Thankfully we have arrived safely back in the USA and are in Ventura, CA, and mostly in good humor. Air travel increasingly provides the opportunity to learn and practice patience as all cultures seekprotection against "air-terrorism." Our most challenging opportunity came at Dulles Airport in D.C., where we were "randomly selected" THREE times for further search. At the boarding gate we were chosen for a "full body search" including removal of outer garments and shoes. The steel rod in Lynn's leg allowed for further disclosure of personal history. The most "dramatic" miracle of the trip (besides the privilege of air travel) occurred when our daughter saw us exit the terminal at LAX on her FIRST drive-by!!!That in and of itself never happens, but it "followed" a bizarre series of events: first: our plane was over 1/2 hour EARLY, then we had stopped to use the facilities and get phone change, AND we had ACCIDENTALLY gone out the "WRONG DOOR"!
We were thoroughly blessed by our earlier visit in the Washington, D.C. area with Ted Taylor, Lynn's father, her sister Terry and husband Roy, sister-in-law Mary Catherine and all the folk at the Goodwin House West Retirement Community.There was lots of time for jet-lag recovery, talking-catching-up, exercise, music, GREAT food, and tremendous questions during our short presentation for the residents/friends of Goodwin House.
We have landed here in Ventura in the most ideal of settings.Friends have lent us their house and car for two months while they are working as volunteers in the High Sierras. "Home is where the heart is," so the saying goes. We now realize in a fresh way how, in God's Kingdom, there are many mansions where we feel "at home!"
West-coast family visits were the joy of the first two weeks of July: Kim in Anaheim, Kent in Canoga Park AND on his new/used 32' sail boat in Marina Del Rey, nephew Joel in Oceanside just before he shipped out with the Marines to Okinawa, daughter Taelor in Sacramento, and brother Victor (by phone)in Livermore.
Our immediate desire to re-contact with all our friends and supporting churches had to be postponed until late August-September since our "full-time job" for the moment is preparation of the visual display boards, video, teaching and speaking resources, which we need to begin using at two conferences Sept 27-Aug 10 at our National Assembly grounds in Green Lake Wisconsin.
The "seemingly simple" task of transferring and then editing 3-4 hours of video-tape down to a 12 minute presentation has unraveled in to a quagmire of phone calls, trips, questions, searches: for people who "know", software, hardware, capture cards, fire-wires, USB cables, equipment, etc.; and again the need for practicing PATIENCE! We thought we could just "call up a lab", take the tapes over, and pick up a "master file" which we could then use to make the editing decisions. The concept is "simple", but "Do you have the Digital 8 camcorder for playing your tapes?" "No, it was a borrowed camcorder in the Democratic Republic of Congo.""Sorry, we can't play your tapes without that. And we have to charge you $45 an hour for the 3+ hours of copying it ONTO our computer's hard drive, AND for the 3+ for outputting it into whatever format you want." We will spare you the "blow by blow account" of the two weeks since then, but it includes several miracles: the location/loan of the proper camcorder from a member of FBC-Ventura, and the offer of a friend who has Adobe Premier 5.0(one the best soft wares for video editing) to use his computer for the whole process. (Even at that, it necessitated nearly two days of solving his hard-drive space problems.) We trust that the remaining editing and sound transfer and copy problems can all be solved with less rigmarole. THANKS for your thoughts and prayers for all involved in this process.
The miracles continue. Yesterday two young men voluntarily helped fix Lynn's flat tire, asking nothing in return. "Counseling" sessions at the Office Depot Copying Counter have occurred as people are struck by the photos that she is enlarging.
It is great to be able to worship and communicate in our home language. We are struck by the amount of choices in every avenue of life here. Part of the simplicity of our lives in Kikongo was that the list of options was very short in the way of clothing, home furnishing, health-care, travel, and entertainment. Yet there was never a dull moment for there were all the richness of relationships, environment and ministries.
Are we yearning to go back?Are we being called to go back or togo to a new area in the same country? Are we making a difference for God? Can we be used more effectively elsewhere? These and many more questions we will be considering as we spend this year of evaluation and speaking in the States.
We have been making doctor and dental appointments, have a debriefing interview with our Area Director and others at International Ministries in October. As with all other first time returnees, we will be sent to the Center for Ministry for Assessment and Counseling. So we will be poked and prodded, but we know that many excellent insights will be provided as we interact with you this year.
Thank you for your love and prayers.
Shalom, Lynn and Virgil
P.S.If you wish for us to come share at your church or organization please contact the Minister of Mission Support in your region. If you are uncertain who your Regional Minister is you may find out by clicking here: http://www.abcusamissions.org/contact/ministers.cfm