This Wednesday, I had my first service of my itinerating missions career. How weird that is.
It was in Anaconda, Montana, a long, narrow town with which I have quite a few pleasant associations. My aunt and uncle used to live there, and they were always marvelous to visit. The AG church is pastored by a man who knows my grandparents and a dozen or so of my relatives, because he used to pastor my grandparents’ church and had all kinds of stories about my grandfather’s absurdities, because my grandfather was delightfully absurd. I also used to live in a house this pastor used to live in, which is just randomer and randomer.
It was a little church in a little town, and I love little churches in little towns. I grew up with them, and they feel so familiar and comfortable to go into. It being a Wednesday night just after the holidays, there were only ten or fifteen people there, but really, for my first service, that was a perfect number. I like small groups. They’re cozy. Also the ten or fifteen people who come to a Wednesday night missions service just after the holidays are going to be the ten or fifteen people who are the backbone of the church.
I set up a little table, and it was beautiful. Until I had my multicultural teas back in November, I wasn’t sure what I would do for a missions table at services, because I’ve never been to Belgium, so I haven’t accumulated any neat Belgian things, and also I’m not really going to Belgium, as Belgium. I’m going to a multicultural setting. But the teas made me realize that I have loads of lovely items that represent a multitude of cultures: teapots and teacups. Also since I’m going as a Greek professor, I can use the large number of Greek study texts I own, including the beautiful leather journals of my own translations. I used a sari as a tablecloth, set out my most international teapots and foreign teacups, and neatly arranged a few books on it, and it was as representative of me and my ministry as you could wish.
There was a lovely, potluck sort of meal, and afterward I spoke for half an hour or forty-five minutes. I told them about what I’ll be doing in Belgium, how I was called into missions, and gave a mini-sermon on Peter and Paul and how God changed their lives but also used the talents and personalities He’d given them. They were a lovely audience. They laughed frequently.
We had a short hang-around-and-chat time afterward, and I went home with a remarkably generous contribution to my cash budget. Tiny church, great generosity. I left very encouraged.