We love it when we are invited to speak at churches where you walk in the door and know from the first greeting that they love missions! Yesterday we were overwhelmed with the generosity of one such church. All of the new missionaries were invited to visit Park Crest Assembly of God in Springfield. From the minute we got out of the car we were showered with love. We were greeted several times as we walked through the doors. They had set up an area of donuts and juice for all of us, troche which was especially a blessing since the cafeteria where we are staying is closed for the weekend.

We started off with all of the missionary families – 42 of us (families) – on stage as the 9am service started. Pastor Ted, illness the senior pastor, stuff told the congregation that we were all new missionaries and that they were excited to bless us. During the meet and greet time each of us was assigned to a Sunday School class where we could share our missions story. Corey and I were assigned to the Junior High class. Let me tell you, they were a great group of kids! They listened intently while we and two other missionary families shared about our countries. They asked questions and were very respectful. We were impressed with our group!

At the beginning of the second service we were seated in the balcony and enjoyed praise and worship and a short message from the pastor. When he was finished we were all paraded into the sanctuary. As you can see in the picture above, they had a lot in store for us! Every missionary was given a gift! They drew names for every gift and there were some incredible ones in there! There were gift certificates, luggage, telephones, digital cameras, video cameras, a projector, a monitor, printer, netbooks, a full laptop…lots of incredible gifts! Every child also received a gift but a few won bonus prizes – Nintendo DS systems! This congregation had put together amazing gifts for every family and child! It was incredible! I know I keep repeating myself, but this is something I have never seen anywhere else and we were blown away! Along with the gifts, every family was given a very nice display banner with our names on it that we will be able to use all along the way as we fundraise.
After the service we were treated to a fabulous lunch. It wasn’t just the tangible things that were such a blessing – it was the love that every person we met poured over us. Thank you, Park Crest, for your heart for missions and your incredible generosity. We will never forget what you did for all of us!

~Tona