Visa Struggles
After spending two hours at the police station (and an hour the day before until their computers broke down), we rush to the embassy to complete all the necessary forms to get our new visas. Just as we get to the desk to hand in our applications, they inform us the embassy is closing early for lunch, meaning we have to wait around another hour. (We are on a deadline to get our new visas and get our passports back in order to hop on the plane to another city for our Thanksgiving holiday.) After all our waiting, it finally seems to be working out, and they promise our visas should be ready the day before we need them. Whew! That was a close call! I remember stories of missionaries who said they spent half their time overseas just waiting in lines, and I am thankful I don't have to go through this too often!

Forgotten Anniversary
Because of the long morning spent at the police station, and the extra time trying to get the new visa at the embassy, it's 2:30pm before I get back to my apartment. As I grab a shower, I suddenly remember today is the anniversary of the day I met Evey 1 year ago! I had told her I'd plan something special, but I'd totally forgotten! 15 minutes later, with wet hair, I race on my bike to see if I can catch the 3pm bus to Evey's campus. I make it just in time! I decide to show up and surprise her, hoping she'll think that was my plan all along! (I find myself starting to sympathize with guys who forget their anniversaries!) I try to write a card for her on the bus ride, but it's too bumpy, and the girl across from me decides she wants to make a foreign friend. (How can I ignore her?)

I arrive at Evey's campus, quickly buy a present and finish signing the card, then call her phone. Realizing the risk I've taken not knowing where she is, I'm relieved to hear she is just sitting in her dorm room. “Evey, do you remember the spot we met one year ago?… Yes, in front of the cafeteria! Can you go there now?…Yes, right now! You'll find a surprise!”

I pace for five minutes, and then see Evey racing towards me. In the same spot we met exactly one year ago, she hugs me, surprised and happy to see me! We spend two great hours together – eating ice cream, reminiscing about past memories, and discussing our futures…where will we be one year from now? Then it's time for me to catch the bus to get home for Bible Study. During the half-hour ride back I jot down last-minute thoughts for my teaching that night. I arrive home just 15 minutes before Angela arrives for Bible

Just Do It!
Ellei and I read through the Great Commission with Angela. Last week we promised we would teach her about sharing her faith, so now she gets the scoop. Ellei talks to her about being filled with power, not held back by fear or timidity. I give her some practical ideas for how to bring up her faith in conversations with friends. And with a burst of inspiration, I use the bowl of peanuts on the table as an illustration of the multiplication that happens with discipleship. Pouring peanuts onto the coffee table, I showed her the method Jesus chose to spread the Gospel…through investing in a few to reach the many. “Look at how it can spread and multiply when we share with a few who go and share with a few more! Look at all those peanuts, uh, I mean Christians!”

Angela felt inspired to give it a try. (Sharing her faith, that is, not pushing peanuts around on a coffee table!) We did some role playing so she could practice bringing God into conversations. Since we will be gone for a week for Thanksgiving, we challenged Angela to try sharing her faith while we're away and let us know how it goes. After all our teaching, she responded, “I guess there's just one thing now…I need to JUST DO IT!” =) I'm looking forward to hearing how God uses her as she steps out in boldness during these next weeks!

That's just one day out of my busy week. I've been packing in appointments with friends, trying to see all of them since I will be gone for 8 days. I'm still trying to recover from my cold, not getting much rest at night, and on top of this, I've been trying to prepare a message to share at our team's meeting this week. I am so thankful for God's grace carrying me, but I feel ready for a vacation! I am looking forward to this trip. It won't be entirely restful, but it will be a nice get-away to refresh and refuel!

A word to the wise: Even if your Asian friend recommends it, do not ever boil vinegar to kill germs in your home when you're sick. I am warning you right now, it STINKS!!!