The team arrived safe and sound Sunday evening and settled down into the very comfortable apartment for a pizza dinner. Though we have had a few team building meetings and an opportunity to serve together prior to this trip, we are continuing to get to know each other and fellowship.
When I first thought about this trip, I could not have dreamed we would have such an amazing team. I prayed and God delivered.
Four of us are working in the hangar with a gentleman named Don Vandenberg. Don is the son of a missionary family, who served in what was then the Ivory Republic (now Cote de Ivorie). Don is a quiet, and very humble man. He is one who would not normally share the stories of growing up in Africa. Through a few conversations, he has shared some amazing stories of what life was like – growing up as a kid to missionary parents. Don also has many years living and working here at JAARS. Throughout the day, mechanics come to him for advice. You can quickly tell that he is the aircraft maintenance guru at the top of the hill.
Dana and Myrtle are working with the always energetic Beth Mersfelder! They are working on a new program named ‘Passport to Christmas’. The also helped to re-write the linguistic demonstration skit that is shown to all of the mission teams. Myrtle had Beth write her name on her “Love is ____” bracelet. She has committed to pray for her as she continues to host and manage the many mission teams who serve at JAARS every year.
Last year at JAARS, I ran into an old friend who I served with in the Navy. His name is Kevin Tillett and he is the military recruiter for JAARS. This Thursday, he and his wife Gale have invited us to lunch at their house. It’s a small world when you run into someone you knew 20 years ago while serving in the Navy in California – and you see that person while serving God in North Carolina.
Rick Warren writes that, “We are saved to serve”
The Bible says, “God has given each of you special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other” 1 Peter 4:10a
This passage speaks to me as I am blessed and honored to be with this awesome team in a place where we get to use those special abilities.