I'll spare you all the details of just how pretty Pennsylvania is -- yes we did decide to take the road less traveled in western PA! -- but we have had a fantastic start to our deputation trail! We left bring and early Thursday morning - wait, 8:15 AM isn't bright and early?? :) We had the privilege of joining in on Anchor Baptist Church's third annual missions conference as well as the third anniversary of the church! We were really looking forward to being in this conference because our church was able to have a part in supporting them from the beginning! So it was neat to be with a missionary that we supported. :)
I can tell already that one thing about deputation will be hard: spending several days with a church and the families, getting to know them and interact with them, and then - moving on. Bummer! A wonderful family from Anchor housed us while we were there and they were generosity from the start. From asking what kind of foods we liked to eat to having us try snoogles, we were well taken care of!
Of course Anchor Baptist were wonderful hosts too. Each evening there was a delicious meal provided (courtesy of the ladies of the church) and we enjoyed getting to know the other church planters, missionaries, and evangelists. One of the church planters is from Maine, and we discovered that the little Baptist church we attended while on our honeymoon in Maine was started with the help of this church planter! Small world. :)
Saturday morning we got to go out on visitation and then for lunch the ladies and men split up and went out to eat. I loved the fact that the ladies of Anchor really enjoy spending time with each other and laughing! We had a great time... I keep saying that, don't I? ;)
To end the missions conference, the pastor had all the missionaries stand up front and since it was their Faith Promise Sunday, he had the church members give their faith promise commitment cards to the missionaries. That was really neat to watch the whole church family - little kids included! - come up front and give their commitment cards in. The pastor's emphasis was that all the money that comes in for Faith Promise goes directly to the missionaries.
After the noon meal, the pastor shared that the commitments doubled from last year! I was extremely thrilled for this church as they take a step of faith forward!!
We had a meeting work out for Sunday night, so we drove the hour east and really enjoyed being at Stow Falls Baptist Church. The Lord really set up this meeting for us in a neat way. When we got to the missions conference at Anchor on Thursday night, there happened to be another man there who knew the pastor at Stow Falls. After talking with my husband about our ministry, this man called the pastor up and told him about our ministry. Not ten minutes before this man called, the pastor and another man were praying about the same particular people group that we plan on working with! This church has a real heart for this people group and has a bus ministry that brings in about 100 of this people group every Sunday. We just so happened to have Sunday night available since the missions conference at Anchor ended with an afternoon service. Isn't God good?!?!
Stow Falls was extremely welcoming and friendly and I just loved the singing... I felt like I was back at my home church. :) After the service, there was a fellowship (which had already been planned - details only the Lord works out!) so we were able to visit with some people. This church graciously put us up in a hotel and the pastor said we could meet for lunch, not breakfast at an insane hour of 8 AM or something like that. ;) We were really appreciative of having the opportunity to get a good night of rest and just s-l-o-w down from the marathon it feels like we've been running. :D Of course the bonus for this hotel was having a breakfast provided, so we made sure to take advantage of that!
So that's just part one of Deputation Trail #2! We still have five weeks in this trip so I'm sure there will be many more updates along the way. ;)