We've had a whirlwind couple of weeks across the country. We went from Texas to Missouri to Illinois - culminating in a weeklong trip to Wisconsin. Over 3,000 miles traveled altogether! Abigail (2 and a half) and Elisabeth (4 months) did great in the car! It's a miracle. They only got cranky when they were hungry . . . what else is new? April did a great job re-directing their attention. We created so many new memories as a family. Missions + family = possible.
Our first stop in Wisconsin was in Waupaca, just east of Madison. It was a pleasure to spend the weekend at Victory Church with Pastor Philip Thompson! He equipped us with many practical tools that we can take to the mission field. He treated us like family. It's great to see what God is doing in Waupaca! Philip has a gift for connecting with other churches. He even set up appointments for us to speak at two Lutheran churches! We were very impressed with the overall church culture at Victory Church. You can tell they love missionaries and have a genuine spirit!
The next stop was Shell Lake, Wisconsin with Pastor Virgil Amundson. What a dynamic week! The Shell Lake Missions Conference runs Sunday - Wednesday. This conference includes morning and evening sessions. This was our first time to attend. We looked forward to this one because of the unique missions heritage they have. Their missions conference came about with the help of John Bell, the pastor of Destiny (Revival Temple), our home church. Shell Lake Full Gospel is having a big impact on Wisconsin and the world. The entire church made us feel welcomed and loved. Their church is a multi-generational endeavor, looking boldly to the future. It was a dynamic, faith-building atmosphere.
It was our pleasure to be able to connect with so many different missionaries from around the world. We enjoyed hearing their stories and the great harvest that God is bringing in. The church is advancing and going where it's never gone before.
There were several great messages at the conference. Here are a few:
"There has to be a spark!" - Ron Bishop
"There are those who think they are having an impact and than those who actually do. You have to take a risk." - Kingsley Armstrong
"The relationship is more important than the resource." - Russ Frase
"We are on a time limitation and we want to send the best." - Kingsley Armstrong
On the drive up to Wisconsin, there were times we thought - what are we doing? Are we crazy? By the time we came home, it was affirmed again. All of this crazy traveling is for one reason . . . so that the world would know. In XuZhou where we'll be ministering, there are 10 million people. Most of them have never heard the name of Jesus. As we drove unending miles across our beautiful country, we couldn't stop talking about these two Wisconsin churches that are changing the world.