Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tour Highlights

It is hard (next to impossible) to sum up two weeks in Washington and British Columbia with a single post. I think the plan will be to share a few highlights, a few photos, and then allow you to realize that God did so much more. :)

Highlight #1: Gorgeous scenery. I loved the mountains, and it seemed as though every home where we stayed had yet another breathtaking view. This was taken from the porch of a home built out on a bluff. At another host home, we stayed right on the Columbia River. Later on, our drive from Washington to Canada was what some say is the most scenic route in all of Washington. I think I believe them. :)

Highlight #2: Visiting our school's other campus, located in Washington. We sang two chapels, one of for their main campus, and one at the missionary aviation campus. This is a photo of a bookcase on the aviation campus, holding Bibles that aviation graduates have helped to translate, whether by flying the plane or being involved in the actual translation process. It was incredible to the other campus we hear so much about, and to meet our brothers and sisters in Christ there.

Highlight #3: Host home stays. While this photo was taken at a multi-million dollar home near Seattle (this is the bed their dog used to use -- Kirsten's was much bigger!), we stayed in a huge variety. Some of my favorites were a little elderly couple who shared with us what they had, a retired AWANA missionary who gave us hand waxes and let us soak in the hot tub, and the parents of a recent missionary-martyr who held no animosity in their hearts.

Highlight #4: New modes of transportation! :) On this tour, I took my first ferry ride. We rode the "Queen of Coquitlam" from Vancouver to Vancouver Island. One of my favorite views in all of tour was the snowcapped peaks of the mainland rising above the sea on the way back. Also on this trip, I took my first ever airplane flight. My family always did road trips for our vacations, so I've never really had occasion to fly. Now I'm all ready for our long flight over to Israel come May...

Highlight #5: French on the signs in Canada. I cannot tell you how happy it made me.... :) I took five years of French in junior high and high school, and while I've forgotten more than I care to admit, it was so fun to realize that I'd actually retained some of it. I talked to a couple ladies in French at our hotel stop in Canada, and they told me I spoke very well. (Still not sure if they were just being nice since I'm such a cute little doll, or if they were telling the truth...) I was pleasantly surprised at how much of a conversation I was able to carry on.

As always, it was a pleasure to see God use the choir over the course of the two week tour. Watching the ladies respond in a Christ-like way to frustrating situations and intense schedules was especially challenging to me this year. God used tour to remind me that it isn't all about me. It's about Jesus. (I could call this highlight #6.... but He is the King of all the tour highlights.)

Well... it's bedtime. My cotton needs to rest a bit. :)

With love from an absolute doll,

Erin Joy

Friday, March 11, 2011

Washington, here I come!

Tonight, I fly out to Seattle with the Women's Concert Choir. We'll be touring for two weeks in the Pacific Northwest and Canada, enjoying the mountains and the rain. I remembered to throw in a waterproof jacket, because my fabric gets kind of gross when it's damp. (True story. The cotton gets all soggy, and starts to stick to my insides, and then I have to ride in the dryer, and that's hot and uncomfortable, and.... well... I'll quit whining.)

The past two weeks have been kind of hectic. With being sick, hearing some very difficult news, and midterms approaching, I haven't had a chance to sit and just be. I'm looking forward to some of those bus rides in the next couple weeks. The quiet hours will be very refreshing.

At our local concert last Sunday, I was once again blown away by the beauty of the program our director has put together. The theme is one of hope, urging us to hold on and rejoice in Christ, even in the midst of suffering. I needed that on Sunday, and to be able to worship with it every night for two weeks will be a gift from God.

I'm praying that God will grant me opportunities to serve the choir and learn from the other ladies, as well. Whether it be conversations on the bus or shared host home experiences, I'm confident that God will work in me through the lives and testimonies of the others. Hopefully, he can use me to touch their lives, too.

I've already seen an example of that through the choir recently. A friend stopped by the desk a week or two ago and shared what God was doing in her life. She was trying to work through some things, and somehow, God gave me the Scripture to share with her. Just a few days later, she was sharing this same Scripture at our choir concert. God knew I needed to hear that again... just in time.

Well, my shift at the desk is over. I'll write again after tour! :)

With love from an absolute doll,

Erin Joy