We left this morning from Elkhart, IN, and made our way to Chicago, IL. Our drive today was supposed to be around 8 hours, so we decided to stop in Chicago area. Although we’ve been there many times, we weren’t sure what would be along the path that we would be driving. So, we decided to see “what comes our way.” We saw the sign for Chinatown, so we decided to stop and have lunch there (we love authentic Chinese food – especially dim sum!).
Walking through Chinatown in Chicago was very interesting. It seemed as if the street that we walked through was planned as an amusement park (much like the Old Country at Busch Gardens in Virginia). The shops and restaurants were much like a street out of China – very few “foreigners” (by this I mean anyone who is not a Chinese) were on the street, crowded with people and stores’ wears (especially fruits and vegetables) spilled out to the sidewalk, the smell, and even a group of Falungong members peacefully protesting, worshipping, meditating – or whatever it is that they do- and old men sitting around smoking cigarettes and looking intently at air in their squatty positions. It almost felt as if I was on a trip to China to visit with one of our workers – except this was in the U.S. J
One of the most enjoyable part of my ministry is visiting our missionaries. More than strategizing, more than feeding them at retreats, more than sending them an encouraging e-mail, or anything else, what our workers appreciate the most is a visit to their location. Since moving to Canada, I’ve been able to visit Canadian missionaries in several locations. The times of sharing, eating, and praying together have been priceless. These workers are often in places where they are not welcomed, and they have left their loved ones behind. They are some of the most isolated people in the world. Some have found virtual communities through social media, but a real live visit doesn’t even begin to compare to daily doses of facebook stalking.
Some of our friends have been interested in participating in a short-term missions trip that involve their whole family. This could be one of those things that a family can do together – visiting missionaries that they support in their location of ministry. I remember traveling through Turkey with a pastor friend of mine. At the airport, on our way back, he said to me, “You know, I really don’t like to travel. But this has been good for me. Our missionaries need pastoral care. And they have ministered to me. I think I’ll fight my disdain for travel and visit our missionaries regularly.”
What are some of the ways that you can think of to encourage those who are serving in difficult places?
Saturday, 6 July – Austin, MN
Distance Traveled: Approx. 510 miles (820 KM)
States Passed Through: Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota