We have been blessed so much. I’d like to share a few of the stories with you on how we have been touched by churches, stuff pastors and friends throughout these last weeks.

A couple of weeks ago we spent a weekend in Tennessee for the Tri-Cities Missions Convention, viagra which I must take a moment to brag on. The Tri-Cities section had a 100% participation – all of the churches in the section took part in the convention where we were able to share our burden for Colombia with all of the pastors in a rally Saturday night and then on Sunday all of the missionaries were dispersed throughout the churches to minister. We had three services on Sunday – one in Spanish – and then a wonderful breakfast on Monday. We were so touched by the openness and kindness that all of the pastors showed us and their enormous hearts for missions.

The following weekend we packed up again and headed to Panama City, Florida. Again, we were blessed so unexpectedly. They put us in a beautiful hotel the night before our service. On Sunday we were able to share our heart for Colombia in both the English and the Spanish service. After the morning service they gave us information to go to a resort on Panama City Beach. They set up for us to stay for two nights! I failed to mention that Corey was on the road at least five days every week throughout September, so after going to Tennessee and then driving to Florida, we were running pretty close to empty! We spent Monday and Tuesday, just the four of us, taking time to enjoy a relaxing break. It had been three years since we had been on a trip where we just rested together as a family. We have been on trips with extended family or conferences in beautiful places, but it’s been three years since the four of us could take a vacation on our own. We savored every moment of it!

The rest of October has been going so wonderfully. In one service, God’s perfect timing put us in a church the week their pastor was sick and unable to preach. In another, we were able to visit Pastor Dennis and Miss Sue’s church (the Pastors who originally sent us out as missionaries) where it was not only a wonderful blessing to be with them but also to watch as our darling Rachel, one of our former youth, led the adults with her amazing gifts! It’s so cool to see our “kids” all grown up and in ministry.
So much more has happened and I could write a book with all that we’ve seen and our experiences, but one more that stands out was a visit we had just this last Sunday. We were scheduled for an evening service at a church we haven’t visited before. We have mutual friends with the pastor, but we didn’t know much more about the church. That’s common, but I’ll be honest here. One of the hurdles of itineration is that we spend a lot of time in the pulpit preaching and teaching and giving our all to be a blessing to the people we visit, but there are times when we do not do enough to refill our own spirits. We have devotions in our house every morning before we start our day where we all read our own devotional or study and then we come together for prayer, but sometimes that’s not enough to sustain our spirits after all of the traveling, school, meetings, etc. that go on.
When we walked through the doors of the church I’d have to say we were spiritually tired, but we went in with our game faces on, ready to give whatever we had left. Our goal was to make it through service and crash and recover on Monday. Well, God was having none of that. Worship started – and they were an awesome group of worship leaders. They sang “How He Loves”, which happens to be one of my favorite worship songs right now – that whole story is for another blog, another time. As they sang, the Holy Spirit began to move through that church. There were probably 30 of us there and most of the people flooded the altar. At one point a man came forward and threw away his cigarettes, not because of a sermon or a call to do that, just because the Spirit had moved him to get rid of it. I found myself praising and tears falling down my cheeks. It was such a sweet and refreshing atmosphere.
The pastor called us forward. Churches pray over us often, but this was different. This time was not to pray over our ministry or support, etc. He gave us a specific word for the state of our spirits and the prayer was direct and intentional to restore us and refill what we had poured out. He said he sensed our heaviness and weariness and as he prayed I was so grateful that we were in a place where we could be real, give it all to God and let him refresh our exhausted spirits. It’s difficult to explain the whole experience in a blog, but that was such an unusual service where I felt the Lord tear off my “game face” and remind me to be real, that sometimes I need to be the one in the altar, not just the one praying for those who come forward. When it came time to share about Colombia I had a tough time keeping it together. God really rocked me that night, but I left that church different – and better – than when I had walked through the doors and that is one of the best blessings to receive!
~Tona