One very fun…

… part of my job is getting OUT of town, away from my desk, my library and my office. The staff I serve and the supporters who keep me in business are scattered all over my territory: Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa. Last week I was in St. Louis Sunday through Thursday, visiting George (staff member who leads our faculty ministry), going with George to his Wash-U faculty bible study, having dinner with George and his wife Barbara, meeting Brian (a possible GFM staff candidate), getting my rental car stolen the second night I stayed at George’s, talking with police about the car, talking with InterVarsity legal about the car, talking with Enterprise about the car, getting a new rental car, hanging out with George at his Lindenwood University group, then finished the day at Pi Pizza with Josh, another GFM staff who works with Wash-U grad students. And that was the first two days!

I switched overnight hosts on the third night and that’s when my trip when from really good (in spite of the car theft) to very fun! The campus visits and time with staff are of course the heartbeat of my job. But I have to say that even though this job involves travel and sleeping in a lot of different beds, it can be a very fun job when it comes to connecting with supporters! I’ll spare you the names just to keep this precious family a little more anonymous, but my overnight hosts Tuesday and Wednesday were just a blast to be with.

When I first started rounding up ministry partners (donors) four years ago, I reconnected with a lot of alumni from my days of undergrad staff Illinois (1987-2006). Almost everyone in this group was a student leader at some point way back then. And just about all of them have been growing families during the Perrys Omaha years. My best guess as to how many current supporters were former students of mine would be about 30 percent! This family is just one of dozens who make up that number. And I had the best time hanging out with them.

The mom (if you can find her in these pics) was a student leader, served on exec two years, married a classmate, went on to get more degrees after her undergrad days, settled in the St. Louis area. Oh, and has four kids! The ones in these pictures. From the minute I walked into their home after a long day of visits on campus I felt like I was going to fit in. Shortly after meeting the daughters in their matching pajamas, out came Ace, Jay and Bo. Ace, Jay and Bo are rats. “Fancy rats.” Very cute and cuddly. Actually soft and fun to hold. They would actually give you tiny little rat-kisses if you held them close to your face. The second night I was there, more animals came out of their cages. A python. And a gecko. And the skull of a deer (kinda doesn’t count, but that was the extent of the animal kingdom).

The second night there, I arrived in time to make some cookies with the girls. I travel ever-ready to just bust out ingredients for peanut butter monster cookies. They did not disappoint! It’s the only cookie I can make. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve had them. I may have even made them with your children!

Other fun moments. Getting trash-talked by one of the kids “you’re just an old-guy, you’ll never beat us at Spot-It.” The kid tells the truth. I got totally humiliated every game. They never tired of laughing at my pathetic stack of cards (compared to theirs). The family just happened to have a spinal decompression table in the basement. It is a kind of torture device like “the rack” but not quite so dangerous. And I was able to join my hosts for a delicious dinner and more conversation about churches, neighbors, jobs, schools, gymnastics, ballet, and martial arts.

If you are one of these people who, like this family, are keeping me in business through your prayers and support, please know that I actually delight in having you on my team! Not only do I need you. I like you. And I like hanging out with you from time to time. It refreshes my connection. It helps me see how your family is growing and how God is using you in your community.

Wait, did you say your car was stolen on this trip?

Yes. I’m grateful not too many of my possessions were in it. I’m grateful it wasn’t stolen from me while I was out using it. But, yes, my little white Hyundai Tucson rental was take from me. Even though all my cookie making supplies I’d brought were also stolen, I managed to not miss a single appointment on the entire trip. I even managed to make a stop on the way there and the way back to connect with faculty members at Mizzou, in Columbia (right on my way). It was a very full trip. It was a first in my 30 plus years of ministry to have a vehicle stolen or even broken into.

Hey who took my Hyundai?

Prayers welcome for the coming week:

I have another big trip planned starting tomorrow. Here’s the play by play:

  • Leave Omaha tomorrow morning.
  • Catch up with a niece who also supports me and stay over night w her in Chicago-land.
  • Attend a friend’s memorial service Monday morning in Warrenville, IL.
  • Visit another alumn (former student leader) in the South Chicago suburbs.
  • Travel to Iowa City.
  • Half a day at the University of Iowa and catch up with my GFM staff member there.
  • Travel to Ames, campus visit at ISU
  • Camping in one of my staff member’s back-yard Tuesday night.
  • Making pizza for this staff family after pitching my RIE 3-man Mountaineer.
  • Meet up with Christian faculty members Wednesday morning at ISU.
  • ISU Faculty and Staff noon monthly meeting.
  • Stop through Dodge City to visit with alumni and have dinner.
  • Overnight in my own bed in Omaha!
  • Thursday – my staff member in Lawrence, KS.
  • Friday- my faculty ministry leader at K-State in Manhattan.
  • Saturday- my international student ministry leader at K-State.
  • Saturday afternoon about 4 pm, a sunset bike-ride on the Keystone trail in Omaha!

Well, maybe it will be nice enough for a bike ride. Maybe not. At any rate, I’d value lots of your prayers in getting me (and my vehicle) all the way through this week! More on my time in St. Louis in a future post. More about Syntrek.Blog as well! Thanks so much for your partnership!

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