Summer is usually thought of as a time for vacations. The kids are out of school so parents take them on family trips, the warmer weather invites people to spend more time outside, and families get together for reunions. For us as teachers it is an opportunity for a change of routine and to charge our “batteries.”
What do missionaries do? Often times summer provides more ministry opportunities like running youth and family camps, outdoor evangelistic meetings or sport events, construction projects to help build churches, and yes, taking vacations.
Sometimes those in ministry have a hard time justifying that it is ok to take a vacation-I do. But the Lord blessed us with a unique opportunity to be with our own MKs combined with chances to do church presentations and ministry updates about Ulan-Ude.
The Lord provided an awesome opportunity for us to take a cruise with our son whom we hadn’t seen for 2 years. Six years ago he enlisted with the Navy which limited our communication and visits severely. This year he finishes his active duty and will be transitioning back to civilian life. The ship, U.S.S. Howard that he had been deployed on for the last 7 months invited a limited number of family members of the sailors to live and experience life at sea for a week. Jonathan worked hard to make sure we had our applications in early for consideration. He wasn’t able to tell us until last minute exact details so we flew to the U.S. first to spend time with our daughters and to begin visiting our ministry partners.
Shortly after arriving in Indiana, Lisa received an unwanted surprise, an infected tooth. Not having been home for a while and not planning to be home for long made getting her help a challenge. We managed to get her in to see the last dentist we had used, he gave a prescription for antibiotics but the problem remained. We then needed to find more urgent care as the pain was unmanageable for Lisa, who never complains about pain. The second dentist suggested a root canal or extraction of the tooth but with the infection this wasn’t possible. With relief still out of sight, we went to church with Lisa’s parents planning to present our ministry during the service. Lisa’s pain made it a hard decision what to do , the pastor was understanding and rearranged the order of service to allow Art to share right away. With the stress of the tooth drama unfolding, Art shared of our work with MK’s in the predominately Buddhist area of Russia. After the meeting, we still sought help but still had to wait. We traveled back to northern Indiana and finally found a dentist who could begin the root canal procedure and offer relief.
Just a day after the procedure, we began a trip to Minnesota to visit our new friends and their families from the work team that we had met last summer in western Russia. Indiana friends allowed us to use their Cadillac for a smooth ride. However, about three hours down the road, the car began to vibrate; and we thought the tires might have a problem. It turned out to be a rubber flange which we took care of quickly.
A brief stop on the way allowed us a visit with missionary friends we met while in Ukraine. They are awaiting the arrival of their sixth child and are in the States for a while during the unrest in Ukraine. We had an enjoyable evening and morning with them before continuing to Minn.
Arriving in Minnesota, we had a delightful time reuniting with Pete and meeting his family for the first time. Pete and Trish hosted us and organized an open house for us to have personal time to connect with most of the construction team. We were greatly encouraged from the time.
Then quickly back to Indianapolis to fly to our Navy adventure. Details, yet to come.