps analog in Hoisington.
Credit card swipe? Heavens, no. One must go in and exchange
small talk with an actual human being while paying.
Looking over Main Street with the parental units.
What a refreshing change from the traffic and noise of city life.