Tomorrow morning I will drive to Little Rock and start the very long trip back to our home and ministry in Togo. This will be my first and hopefully last trip with five legs to the flight, Little Rock to Atlanta, Atlanta to JFK, JFK to Brussels, Brussels to Ouagadougou and then Ouagadougou to Lomé. I will get to the Little Rock airport Monday morning and arrive at the Lomé airport Tuesday night, where I will get a night’s rest before driving all day Wednesday to get to our home in northern Togo.
Heidi and the girls will stay an extra two weeks with grandma and grandpa here in Hot Springs, AR before embarking on their own long and exciting trip back to Togo as Heidi flies back with Abby, Annabelle and Emma on her own! I tried to convince her that my flight would be more difficult than hers as I will be all alone with nothing to do but read on my kindle and she will have all the fun with a 7-year-old, 2-year-old and a 5-month-old flying around the world!
These past 6.5 months have been such a great time for our family as we have enjoyed so much the opportunities to spend quality time with family and friends and report back to many of our partnering churches. So many people have been incredibly kind to us and we appreciate all of the love and encouragement that we have received during our time back in the States.
Now the excitement builds as I fly into Togo on New Year’s Day and get started on what will surely be our busiest year in ministry yet! I look forward to explaining in future updates how the Lord has been working in ways that we could not have imagined and why we have such big expectations for 2013!
This past weekend we finished reporting back to our last supporting church for furlough, and we are really getting excited to return to Togo at the end of the year! We have been busy getting shots, international drivers permits, a visa and ticket for Emma and so many other little things as our time stateside winds down. One of the fun things that was still on my “bucket list” was to take Abby to Epcot! We had a great time together and always enjoy our daddy-daughter dates, especially at Disney.
Epcot is divided into two parts, Future World which has several exciting rides and the World Showcase where they give you a glimpse into the cultures of eleven different countries. When we visited the Chinese section of the park we saw the “terracotta army,” and I told Abby that these soldiers were buried with the first emperor of China with the purpose of protecting him in the afterlife. I explained to her that sadly those people did not know the one true God and what His Word teaches us about what happens after someone dies. She did not say much at the time, but she must have been thinking about that as we moved on to another part of the pavilion where a nice Chinese lady introduced a short film that we watched about her country.
After we left the Chinese section of the park and started to the next country, Abby asked me a pointed question. She first asked if I thought that nice, Chinese lady knew the one true God, or if she followed the tradition of the first emperor. When I told her that I was not sure, she asked if we were just going to watch the film about China and leave without telling her about the one true God and how He alone can save her from her sins.
I was both glad to hear her concern for a complete stranger’s potential ignorance of the gospel and convicted that I did not have that thought first! Here I was thinking about enjoying this exciting theme park with my 7-year-old daughter and here she was thinking about whether the nice Chinese lady knew Jesus or not! Wow! I travel thousands of miles with a burden that people in the bush of Togo hear the gospel, and yet sometimes I walk right past people in the States without the thought crossing my mind of whether they have clearly heard the good news before. May God burden me more for all people, everywhere and may my children grow up to love the Lord and care for others like that too.