Ekstrands on the speaking trail in Iowa

This past weekend we had wonderful, encouraging interactions with new and old friends in NE and N central Iowa. We started with an overnight in West Union with friends from my days at Iowa State. Doug and I were on the same floor in the dorms in 1972-73! Does that date us or what?

Saturday we left West Union for Decorah where we had 8 specific interactions in 24 hours. First, lunch with about 8 church members followed by afternoon conversation was planned to be with Luther College students, but no one showed so we just talked with Steve about his interest in international mission and God’s call on our lives.  After a pizza supper we played the Congo Jeopardy by Ekstrand, game which we created, followed by other powerpoints and questions.  Sunday AM we spoke at both the 8am and 10h45 services and two Sunday School classes in between.  I also played in a baritone-trombone duet for offertory.  Practice for that was Saturday afternoon.  After the second service we were to a home for dinner and conversation with 8 others.  The topics in the conversations can range from the simple (what is the climate like, where do you get your water, what do you regularly eat, what is the church service like) to the harder, more profound such as:  what are the long-term visions for your ministry, how much is the local culture being influenced by the outside, the West,  or what ownership does the local population have for the community development initiatives?  Great stuff that indicates a keen interest in mission and in our ministries.

Sunday afternoon we drove 2 hours from Decorah to Mason City where we had two more evening presentations.  We shared about our ministries with the congregation followed by an being with the high school group where we were interviewed.  This morning we had more conversation with about 6 over breakfast at our host home.  Busy times indeed, but great times as well.  We feel loved, cared and prayed for.  Thank you (or we give a shout out) to each of our ministry partner churches.

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