Our last month here in the States is jam-packed with meetings, especially missions conferences. I must admit we have been quite spoiled with the treatment we have received! Being good Baptists, our churches have fed us wonderful meals, of course. (We wonder if they are trying to fatten us up to feed us to the natives?) One extra special treat for Amy was when Grace Baptist in Wilmington, North Carolina took all the ladies out for a manicure and pedicure.
For the past two missions conferences the churches have had a Christian school (Grace in Wilmington and Oakwood in Anderson), so we have enjoyed speaking in the classes there – up to 6 classes a day! One time James went straight from a lesson for 12th grade Bible to K-4 Bible. Amy spoke to 10th and 11th grade girls. Our children attended classes at both schools and made sweet friends.
Oakwood Baptist Church in Anderson, South Carolina, one of our supporting churches, holds a special place in our hearts because of the special memories and friends we have from there. The first time we went to Oakwood was for their missions conference in 2004. Our daughter, Lauren, trusted in Christ as her Savior during that week one night back at the hotel. Every time she remembers her spiritual birthday she thinks of Oakwood! The next time we visited was July 2004. We got to participate in the special 4th of July festivities that day and Jaden made his very first home run.
We are now in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, the area where we went to language school in 2004-2005. Even though language school was grueling, God gave us a haven in our church. The English church (Faith Baptist in Palmhurst) took us on for support at that time, so we reported back there on Wednesday. The Spanish church asked us to come back and be a part of their missions conference. James will be preaching in Spanish for all 5 services. This is a great way for us to end our furlough and get our minds warmed up to Spanish again. Pray for God to work in the hearts of the hermanos at Iglesia Bautista del Valle.