My time in the US is drawing to a close, and although I know I will miss quite a few people just relying on my recollection, I thought it might be cool to just share a list of how many people have been involved in making it a success, how many are involved with the mission that I was privileged enough to see, how many are just encouragers, friends, family that I got to see along the way.
It was a long trip...I calculate somewhere around 3,000 miles driven, plus probably 4,000 or more flown. This time though God blessed me with the tools to stay awake behind the wheel...no very close calls this year, so that indeed is a huge praise. Much ground traversed, many seeds sewn, and like most years, the long term results of which will probably take months or years to see blossom.
So, as best as I can remember on the fly (so give me some credit for just remembering who I am first off!), here they are. Enjoy, or just skip to the end and go "wow!" with me.
1. My Mom and Dad...and niece Abby. Nothing quite like having someone who is smiling long before you get there to pick you up at the airport and get you around.
2. Rick and Kay Wolford, Jamie Stuber, Doug Kelsey, Pat Barnes and everyone else that share in the cold running the FAME run...and Rick and Kay for letting me shower and lunch with them.
3. The whole load of elders, pastors, mission team members, spouses, and other missionaries that make spending the weekend at Center Pointe such a huge pleasure.
4. Everyone involved with Oaklandon CC youth group for listening, getting involved, and teaching me infiltration. Very cool.
5. The whole Wolford gang again...pink salad rocks!
6. Oaklandon Missions team...for caring enough to really partner, to want to know what God is doing, and pray for all of us.
7. My mom...for making chili
8. Everyone at the FCO conference...for treating me better than I deserve.
9. Whomever put on the Indy Monumental marathon. It was awesome!
10. My Grandpa, for leaving a testimony for Christ that lives in so many.
11. The nursing students at KCU....those who I got to meet in Honduras in June and again there, and those just met that will come in 2009
12. Jim Smelser...always running and gunning, giving me pause to thank God for him and the work at MP, and as well to stop and relax everyone once in a while.
13. The Lawsons...picking me up and getting me around Jacksonville to see several things and learn several things I did not have before.
14. Mrs. Marks, the Hamiltons, the Bowmans, and Mrs. Good for a stuffing good time...and learning more about people's changing habits in moving/parked vehicles than I ever thought I would know.
15. Everyone at Christ's Church that made me feel welcome and part of the family...as we are!...seeing we are all pieces in a much bigger puzzle.
16. Everyone at the Marks house...football and lasagna plus more interesting conversation than I should have been allowed to hear? Very interesting.
17. Ben and others at SWOB (as well as Meg Ryan) for their interest and planning for next year's trip...and showing me there really are several universities in Jax
18. Mark and Susan...going above and beyond to invest in God's work and us personally...and specifically me by giving me a world of time and friendship while in the ATL airport.
19. Tony and the others at FCO in Bloomington for actually seeming interested in God's story moving in our lives.
20. Brad for driving all over Southern Indiana with me...for great and caring advice, questions, for sharing his insights, intelligence and his time, which is in short supply (the time thing, not the intelligence and to Gail for allowing me to borrow him.
21. The folks at BHRP who showed us how they have gotten all that corn to us, how much time and effort it actually takes.
22. Judy for sharing more about CHE, and how we need to push ahead to get things started.
23. SOCC....the men's group for giving me further evidence on my depravity, to the missions team for inquiring and helping us in so many ways, and the staff for just showing how much they care.
24. Denny and Carolyn for such unique insights, advice, time, investment, thought, caring, and too much more to list...like making me feel smart because I knew how to install Skype.
25. Doug and Kerry...an example to follow, and for just good times of understanding.
26. Dave for lunch...and interest in the work and how to help.
27. Laura and Megan...for showing me that french toast is best done elsewhere, that I could channel Reid Duffy when called upon, and that some people sleep even less than I do.
28. Dr. Angela for healing my ailing teeth and doing it so incredibly well!
29. Clint and Rob for a meeting of minds and philosophy on how we can partner
30. Steve Zach and Kevin...for a relaxing lunch at Applebee's...oops, I mean Olive Garden. Applebee's in Castleton are rare.
31. Everyone at Hazel Dell for understanding my tardiness....structural engineering really is riveting when it involves Church construction! (one pun, one semi pun, not bad eh?)
32. Joel and my Dad, for sharing in the Big Ugly experience. A relaxing time when I needed it.
33. Brian for letting me know he was praying for me while I soplé pedacitos (slang for throw up) in Tulsa
34. The missionary convention...for putting together such an opportunity to see, experience, fellowship with, learn from, and grow through people I usually do not get to see much otherwise.
35. Marty and Leah for caring, for supper, for sharing.
36. CIY, for introducing me to an over 21 eating public house I definitely would not have experienced otherwise!
37. Mark, Susan and Rick for tempting me with some very interesting looking burgers.
38. Doug for being a great Spades partner and fully devoted to the cause, Nick and Justin for their enthusiasm and fellowship...if not their ability to emerge triumphant.
39. Our board of directors, for all they do to help the work continue to mature, grow, and be better organized....it is a big job they take seriously.
40. Hazel Dell again...for blessing me to be one guy at a pitch in meal for 1000 or so. What a great way to eat Thanksgiving styles I would never get to see otherwise, plus more Colts jerseys per capita than any other Church I have met.
41. Tom and Carol for their continued love and support of Honduras, the Church, and us.
42. Chad and Amy for hosting a Thanksgiving meal before I head off.
43. Lynn for putting me up in Houston on my way back.
44. My wife and kids for keeping in touch during their busy lives lo these many days.