Since we needed to come to the states in August to take Winter to college, Big D and I decided to come a month early. Our plans included a conference, David learning to driving and of course time with family and friends. We began our journey at the end of June and spent five days in the Emirates with friends. It was a restful time if you don’t count the fireworks going off late at night due to Ramadan. On July 5th, we landed in DC and then flew on to Nashville to begin our time here in the states. After recovering a bit from jet lag and getting in our doctor and dentist visits, we headed to Indiana for a conference for people with a heart for Afghanistan.
The conference was encouraging yet hard. The theme was hope, and the messages were just what I needed to hear especially the speaker on the last day. HIs talk was about how there is still hope. God is still working. It is just a matter of time. For him, the dam is ready to burst. Since he is still in Kabul, it was especially interesting to hear his perspective. At the conference, I was able see former students and people who had worked in in Kabul but are no longer there. David had a great time reconnecting with old friends from his youth group. Some of the students shared how God had used their time in Kabul to bring them close to God. It was an encouragement to see them walking faithfully with God in their new locations.
One of my favorite parts of the conference was hearing about how people are reaching out to Afghans all over the world. Some are involved in Afghanistan. Others are involved with refugees in Europe or even here in America. Still others are using radio and TV as a medium to reach those who are seeking. It was good to hear testimonies of how God is working.
The conference was also hard. At times, it was awkward being in the minority of those who are still in Kabul. Also I was dealing with a bad cold which was not fun. Even in the hard, I found that God was there to bring about some healing in me as He put a lady in my path that was a good listener and debriefer. Overall, the conference was just what I needed.
After the conference, Big D and I headed to Illinois for some time with my sister and her family. We enjoyed getting to see my nephew win his all star game and his home run derby. My sister and I had a fun day of shopping. I enjoyed the freedom of going on walks or runs in the morning sometimes alone and sometimes with one of my nieces. Uncle Scott even took Big D out for a driving lesson.
Our next stop was Iowa and my mom’s house. In Iowa, we enjoyed playing tennis, helping mom mow, David getting lots of driving practice, and playing scrabble. Mom was a gracious host feeding us well from her garden and letting David chauffeur us around. One day, I met a former Afghan student in Des Moines for lunch. He is being sponsored by a family near Ames and hoping to start at ISU in the fall as an engineering major. Since he was one of my AP Calculus students, I was pleased to see that he is using what he had learned in my class. At the community college where he started, he had top scores in his Calculus II and III. I smiled as he shared how he loved Iowa and his host family. As we talked, I mentioned how God seemed to be watching out for him, and he agreed. My prayer is that these next few years, God will continue to put people in his life that will point him in the way of the cross. God’s work is not finished yet.
This week we are in Texas. It has been great to get caught up with friends. I have enjoyed long walks with friends and have probably eaten out way too much. One day, we drove to Tyler to visit another former Afghan student who is at a boarding school there. It was good to meet her host family and see her thriving at her new school even though she misses her family a lot. This school is an extra blessing to her since our international school closed in Kabul. This would have left her without another option in country. Pray for her that she will have another good year at her school and that her faith with continue to grow.
Tomorrow we head towards Tennessee where we will meet up with Noel and Winter. Pray for Noel as he travels on August 5th and 6th. It has been a long summer for him in Kabul as we are still waiting for written flight permissions. Pray that he will get the rest he needs in his time here as we get Winter settled at Liberty and then take David to Germany. For both Noel and I, this summer has been a season of seeking the Lord and growing deeper in our faith. It has also reminded me of our days dating long distance when we use to talk every day on the telephone. This time we talk every day using Skype.