September 25, 2012
No doubt we all grew up in different places, under different sets of circumstances, and subsequently we have different memories of childhood. For example, I don’t remember vacations being a big part of my younger years. Oh sure, there were a few, but certainly not any sort of tradition like so many families have now. I don’t remember any other families in my neighborhood taking vacations either. I do recall one summer my best friend Tom (hey Tom if you’re reading this I hope I get it right!) and his family going to New York to visit family. I think they stopped at Niagara Falls on the way. That might be the most “glamorous” vacation I remember anyone taking. I thought if I could ever go to Niagara Falls it would be the greatest moment in my life… Been there, done that… it was fine.
After Ellen and I got married while I was in the Navy she asked me on one occasion if we were going to take vacation. I confusedly asked her “Why?” She patiently explained to me that it was something that many normal people did. When I got out of the service I sold back to the Navy 2 years of vacation that I never used. Again, it just wasn’t part of my orientation. I’m pretty content with simple things. Truth be told, I’m just a meat and potatoes sort of guy. Grilled hot dogs are way more “exotic” than boiled ones. I tried caviar once…. didn’t like it.
So, the fact that I am going to climb onto a plane next Tuesday morning and fly to Tanzania, and then India, and lastly Thailand during the month of October… well… that just aint me… if you know what I mean. I know, some of you reading this are world travelers and you may not understand my… concern. Frankly, a trip to York, PA or Virginia is an ambitious journey for me. Crossing the Monongahela River is a regular part of my life, but that’s about as far as I feel comfortable going.
The upside of this journey is getting to see some people that I deeply, deeply admire; missionaries that we are fortunate enough to support from our church. I am grateful to God for bringing the Harrars (Tanzania), Clement (India) and the Barners (Thailand) into my life. I have no idea what my time with them will be like but I know they will show me “streets in the Kingdom” that I have not yet seen. Some have expressed concern over my choice to go out of the country when things are in such an uproar across the globe. I trust this is God’s timing and not mine. This trip has been planned since the beginning of 2012…
Your prayers for this time away will be greatly appreciated. It is in fact the last month of my four month sabbatical… a bit delayed as it took this long to coordinate with the folks I am visiting. I will be writing updates as time and computer access allows.