I’m tired of trying to come up with exciting blog names so I’m saving time and energy by assigning each blog a random number. I don’t want to oversell the content of my blog anyway. You know those blogs that have titles like, “5 Impossible Miracles the Lord Performed Today – You Won’t Believe #3!” I don’t like those and so I’m going to the other side of the spectrum.
I’m home alone tonight and so I spent most of the evening wandering around eating crunchy apples and slurping the juice off of them. My wife hates when I do that. In fact, I didn’t even realize I did that until I got married. I then microwaved a pork chop we had leftover from yesterday. In fact, it’s still in the microwave now that I think about it. Anyway, I got tired of the house and so I walked to a different Wi-Fi hotspot down the street. The local coffee shop in Goshen is named the “Electric Brew” and it’s hands down one of my favorite coffee shops. The prices are so reasonable I even give tip because I feel like I’m ripping someone off. The only downside is that it’s filled with trendy people (the downside of most coffee shops I guess). They do have fast Wi-Fi however, and since my family has been trying to save money we’ve dropped our Comcast cable internet and have been using unlimited data plans with Sprint. This works pretty well for the most part and does help consolidate some bills and keep costs down without going completely Amish. However, I only have 10 gigabytes of hotspot data that I can share with my laptop and last month I hit my limit. So, wanting a cup of coffee and a change of scenery (with the ability to stream YouTube on my laptop), I wandered across town.
That’s probably too much information. I have to remember that people nowadays have short attention spans. Half the readers have already lapsed into a coma and have went back to Facebook to read more about that #3 miracle to see if they really do believe it.
Last weekend we had a wedding in Virginia. Janice’s cousin, Duane, was getting married to a fine girl named Dawn. I don’t know them that well but I generally approve of men and women getting hitched and we thought it was worth the drive to show our support for this arrangement. Plus, we got to hang out with all the other relatives from the side of the family. We left Indiana at 4:30 am on a cold Friday morning and pointed the van in the general direction of Farmville, Virginia. My sister-in-law, Erleen – the one who takes care of the family, had booked us a cabin that she found through some sort of Mennonite Mafia connection. The owners, Bonnie and Jay, came out to say hello and to make sure we weren’t some sort of college students on spring break. They quickly determined we weren’t smart enough to be college students (or were too smart to be college students, not sure) and so we hit it off pretty well. Jay informed me that the “cabin” we were staying in used to be a mule barn. I was impressed because whenever I wander into a mule barn I smell like mules for a day or two. Somehow he managed to remove all evidence of mules and it was actually a very nice place to stay. We arrived at the cabin Friday evening.
The next morning Erleen informed us that the Bonnie and Jay, the owners of the cabin, use the income from the cabin to help support Bonnie’s brother’s family who are missionaries in Mexico (click here for more info on the church planting project they are involved in). Payment for the cabin was strictly done on a donation basis. As it turned out, the missionary couple in Mexico happened to be Loren & Donna Yoder – parents of a girl named Janessa who went to my old church in Reading, Pennsylvania. She married “Mannie,” a guy I also know well from the same church. Erleen attends the church as well so she knows Mannie and Janessa and was the one who made the connections. I’m terrible at making family connections. When someone starts running down a genealogy I usually just sit there and nod while tracking the cloud patterns in the sky right behind their head.
It was Saturday and high time for a wedding. We made it on time, watched the happy couple get hitched, ate food, then left for a missions conference at New Covenant Mennonite Church in Pennsylvania. It was about a six hour drive and was pretty uneventful. Oh, except Adi leaked diarrhea into her car seat – that was memorable. You know you’re a parent when you find diarrhea on your shirt but instead of removing it, you smell it first just to make sure it’s actually worth the bother.
Saturday evening we arrived at my parents house. Sunday morning I drove to New Covenant to set up my booth for MMS Aviation. My objective was to build awareness of MMS Aviation and what they do in hopes of getting more recruits to the mechanic apprenticeship program. My secondary goal was to let folks know about my family and our calling. We met some great people, definitely met a few folks who reminded me of myself when I was considering MMS, and learned more about the other great mission organizations that were there. The theme of the conference was “Jesus Christ – Lord of the Earth, Hope of the World.” In fact, I designed the official banner for the event. My cousin, Adam Sensenig, is on the missions board at New Covenant and for the last couple years I made the banners for their conferences. I guess I’m there cheapest option.
Adam and I got together the last time my family was in Pennsylvania and he described to me his vision of what he wanted on the banner. Here was the first rendition of the banner:
It was later deemed a little too violent for a non-resistant Mennonite church. I should have probably taken that into consideration. I moved some things around and came up with this which was promptly accepted by the missions board: (most likely because they were up against the printing deadline)
At the missions conference we had some workshops on culture taught by Rick Rhodes which I found highly informative. He’s pretty popular in the Mennonite circles but it wouldn’t surprise me if you Midwestern folks didn’t know who he was (unless you are of the Mennonite persuasion). He was a teacher at iGO in Chang Mai, Thailand for probably 11 years or so. He was also a missionary in Grenada before that. He has some good perspective on learning cultures. Great guy! I’ll include a video of one of his sermons here so you can get to know him (he has plenty of stuff on YouTube). He’s not afraid to broach difficult subjects or to poke you right where it hurts (which is kind of the point of preachers, isn’t it?)
Monday morning we packed up the ugly Dodge Caravan and headed home again. I’m extremely thankful for that van, ugly and bland as it is. It’s been a faithful pack mule.
The chickens have officially moved out of the dining room and into the outside chicken tractor which I just got done yesterday, much to the relief of the entire family (except maybe Adi who found the chickens to be no competition when it came to making a mess or creating unusual, repulsive odors). They have been named, “Tim Tam, Tick Tock, & Too Tall” despite the fact that they are all hens. I still have to outfit my chicken tractor contraption with some wheels but for now a great deal of grunting can get it to move across the yard. So far I spent $30 on it (and you can tell).