Winter was a strange time to move into our new town. People tended to stay indoors whenever they could to avoid the record snow and cold, and we were wondering when we’d see some of the famous Southern friendliness. Now that spring has come, the hospitality is in full bloom, along with the azaleas and rhododendrons.
Last weekend, our small town’s summer schedule kicked off with weekly concerts on the courthouse green on Friday nights, farmers markets on Saturday mornings, and classic cars crusing around the square on Sunday afternoons. People in our neighborhood gathered for a picnic in our bordering park and tomorrow we will meet to beautify the sign leading into our development. Neighbors chipped in for supplies to paint the sign, plant flowers, and put in solar lights. (Better than dues to a Homeowners Association any day.) Tonight Steve and I are going to a classy fundraiser for the local battered women’s shelter, called the Art of Chocolate with visual, performing and culinary arts. Next week, I’m hoping to learn a lot and make some much-needed connections at a writers’ conference in the nearby mountains. When I get back, Steve and I will take off to explore the other side of the state, the North Carolina coast.
In the midst of all these fun plans, an even more exciting opportunity has come up that could involve a visit to the country that holds part of my heart. The Romanian staff with Campus Crusade will celebrate the first 20 years of official ministry in Romania at their annual staff conference. All of us original staff members have been invited back. In these 20 years, the ministry has grown from five Americans in one city, all living in the same dorm on campus, to well over 100 national Romanians serving on staff throughout the country, ministering to college and high school students, the military, athletes, families, villagers, executives, media – all facets of society. God has truly blessed the efforts and honored the prayers and dreams of the original team, many of whose stories are told in my book. I’d love to be part of the celebration of God’s awesomeness this August. But it’s a big commitment. I’m trusting that God will make the path smooth if I’m supposed to be there. We actually have enough miles for a free flight but there don’t seem to be any dates available to use it. I’ll keep you posted.