Dave and I were at Laurelwood Baptist church in Vancouver, Washington this morning!
I started going to Laurelwood nearly 40 years, shortly after I put my faith in Jesus. Dave went here as well, attending during his college years as an intern in the youth department. This is where we first met!
Jim Watson was the pastor there at the time, which is how I met his and Jan's daughter, Michelle, who is my lifelong best friend. They came to be with us this morning, as did my mom and dad, who drove down from Eugene!!!
After an encouraging time of worship, Dave and I came to the front to thank this church who has partnered with us since 1983, when they first sent Dave out as a missionary with Malachi, under Cadence International.
The next year, in 1984, they sent me as I also went with Malachi to serve American military teenagers across Europe.
Standing up here and still seeing many familiar faces who have prayed and stood with us all these years was so encouraging to my heart.
Dave gave the message today, "How to Step Into Your Calling".
"Most of us have an occupation, but each of us also has a calling. Because of the daily tasks that demand our attention, it is easy to become preoccupied with our occupation and miss our calling. A journey with Peter through John 21 will help us discover what holds us back, and how to step out of our fears and into our calling."
You can listen online or download that message HERE, in their list of sermons.
After the service there were so many wonderful people to talk with! I see Lisa, who's been out to Malenovice to serve with us many times; I see Larry who I've known since I was 18 years old! I see my dad talking with Jennifer, who's married to a friend I went to high school with. And you can see me, talking to a high schooler about coming out to do an internship with JV sometime!
We also got to see Gwen, a long time friend of mine who once served with us in Germany. It's always a happy day when we get to see this joy filled friend!
Mike, the pastor, and his wife, Susan, have been at Laurelwood 23 years! When they arrived, they embraced us as "their" missionaries and have always prayed for us and been so supportive through the years; they've even been out to visit us!
As usual, we closed down the church, being the last ones to leave!
We are so thankful for this church, who has invested in us when we were young, and who has stood with us for 36 years, and counting!