No matter how many times I "hop the pond," these transatlantic flights always wear me out. I have never quite grown accustomed to trying to sleep sitting up... (Smile!) But, I found a Starbucks here at Gatwick airport (yeah...!) with good, strong "drip" coffee and I'm feeling better by the minute, even with only an hour or two of sleep. In a bit, I connect with British Airways on to Amsterdam, where I am going to visit our missionaries, Steve and Rhonda Ashworth and their children. They are missionaries with Youth With A Mission based in Holland, but also active in other countries around the world. I am really looking forward to this time with them, although brief. They have very graciously rearranged their travel schedules to the Phillipines just in order to be home and welcome me when I come through...!
Amsterdam holds very special memories for Teresa and me. Our first trip to Western Europe after we were married in 1985 was to the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in the summer of '86. The conference had made arrangements for the 8,000 or so delegates from all over the world to have free, unlimited transportation on the city's tramways. Following the evening meetings, Teresa and I would hop some tram at random, ride it to the end of the line, and then return to our hotel. It was a great way to sightsee and in July, it did not get fully dark until very late in the evening. I had already ministered in Europe multiple times beginning in 1981, but both Teresa and I were profoundly impacted by what the spiritual need that we saw everywhere around us in '86. Following that experience, we began stepping up our involvement in that part of the world and things culminated with our moving to France as resident missionaries on New Year's Day of 1991.
This trip will be fast and furious (that's the way I like them...!), with stops in five countries in ten days. I'll keep you posted as often as I can via my blog.
Teresa and I love you precious people at Hillcrest Church and are thankful to God for the privilege of serving you...!