Happy Thanksgiving!

GR Gathering

First Evangelical Covenant Church in Grand Rapids, MI during a recent missions festival with colleagues Jay & Ellen Haworth as well as Shunichi & Masako Miyamoto. The Miyamotos are serving as missionaries to Japanese in the greater Detroit area and beyond through a ministry called NAJO (North American Japan Outreach). Lots of laughter and memories in both languages!

In the last prayer bulletin, I (Andrea) offered a suggestion of a way to pray using the body to give our concerns to God.  Thanks to those of you who noticed and wrote back. Not all prayer is quiet or contemplative-many of you no doubt have had experiences like mine below….. prayer under pressure?

I’m driving toward O’Hare on my way home after a great 10 days connecting with churches and friends in Michigan and Illinois. Actually, I am trying to turn in the rental car.  I take an exit off of I-290; as I curve down the off ramp, I see the exit sign I really wanted ½ mile beyond…too late to go back. Soon I’m driving through Schiller Park, but not seeing Mannheim Road. Sigh. I begin to panic because I’ve still got to fill up with gas, find the rental return, catch the shuttle for the airport, check a bag, and board my flight in the remaining hour. I’m starting to stress because the morning traffic was slower than expected. Jesus Christ, Son of David, have mercy on me, a sinner. Please help me. I repeat truth: Even if I miss my plane, I’ll still get home, just later. Even if I dent the car distractedly looking for road signs, it’s not the end of the world. Even if…even then, your right hand will guide me. Finally after a few more criss-cross Battleship-strategy attempts to find the street, I stop to ask at a gas mart:

Me: Excuse me…could you tell me where Mannheim Road is?                                 Cashier: Nope.                                                                                                                Me: Hmmm. I know it’s around here somewhere. Do you have a map I could look at or buy?                                                                                                                               Cashier: Nope. (this time with a shrug.)                                                                            Me: Hmmm. I don’t have wifi, and I need to find Mannheim Road…                              Cashier: (gives another disinterested shrug, and turns away)

I’m desperate. No point getting back in the car till I know where I’m going. Just then a woman rushes by me and says, “Hey, I go right by there-give me a second and I’ll take you there.” As I wait by the Cheetos and beef jerky for her to come out of the bathroom, I’m startled by the tightness in my chest and the heat of my tears as relief wells up inside.  I’m not used to such quick answers to prayer. I wonder whether I should hug her, try to pay her what a map would have cost, or just gratefully accept her kindness. As we head out to our cars, I see a road atlas for sale on the bottom rack-maybe the cashier didn’t know it was a map. I try to slip the woman a small gift “for a cup of coffee,” but she laughs it off and says she has to go that way to work anyhow. I find myself sobbing in the car, utterly overwhelmed by the variety of human experience in the city and by the grace of God when I didn’t expect it. I think I’ll pay the grace forward.


We’re so thankful for a ton of things…. as usual. Hard to know even where to start. From our long list here are just a few:

  • An interesting and stretching intensive for Andrea’s DMin program that happened in Canon Beach, OR (Oct. 20-30)
  • A great trip to Illinois and Michigan (Nov. 7-17) – Andrea was able to visit two of our supporting churches in Michigan and 5 in Illinois. So thankful for these partners and friends!
  • Smooth adjustment to life in Woodinville, WA for Tim and the kids. A comfortable home, good schools, lots of new activities.
  • For a chance this coming week to spend time with family and relatives.
  • For Sam and Lilla practicing their driving skills – wait a minute – that probably belongs in the “prayer request” list!
  1. For Andrea’s Mom who has just moved and has several healthcare needs. We’re thankful to be close by.
  2. For two local church visits: one to First Covenant in Everett (Nov. 23) and another to Evergreen Covenant Church on Mercer Island (Nov. 30).
  3. For our financial support as we continue meeting and talking with support team members, both old and new.

———————————————————————————————-                          A few recent photos:DSC01585A hike together at the Paradise Conservation Area near our home…IMG_0420 7.56.27 PMAn unusual Dinosaur Farm in Michigan…

IMG_0415 7.56.27 PM

Pumpkin sculptures at a cafe in Canon Beach…


Sam, Lilla & Sky’s pumpkins: Anpanman, carriage, fern, face.

And from my recent trip:

IMG_0425 7.56.27 PM
It’s always great to feel welcomed!

I was driving along in my rental car trying to find the church when suddenly this sign appeared.

This must be the place!

Thanks friends at Church of the Good Shepherd for a great Sunday morning together!


IMG_0426 7.56.27 PM

 With Beth and daughter Erin, friends from the church we served almost 30 years ago…
IMG_0427 7.56.27 PM

And with Jean, who has sent us birthday and anniversary cards for the last 28 years.May you have a wonderful…    THANKSGIVING!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *