Father's Day brought a wonderful gift to my Dad. One he could enjoy all week long.
My sister has been living in self-imposed exile in the Great Northwest. A few years ago, as she was staring down the great unknown of a life after college, she answered the calling to become a missionary. This could have meant travelling to remote destinations, devoid of civilization or even running water, but she became involved in domestic missions and was assigned to the campus of Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. Her mission was to help start a Baptist Collegiate Ministry on that campus, which is no small feat in an area where organized religion doesn't define the culture as it does here.
A large part of her request to be stationed in the PDX is the familial history of the city. When our parents got married, they moved to Vancouver, Washington, just across the river. A few years later I was born, and two years after that the three of us moved back to Louisiana and the rest of the family. So now we have a reason to visit, other than just to go.
In her two years of service, she grew to love the area, and it really is a perfect fit for her. She came to the conclusion that it was part of The Plan for her to stay there and continue to spread the Good News in whatever way she could. Hurricane Rita gave her an opportunity to bring some of that work home.
Relishing the chance to negate the impotence of being two thousand miles away, she got a team together and flew to the coast. Blessing were bestowed all around, and the small group attacked the problem with gusto, and copious amounts of DEET. Apparently Northwesterners suffer greatly from the bites of our mosquitoes, as I witnessed welts woefully oversized for our common annoyances. The heat was also a sore spot with them, with the man of the group usually being the first one up so that he could start the truck to get the A/C going while they ate breakfast. Their mornings consisted of cleaning up my parents yard, while their afternoons were spent teaching Vacation Bible School at what was left of the First Baptist Church.
For their troubles, they were rewarded with a trip to the beach with complimentary fire and mosquitoes, and an old fashioned shrimp and crab boil to end the week. While here they got to experience some of the best and worst environments the parish had to offer. Through it all they kept smiling and toiling away, reveling in the new skills they were learning and the young lives they were helping to shape. I hope their lives were as touched by this trip as the lives they touched.