14 August 2018

2018 Home-stay - Ripe for Harvest conference

Ripe for Harvest, my missions-sending agency, holds a conference every few years. This one was held at the beautiful Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove in Asheville, North Carolina. It was wonderful to see everyone again and to meet some new folks as well.

Yep, we were in the South, where folks love to sit on the porch in a rocking chair. We had a lovely view of the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Just a few quotes:

Tim Smith (founded RFH in 1979): 
There is nothing from me; only God receives the credit. We can only acknowledge him, because it's all from him and for him!

Earl Riefel (missionary in Sierra Leone, West Africa):
Walk in the center of God's will, because it's his church and his people and his ministry.

Jason Jimenez (founder of Stand Strong Ministries):
We aren't missionaries for the money, fame, or recognition, but we do missions because we love the Lord. Our ministry isn't about us or our initiatives, but rather it must evolve out of our intimacy with Christ and all the glory must go to him!

Our final session was in the beautiful Chatlos Memorial Chapel

We enjoyed some fun moments...

... and also some serious and challenging moments by Jason Jimenez, our keynote speaker.

We 3 headed out for a walk in the woods, however...
lots of poison ivy on the trails and the very real possibility of encountering a black bear convinced us to keep it short! 

I also created some moments of solitude, going on several hikes around the Cove (but staying on the roads). I really enjoyed these butterflies, as well as several sightings of deer and wild turkeys. I also walked a short distance off-campus to find a GeoCache.

I gave two workshops during the conference, both on the topic of self-care and the importance of maintaining balance in our lives. During each session, we had some good discussions, and concluded with an exercise of attempting to balance a few pebbles like these.

Pebbles from the beach in Jamaica

“To allow our self to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activity destroys our inner capacity for peace and the fruitfulness of our work.” ~ Thomas Merton (1915-1968), American writer and theologian

- - - - - -

I always find these conferences to be very valuable. It's wonderful to come together from all parts of the world and worship our God together in song. The various messages are encouraging and simultaneously quite challenging. These gatherings are a wonderful time to reflect on God's calling on our lives and to re-commit to obey and follow it in whatever capacity God has gifted us.

“Some wish to live within the sound of church and chapel bell.
I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell!”
~ C.T. Studd (1860-1931)
missionary in China, India, and various parts of Africa

11 August 2018

2018 Home-stay - Jamaica: venturing out for a few walks

A rainbow in the clouds! / June 20, 5:50am

Sunrise at Yalla Salt Pond, just a short distance from the Caribbean Sea / June 21, 5:55am

Hibiscus stamen, beauty I also admire often in Kenya

Lovely tree, on my way to get a few groceries

10 August 2018

2018 Home-stay - Jamaica: hanging out with family

Good times swimming in the ocean, fighting the rough waves! 

We all enjoyed a special Fathers Day meal!

Antonio and Maxwell

Mia, Aaliyah, and Lincoln

Creighton and Cadence 

There is something so fascinating, mesmerizing, and magical about ocean waves!

Shopping at the local grocery store

Making s'mores for my birthday!

The sun sets on another day

08 August 2018

2018 Home-stay - Jamaica: Zach and Allison's wedding

Allison was a beautiful bride and Zach, a handsome groom!
My daughters, two sons-in-law, and several of my grandchildren were there to witness the happy occasion. 

A candid shot with Zach and Lincoln during the rehearsal, the night before the wedding

A solemn yet joyful moment during the ocean-side, sunset ceremony

Lovely brides' attendants plus Cadence, the flower girl 

Charming and debonair groomsmen, sporting their matching shades

Maxwell and Creighton were the ring-bearers (and excellent tree-climbers)

Antonia, Mia, and Aaliyah

Naomi, me, Zach, and Jessica

A week after the wedding, I attended the delightful stateside reception in Georgia (hosted by Allison's parents, Bill and Cheryl).
I was pleased to meet and chat with several of their relatives that attended... and was keen to do some kayaking on the lake!

07 August 2018

2018 Home-stay - Jamaica: exploring the island

Several of us wedding guests traveled by bus (on a very narrow and very winding road) from Cerulean Bay Resort to Reach Falls

While at the falls, I also found and logged a GeoCache, near this Jack Fruit tree

After the swim, we headed farther north (on the same treacherous road) to enjoy chicken and pork at the famous Boston Jerk Grill

Freshly-made piƱa colada... coming right up!

Mike (from my old hometown, North Platte) and I enjoyed our drinks!

On a sweltering-HOT day, Victoria and I headed out to explore on foot

Typical view of the Caribbean Sea

And another beautiful view

We paused and chatted with these guys for a while

We also sat a spell at this nice spot - VIP Beach Lounge - enjoying the shade and a drink

A very wise saying indeed: "Failure is trying to please everybody."

WHAT is an 'international car wash'? HA!