This morning in church, we sang this song. And as I was standing there singing, my eyes filled with tears. I’m so glad that the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit understands our deepest groanings, because that’s what this felt like.
We learned the song specifically for our Bulgaria trip, at the request of the missionaries. It’s a beautiful, lyrically rich song. When we were singing it this morning, I think I got a minuscule glimpse of what missionaries experience every day. I longed to be back in Europe with our brothers and sisters in Christ who serve with ABWE, and at the same time I was so thankful for our church family who is so precious to us and whom we get to serve with consistently. It would have been perfect if all the conference attendees could have been there with us this morning in the sanctuary of FHBC. Then I would have just been crying from sheer happiness.
It’s hard to articulate all the things we experienced and the lessons we learned from our time overseas last month. It was different than our trip to Greece in a number of ways. The most noticeable thing to me was that this time it felt like we were having family reunion instead of the formality of our last trip. We were returning to many of the same people we connected with last time, and yes, some new faces, too. It was more comfortable, if you will.
Another difference for me personally was that the anxiety and fear of traveling away from my children was gone. Absent. And I gleefully attribute that to God’s grace and the prayers of you, my friends and family.
It was a busy trip, with much time spent in sessions, playing worship music, rehearsing, and spending quality time with the missionaries and their kids. It was definitely time well spent.
On the last leg of our long journey TO Bulgaria, we met up with a couple of the missionary families. When asked what they were most hoping to get out of the conference, one of them answered, “I’m really looking forward to worshiping in English.” And this was articulated again and again by missionaries at the conference. They poured out their gratitude to us for providing the opportunity for them to worship together in English. After months and years of worshiping in other languages, they were so thrilled to be able to worship in their native tongue.
They thanked us over and over, and yet we were the ones who were so incredibly blessed by the journey. I wish you could have been there to experience it, but I guess videos and pictures will have to suffice.
First, here we are doing our job…Playing music in the conference room during a session.
One morning, all of us ladies gathered on the beach, overlooking the Black Sea to hear a short devotional and pray together. What a refreshing, sweet time! Kathy and I were able to spend some time praying with a missionary about a specific prayer request she had. What a privilege!
The speaker at that event was Nadine Hennesey, a woman with quite a story. Her husband died at the age of 26, 11 months after their wedding, when she was pregnant with their first child. She went on to be a full-time missionary to the people of Kosovo. Her story is inspiring, and you can read about it here. I have read through this book already and would recommend it!
One day we were able to accompany the youth on a boat trip on the Black Sea. The weather was beautiful and the company was great! At the furthest point from the resort, we dropped anchor and were able to jump off the boat into the sea (doing our best to avoid the big jellyfish that were swimming around the boat).
And a video of the jumping…
A wholehearted THANK YOU to all of you for your prayers and financial contributions. Not only did your support impact our lives and the life of our church, but it impacted Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean region as we built into the lives of the people who serve there every day! THANK YOU!