Thursday, June 18, 2009

Deputation on WaPac

Ok, ok. For a guy who started out the year resolving to blog every day, I am now officially way behind. So first I'll revise the resolution. I resolve to blog 6 days a week while I'm in PNG, and to blog whenever I feel like it when I'm not in PNG.

There. Satisfied?

Well, today I feel like starting to get caught up. We had a great time touring on the Washington Pacific (often called the "WaPac" district), which is our home district.

We started out at the Living Hope church in Narmandy Park. Pastor Pat Lyons and the congregation welcomed us for the second time. My memories of both this and our previous visit are dominated by food. We had a great pot luck lunch after the service. But I also remember the big mysterious object on the platform covered with a big piece of cloth. All through the service I wondered what it was. At the close of the service Pastor Pat called us up, and asked us to uncover what turned out to be a big stack of boxes of medical supplies that were on their way to Kudjip!

The evening service that Sunday was at Gig Harbor. Our dear friends and missionary mentors, Ted and Mima Hughes are members there, and Ted is NMI president! In addition, the pastor, Steve Gates was our interim pastor at Marysville in the painful months following the death of our long-term pastor, Perry Winkle. Steve's gentle ministry to us was a great help along the road to healing for us all.

On Wednesday of that week we were at the Hillcrest church in Vancouver. Pastor Tim and Pam Westerburg were at NNC (yes, it was still NNC in those days) when we were. They were previously at Mount Vernon, near Marysville during which time Tim conducted most unusual wedding I have ever witnesses (and I was a legal witness, too). But that's a story for another time. We were surprised by a visit from my Aunt Laura McVicker (my dad's youngest sister) and cousin Cindy who attended the service.

Thursday evening was at the Stanwood/Camano church. The pastor of this group is Rev. Dixie Nash, who was part of the staff at Marysville years ago. We had a delightful evening with this group, including some of the best grilled salmon one could ever hope to eat anywhere! Attending was Dr. Jerry Rusher, who has practiced in Arlington, and who has served many years as a missionary in Haiti.

Friday evening we were at the Big Lake church. Oddly enough, it is near a large lake. Pastor Dennis Spinnie was once the youth pastor to Dr. Stephanie Doenges, our colleague in Kudjip.

Sunday morning we spoke at Everett First church. This was our second time here, as well as our second time with pastor Mike Knapp, although that was at a different church. Our presentation was translated into Spanish as we spoke. It was fun to have the bi-cultural touch with the Everett Hispanic congregation joining us. Unfortunately, we forgot to take a picture!

The following Tuesday found us at Centralia. After a baked potato supper, we spoke to a crowd that included af former PNG missionary (served with Wycliffe many years ago) 2 previous volunteer doctors (Keith and Carl Birchard) and future PNG missionaries Rosie and Dave Kerr. Pator Rick Ryding is a former missionary, and he along with his wife were part of the staff at missionary candidate assessment when we went through.

Wednesday enjoyed fairly clear weather as we drove to Randle, near Mount Raineer, and we got there early enough in the afternoon to have a cup of coffee with Pastor Fred Frisbie, who was Children's Pastor at Marysville during part of our time there, including when Sam was young enough to be in the children's ministry. The service in Randle set some new records. It was the fourth service for us at Randal, and the fourth service with Pastor Fred, although the first three of those were at Ballard.

I love the sign that can be seen above the door as you leave the Randale church building.

The two-week tour climaxed at Puyallap. (For you non-Washingtonians, this is pronounced "pew-el-ap"--don't try to figure it out, just believe me.) A Work and Witness team from this congregation were with us in Kudjip last year, so it was great to see many of those folks. The two services were among the largest crowds we have ever spoken to, but they were so friendly and attentive that we weren't intimidated at all. A small group of the people gathered with us after the second service to pray about some of the challenges we are facing with our facilities at Kudjip. Pastor Dave Rodes was most gracious and supportive. The worship with this body was a real blessing. In the photo are Jeff Thompson, who along with his son Zach were on that WW team. They along with the rest of their family are in the photo, as well as Pastor Rodes and my old college friend Randy Hayes.