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Filtering by Tag: From the Road

Reflections From The Road VII - MTW Area Retreat

Anthony Elswick

MTW has a big event that brings much of the world together every 4 years, kind of like the Olympics except without the sports, or the medals, or the whole T.V. thing.  I’m talking, of course, about MTW’s Area Retreat.  This year it combined MTW missionaries from Central and South America with those serving in Africa and it just happened a little over a week ago.  It’s a weeklong event complete with morning and evening worship services, updates from missionaries, break-out sessions and the opportunity to connect with missionaries you haven’t met before.

By far, the highlight for me was getting to know and learn from other missionaries.  One of the missionaries I got to spend some time with was Andy Warren, who I first met at another MTW training in February.  He and his wife, Bev, have been missionaries for over 30 years and have been in Ethiopia since 1996.  They have devoted their lives to easing the suffering of AIDS patients both in this life and sharing the hope of salvation for the next.  Among other things, they shared with us about what it takes to last 30 years as a missionary.

One of the most helpful conversations I had with Andy was about partnering with nationals.  It’s easy for missionaries to do all the work themselves, especially since navigating different cultural dynamics can be so confusing and frustrating.  Andy, though, stressed the importance of collaboration and shared helpful tips and principles on how to build trust with a multi-national team.  The nuts and bolts of our work is different but when I grow up, I want to be just like Andy!  You can find out more about his work here! 

Reflections from the Road VI - The Peacock and The Hubcap

Anthony Elswick

Every now and again, God doubles up on his lessons.  After realizing that I has left my wallet in Winter Haven while parked at Holiday Park in the Everglades (you can read about here), I noticed a peacock.  I was driving slow, looking at the peacock and thinking about the peacock’s vanity and then my own when all of a sudden, I felt a bump!  I had just run over something!  I nervously got out of my car, wondering what the penalty was for running over an alligator, if the alligator would be alive enough to bite me and if any of the bystanders were going to capture it all on their cell phones, when I saw it.  I hadn’t run over an alligator or any animal for that matter.  I had run over my own hubcap!

That’s right, the Missions Mobile lost yet another hubcap this time while people watched.  I grabbed it and quickly put it on the passenger seat then drove off feeling more than a bit sheepish.  The ole’ Missions Mobile is not much of a looker to begin with, but I still managed to be embarrassed about its changed state.  Although I am going to be getting rid of it when we move and I try to gain comfort by reminding myself that its beauty comes from the fact that it’s paid off, I still feel humbled by its physical state.

Isn’t that crazy?  Of all the things that can define us or that we can put our value in, a beater car has to be among the silliest.  I’m just thankful that part of this process of pursuing missions allows me to isolate those fears and hopefully grow in them.  Of course, we should put our treasure in Heaven and we should find our value in the identity we bear in our adoption by Christ but sometimes I don’t.  Praise the Lord that even though I tend to get caught up in vanity, he gently reminds me what is really important… by allowing me to lose a hub cap every now and again!

Reflections from the Road - Vol. V

Anthony Elswick

If you drive west on Griffin Road in Cooper City, Fl eventually, you’ll pass through US 27 and dead end into Everglades Holiday Park.  The park is fairly small, there are some boat slips, they give airboat rides, and there is a gift shop.  I happen to know about this park because my dad and I used to buy worms there when we would go fishing and one time I went on an airboat ride from there. 

Recently, I was there to find a little alligator souvenir for the girls, perhaps something stuffed or a book about the everglades.  But when I looked around the gift shop, I realized something was missing – specifically, my wallet.  The dark truth hit me, I had driven 3½ hours from Winter Haven to Fort Lauderdale without any means of paying for my gas home.  I didn’t have my driver’s license, my debit card, or credit card.  My only hope for food was to use my Starbucks phone app to get lunch, and that was only if they hadn’t sold out of food items.

Before I could figure that out though, I had a meeting with a local church. The meeting went well, but in the back of my mind, I was wondering how I was going to get home… perhaps the church would be moved by God to give me some cash.  Nope!  The meeting went well and all but no money changed hands.  No major miracles happened.

But one minor miracle happened.  I went to a local branch of my bank and introduced myself.  I explained my situation, hoping they could use the photo they had on record for me as an I.D..  Did I have my driver license, they asked?  Nope. Did I have any photo ID? Still no.  They had me fill out a withdraw slip and sign it.  Did the signature match what my bank had on record?  Nope.  Did my second try?  Still no.  Finally, they asked me to tell them some personal banking info… Yes!  Yes, I could do that!  They gave me the cash I needed and the rest of the trip went off without a hitch.

The moral of the story – sometimes God works out minor miracles through practical means.  That, and the signature at your bank DOES actually matter (or so I’m told).