A Sendoff Celebration

It is hard to believe that we have been through our second and final send-off Sunday. I remember thinking how the six months had flown Tyler. I can say the same exact thing for Tullahoma. We have enjoyed our time with Cedar Lane immensely. They welcomed and encouraged our dream from the day we arrived and the past six months has been a wonderful time of preparation for the work we are about to begin. 

I commend all of those from Cedar Lane who participated in the planning and execution of the special Sunday planned for our send-off. It was a wonderful and Spirit-filled time of worship to God and edification of one another. I will cherish the memories from that gathering for years to come. For those of you that did not get to attend, the service began with a video conference between Shiloh Road and Cedar Lane. Both church audiences got to witness the churches blessings on each other as this new work begins. How exciting it will be for you all to video conference with us in Peru! I cannot wait for that experience. I get chill bumps thinking about it. Classes were canceled so that the worship could be extended. Wow! I LOVED the singing. I appreciate our mission support team’s thoughtfulness in choosing the songs. Some sentimental songs were chosen that have served as such a comfort and encouragement for our journey: Blessed Be Your Name and If You Say Go, just to name a couple. Greg preached an excellent sermon (if I do say so myself) on everything we do being for the “sake of His name.” The time in the auditorium concluded with the elders’ blessing and commissioning of the field workers. We pledged to the church to do the work of the Lord. What a beautiful service.

After the closing song of The Lord Bless You and Keep You, everyone was invited to eat brunch together. The team was asked to form a receiving line, and we were able to speak to so many that gave their sweet hugs and well wishes. The brunch concluded with video footage of our time there in Tullahoma, a tribute to all of the missionaries Cedar Lane has supported and a time for church family to make comments to us and to the body of Cedar Lane.

I cried many tears that day. A year ago I knew that I would cry tears of sadness. I knew it was a huge transition and that I would be leaving the church that raised me and family members that I would not see very often. But I am thrilled to say that though I am sad to leave so many I love, I am overjoyed and filled with excitement. God has taught me, once again, that he is in control. When we thought we would leave in 2007, I think he knew that we needed more preparation time. When we thought we knew time and time again who the “perfect” supporting church would be, he said, “No, not yet. I have something so much better for you and for the sake of my name.” When I wondered how in the world I could leave our families behind, he knew that if our church families sent us, it would serve as a comfort exceeding anything I could have asked or imagined. What a mighty God we serve! We are overflowing. I can’t wait to say “Hola” to you from Arequipa. Blessings to all!