The title "Going in the Right Direction" could mean many things but for now it means we are inching our way back to Georgia.
Last Sunday morning we attended Saturn Road church in Garland, TX. Ron spoke and gave a report on our work to a class. The head of the mission committee said he would arrange for Ron to come back and present it to the congregation on a Sunday night in the future. In the afternoon we went by the home of Bill Dismuke (a man I worked with 26 years ago) and brought him and his wife up-to-date on our work. They also go to China and other countries to teach. We left N. Richland Hills, TX about 3 p.m. and successfully found our way through Dallas.
We arrived in Greenville, TX about 5 p.m. Sunday night. Greenville is about a two-hour drive from Dallas in an RV at 55 mph.
We set up our displays and began meeting people coming in for the evening service. I knew immediately that the reception would be good because everyone was crowding around the displays and picking up newsletters before Ron even spoke to them about the work. It is our first visit to this congregation. Ron has spoken with the minister on several occasions. One of the elders is one of the sons of our dear friends (Jack and Mary Alice Wilhelm)in Florence, Alabama.
As soon as the service was over, we were covered up with people wanting to sign up to sponsor children at the new orphanage and others asking about the possibility of going on a medical mission or to one of the care centers to teach. No one was eager to leave so we spent a long time answering questions. The minister took us to dinner and one couple joined us to talk more about the possibility of going to China next year. It was such a delightful evening with some really wonderful folks.
We parked the RV in the church parking lot. Last night, the prime-timers were having a dinner and we were invited. After dinner, we joined in and played Spinner (a domino game)until 9 p.m. It was a rare time for us to relax and just play a game for a change. We have been on our computers working almost every available minute that we are parked between traveling and reporting on the work. They even took up a collection at the dinner and gave the funds to us for the work in China. We were the winners all the way around (a delicious meal, fun games, great fellowship and a pocketful of money).
Today, we have worked on our computers except for one meeting. The preacher had someone he wanted us to meet so we went to an ice cream shop for about an hour. I had never eaten at a Cold Stone Creamery so the rich, vanilla ice cream was really a treat on a very hot day.
We will be pulling out tomorrow morning to go to Texarkana, TX (on the border of Texas and Arkansas). We will be at a congregation there Wednesday night. On Thursday, we will travel to Memphis. I'm not sure about other stops between Memphis and Atlanta or our expected arrival time in Atlanta.
This trip was a little too soon after Ron's rather major surgery but he's gradually gained his strength back and handled all of the appointments with ease. I've been the uptight partner because of the experiences with the RV for the first time.
Several have asked if I am getting used to traveling this way. The answer is yes and no. It's gotten easier, I have to admit, but I found out that this old RV Ron purchased (you notice I didn't say "we purchased), is the Motel 6 in the line of RV's. We bought it ourselves so no one would think we were taking too much liberty with China Mission funds. I know that was important to Ron to prevent any speculation on anyone's part. But the age of the RV and it's mileage has also made it less desirable. It's not like the comforts of home. I may have told the name of it incorrectly at the beginning. I think it is a 1993 Southwind "Fleetwood".
While at a RV place to get an electrical plug, I just decided to tour one of the new RV's that was open and for sale. That was a mistake because I immediately became more materialistic than mission-minded.
It was a 43' long RV, with two full-size leather couches, leather chairs at the driving end, marble top counters, ceramic tile floors, king size bed turned crosswise and with the pull-outs (when parked and extended), an entertainment center to die for ran the length of the wall at the end of the bed with plenty of room to walk between it and the bed. The bathroom had a glass door and was big enough for two 300 lb. people to shower together. The counter was separate so someone could use it at the same time. It was not a one person bath that you can stand still and be at the sink, toiler or shower all at the same time. It was as beautiful as any luxury home. It cost $129,000. When the pull-outs are pulled in to drive, it is still a very long and large vehicle. Pulling a car behind it would make it longer than any 18 wheeler and take a lot of precision to make turns and park it.
I have said often that God did not intend for Ron and me to be rich but in fact, we are. Not in ready cash, so to speak, but in blessings that are too numerous to count. I have always had more of everything than I needed (even in a crowded RV, I lack nothing). Having a little fear along the way just allows me the opportunity to put a bit more faith into God and less in my own ability to accomplish things.
Last night, I read something that seems to apply to my situation and helped ground me again from the frustrations of the daily grind of traveling. In POWER FOR TODAY a page by Editor Emily Y. Lemley, stated in part..."Trust in God's direction. He is the ONE who sees and knows, no matter what discouraging words surround you. And HE is the one who calls us to let down our nets for a catch. Whatever your job is today, do it without fear, do it in obedience, and do it because of Christ Who has called you to His service." 'The adventurous life is not one exempt from fear, but on the contrary, one that is lived in full knowledge of fears of all kinds, one in which we go forward in spite of our fears.' - Paul Tournier
One last bit of news and information. Most of you have read the newsletter about Wei Lankui's surgery in Nashville, Tennessee on her jaw in April. Today, we got this report from Faith Borck (at her host family's home):
Lankui is doing great! Her physical therapist is really pleased with her progress. She can open her mouth 2 cm. now and her side-to-side movement is very good. She eats like a horse! Her favorite thing is a Hardy's chicken sandwich. She eats the whole meal w/fries and coke in one sitting with no problem. She brushes pretty well, but needs us to remind her to do it after every meal. Her pants don't fit her any more. She tried on a pair last Sunday and said it's too tight (fat little girl that she is, ha ha!). She fits into my sister's clothes just fine and they have a blast. We do have to be careful about one thing, though. If we leave her to herself she starts working and cleaning like crazy! She's very sweet. Her English reading has improved and her vocabulary is increasing all the time, but she doesn't learn nearly as fast as Dan Dan did. It's interesting how being raised differently affects you in so many ways.
Thanks again for your interest in my blogging. It is a great way for me to tell a lot of interested people about our progress. This has been an extremely successful trip and as many of you have promised - I will look back on it with fond memories.
As I leave the big TEXAS experience behind me tomorrow, I will not forget the wonderful people who greeted us so warmly. (Maybe the 100 degree temperatures were part of the reason). Happy trails until we meet again.