It's 1:30 pm; Los Angeles time and we are going to land in Taipei soon for a layover on the way to Bangkok.The stewardess just announced the landing time, etc.She also said, "You should know that anyone in Taiwan found with drugs or small firearms will be sentenced to capital punishment.Welcome to Taipei."I wonder what they do to people caught with large firearms!
The last 2 months have been a whirlwind of preparation and activity.After my orientation and commissioning in Green Lake, WI, I enjoyed a vacation in Maine.
Once I returned to Cincinnati, I did a mountain of paperwork, got an International Driver's License, talked to ordination councils, purchased stuff for Thailand, worked on financial issues from Mom's estate, found a CPA to do my US taxes, had a yard sale, shipped 39 boxes to Thailand, packed my house into a 10 by 15 foot storage unit, sold my car, and said many tearful goodbyes.I only made it through thanks to SO many friends who helped me do all of these things.Thank God for our family of faith.
I also had the opportunity to meet lots of fascinating American Baptists at conferences, retreats, minister's associations and churches where I spoke and preached.I spent the last two weeks in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, building new friendships with American Baptists from the Pacific Southwest region.I was encouraged to see that the Spirit of God really is active in the Church from Maine to Ohio to Southern California.I saw evidence that God is growing congregations, transforming peoples' lives and raising up people with a heart for missions, both locally and internationally.
My ordination weekend was a time I will treasure for the rest of my life.I was ordained on Saturday, October 5.David Wood and Bill Cutler came all the way from Maine.David preached a powerful message. And Bill placed a stole on my shoulders that he had purchased for me on a missions trip to Guatemala some years ago, before any of us knew how appropriate that would be.Jane Gibbons and Dan Taylor were there as official representatives from Ohio.Jane did questions for the candidate and Dan did a charge to the church.Donna and David Anderson drove all the way from Valley Forge, PA to surprise me, so I roped Donna into doing the invocation. We also took an offering for International Ministries.My godparents came up from Florida, and my dear friend, Myra came from California.My Cincinnati pastor, David Hansen, sang a song that a friend had sung for him at his ordination and he did a charge to the candidate that was very meaningful.My Dad and my brother, Chip were able to be there from Pennsylvania.Also, my niece/goddaughter, Julie came from New Jersey.
Friends from Cincinnati led music and threw an elaborate reception afterward.At the end of the service, pastors, deacons and the Sabbath House team from the church came up to do the laying on of hands.It turned into quite a celebration for all that God has done!How incredible to think that God called me into ministry 15 years ago, in high school.And we were all there to testify to the truth that nothing can get in the way of God fulfilling His promises!
On Sunday, God gave us all an extra special gift.I had the honor of performing my first baptism: the baptism of my own father, who recently made a new confession of faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.I could never have asked for a better ordination gift from God!Praise Him that He graciously blesses us more than we could ever ask or imagine!
Please keep me in your prayers as I step off the plane into a new country and a new language.I am a little nervous, but I look forward to all that God is going to do with me in Thailand!
Your Sister in Christ,