Tuesday, September 5, 2006
Dear Family and Friends,
Touching down in Atlanta Georgia, where I was scheduled to change planes before flying on to Washington D.C., the plane was several minutes behind schedule when it finally arrived at the gate. Knowing that I had just a few minutes to board the connecting flight, I quickly navigated to the departure gate, figuring I had about 10 minutes left for boarding the aircraft.
Pausing at the flight information monitors, my eyes scanned down the list of flights, then across to verify the gate and departure time. Canceled? I double-checked the flight information, but everything seemed correct. Talking to an agent at the gate, I learned that with the recent security changes, the pilots and crews had been flying through the night to try to make up for the delays, but were forced to stop when aviation laws prevented them from flying more than sixteen hours in a day. They simply did not have a crew to fly the plane on to D.C.
More than forty flights had to be canceled that day, and the true character of many was revealed as hundreds of people were faced with an unexpected change in plans. Some, like the lady standing next to me in line at the customer service counter, were very gracious and grateful for the work that the agents were trying to do. She had missed her sister’s wedding, but she had chosen to cheerfully accept what she could not change.
Traveling to Virginia a few days before the Children’s Seminar was to begin, I was grateful for the additional flexibility that this gave me. As Christians, we know that God works all things together for good, (Romans 8:28), but it sometimes stretches our faith to see God’s hand behind the “CANCELED” message.
Waiting in the customer service line for an hour and a half, I had a very good talk with a Christian family near me. They seemed very encouraged to hear of God’s faithfulness and lovingkindness to our family during the time of Isaac’s Homegoing in Mongolia. God knew just how much we would be blessed in that time of fellowship together and He had caused our paths to cross at just the right time.
Flying on to D.C. the next morning, I was met at the airport by the Conrad family. My luggage had already arrived on an earlier flight, so we were soon driving through the beautiful hill country to the Conrad’s home in Virginia. My family had lived in Maryland during 2000-2001, and I enjoyed seeing the tree-covered hillsides again.
It was a blessing to get to know the Conrad family a little more through the week. They have for some time had a desire to coordinate a Basic Seminar for their area, and although Mr. Conrad was away on business, their family was able to work out the arrangements to hold a seminar in Winchester, VA on August 14-19.
Overseeing the Basic Seminar, Mrs. Conrad was aided by her mother who had flown in to help for the week. Her son Blake made the announcements for the main seminar, and assisted me in my role as Team Director/Storyteller for the Children’s Program. Her daughter Madison was primarily responsible for organizing the Children’s Program, and served as the Teacher Trainer/Song Leader.
Blake, Madison, and I took the time we could to plan and work out some remaining details before the seminar started on Monday, knowing that once the seminar was in motion, there would be no stopping until Saturday night. We also felt that we could do more through the Lord’s blessing by setting our planning aside to honor the Lord’s Day.
On Monday morning we drove to the church to set up for the seminar, and took a few more minutes of planning before the training started at 1:00. There were a lot of unknowns, I had never met most of the teachers, we weren’t sure how many children would come, and I wondered how the teachers would respond as I shared about the standards that we intended to uphold through the week.
But God had already been answering prayer, and raised up a wonderful group of teachers. Rarely have I been privileged to serve with such a serious minded, focused group of young people. There was a wholesome spirit of unity and a spiritual focus that bore witness to unseen prayer for this week.
One interesting and sometimes even humorous characteristic with this group is that we all were so quiet. I was wondering how this would work out when the children arrived, but on Monday night, it seemed like God had sent a very quiet group of children too! This actually made a perfect combination, and allowed for more focused sharing and teaching times that you don’t often get with very energetic students.
In past seminars, I have always been amazed to see God’s hand in working through the leaders that make the team assignments, deciding who will be leaders and assistants. It takes a different kind of faith when you are the one in leadership; to trust that God is going to work His perfect will through you. This was a responsibility that we did not take lightly, but I believe God answered our prayers, and clearly directed in putting the teams together.
There were a few familiar faces in the group, and it was a delight to have Donald Staddon serve on Wisdom Walk for the week. Donald and I had worked together in Mongolia for several months, and I was glad to see him again, and to meet his sister Esther who also came to assist with the seminar. Donald and I enjoyed good fellowship with Blake and Daniel on our drives between the house and the church each day.
Shelley and Erin Hunsberger also came down for the first couple days, preparing a hearty meal for the teachers each evening, and assisted Madison with the song leading. They were not able to be with us for the whole week, but it was a blessing to see them again. The Hunsberger family had greatly helped my family several years ago when we moved out of our home in Maryland.
We began each teacher training time by singing a few hymns and then having a time of prayer with our “Prayer Partner” for the week. It was very special to see God answering specific prayers as we committed each night to the Lord, asking God to do His work through us. We can tell stories and teach lessons, but only God can touch hearts and change lives.
On Wednesday evening, I was planning to share a personal illustration, a time when I needed to go back and clear my conscience after telling a lie about seeing a bear. I knew the story well, (of course), but I remember sitting on a bench in the back of the room, staring at my outline. I was feeling somewhat tired, and didn’t know how I was going to have the enthusiasm to tell the story. I was even struggling with trying to come up with a clear message to give at the conclusion of the story.
Slipping back into another room for some personal prayer time, I was suddenly reminded of something. Just before traveling to Virginia, I had gotten a call from our local library that two books I had ordered had come in. One of these, actually requested by my brother David, was entitled “Why God Used D.L. Moody” by R. A. Torrey. -I highly recommend it.
Reading a few paragraphs from this little book before giving it to David that evening, I was struck by the power of the message. One of key reasons God used D.L. Moody was because he was emptied of self-sufficiency, and depended on the power of God. I convinced David to let me read the book on the way to the airport the next morning, and left it in the van when I parted.
Suddenly it struck me. I had just prayed a few hours ago that God would empty me of self-sufficiency, and now God was just answering that prayer! With the encouragement of this thought, I felt a new excitement and grace flow through me, and committing the story to the Lord, I went on to tell the story that night with an energy that only came from the Lord.
Thursday evening was a night that I had been looking forward to since before the seminar began. As I had done at the Shorewood Children’s Seminar, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a testimony of our Loving Shepherd, the Lord who had been with our family as we went through the time of Isaac’s sudden illness and unexpected death in Mongolia.
More than anything else, I wanted the children to see the value of eternal things, and the lovingkindness that the Lord showed to our family through that time. Without Christ there is no meaning and no hope, but with a perspective fixed on eternal things, what the world calls tragedy become a glorious anticipation of endless joy with our Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank you to those who were praying for this story in particular. I believe God answered our prayers in a special way. Several were in tears, but it seems like the message came across. I showed them the character posters that Isaac had designed shortly before his death, and after the story I let the students choose one per family that they could take home as a memory. I had some neat conversations with some of the students afterwards.
Saturday morning began the final day of the Children’s Seminar. For the last large group, I was planning to tell the story of David and Goliath, and have some of the older students act out the various parts. After watching a number of skits through the week, I anticipated that they would enjoy this kind of opportunity.
Well, as the day moved on like a freight train on a downhill track, there simply was not the time to pull aside the older students to plan the story. I didn’t even have a chance to talk with the other teachers about a backup plan before I was scheduled to start my “mouse” story. The David and Goliath story was supposed to follow right after the mouse story, so I was left with the perplexing situation of trying to figure out what to do.
God tells us in James chapter one that if we lack wisdom, we should ask the Lord, who gives it freely to all. This was clearly a situation where the Lord gave a special insight of wisdom in how to handle the situation. After finishing the mouse story, I turned to the children again and asked, “How many of you enjoyed watching the skits through the week?” A titter of approval moved through the group. “Did you ever wish you could be in a story?” More affirmative response. “How would you like to see the inside story of how we put one of those skits together?” I asked, with a big smile.
They were thrilled with the idea, and eagerly took up the various parts of the story. We had enough students for soldiers on both sides, (with balloons for swords), sheep, David’s brothers, King Saul, armor bearers, and army captains, in addition to the main parts of David and Goliath. One of the students played the part of David, and Blake agreed to be Goliath.
Gathering backstage, they all chose props and costumes for their parts. This was the moment they had been waiting for! After some briefing on the general outline of events, clarifying various parts and setting up the video camera, we had a word of prayer, and then launched into the story. It was mainly the teachers remaining in the audience, but I told the story as if we were doing it in front of a hundred children.
To say that they enjoyed it would be an understatement. The creativity and spontaneity of the different parts was really fun to see, and they did a good job following the cues of the narrator. Bringing a memorable closing to a very special week, I am sure that this story was one of the highlights for both teachers and children.
The flight back to Minnesota proved to be almost as exciting as the one to D.C. We left the house a few minutes later than we had planned, but with plenty of time to be at the airport two hours before the flight. What I hadn’t planned for was a significant delay caused by a semi wreck along the road that we were traveling to the airport.
Finally reaching the airport, I had another surprise awaiting me. I had never seen security lines that long! There must have been over 500 people in several different lines waiting to go through the security checkpoints to the gate area. The Conrads helped me locate what seemed to be the shortest line, and after saying goodbye, I slowly inched through the line, praying that I would have enough time to make it to my airplane.
As I neared the end of the line, I looked at my watch again. I knew that it was going to be close, but I had a confidence that the Lord was going to work it out for the best, no matter what happened. (The airline I was flying also allowed standby on a later flight, if I was to miss my plane.)
Crossing the security checkpoint, I quickly tied my shoes, and picking up my briefcase and bag, I walked as quickly as I dared to the terminal. Thankfully there were no additional lines or delays, and I arrived at the gate less than two minutes before my seating area was called for boarding. As I looked around at the empty seats around me, I was again grateful for the Lord’s blessing in letting me make the flight.
Arriving back at our farm, I showed my family a video of the David and Goliath skit, and shared some reports of what the Lord did through the seminar in Virginia. They had “stayed by the stuff”, but they will share in the reward. They may never fully know all that God did in answer to their prayers, but our Father which sees in secret will reward them openly.
Last Wednesday was another special moment for the Waller family as Samuel and Sarah followed the example and command of our Lord Jesus in water baptism. Although this does not bring salvation, it is an important opportunity to publicly identify with Christ, and remember what He has done for us.
The Lord continues to bring opportunities for us to give testimony of His love and faithfulness, and the next few weeks have us scheduled to share at several different churches and meetings. Please continue to pray for us, that the Lord will fill us with His grace as we share, and that people will see God’s great love and faithfulness which is so much better and more important than our little imperfect family.
We are currently planning to return to Mongolia as a family on October 19th. One-year open-ended tickets give us flexibility with our return date, and we trust the Lord to continue to lead and guide in these decisions. The work in Mongolia is currently operating with a small team, but a full schedule is already in the plans for the fall as they anticipate our return.
I am looking forward to our return to the work in Mongolia, and although it will involve more stretching and growing, there is a great joy in knowing that you are right in the center of God’s will. These final weeks at home are quickly filling up as we make plans to get together with various friends and family. We would appreciate your continued prayers for wisdom as we try to make the best use of the days that the Lord has given us here.
- Thank you so much for praying for the Children’s Program in Winchester! We had an incredible week that exceeded our expectations. I am so grateful for the teachers that God raised up, and for the children that came. The Lord’s blessing was clearly evident throughout the week.
- Praise the Lord for a very good time of sharing last Sunday at the Wilderness Fellowship campground. Our family was given the opportunity to lead the Sunday service, and I believe it was a blessing for all of us. Afterwards we enjoyed good fellowship with a number of families that stayed for a fellowship meal.
- We would appreciate your prayers for our family as we share at the Skonewood Christian Retreat next Sunday on September 10th. We are grateful for the opportunity to share of God’s love and grace, and pray that He will encourage many people through our testimony.
- Please pray that the Lord will give us wisdom as we try to finalize the details of getting airline tickets issued for our travel to Mongolia. These will likely need to be mailed to us from Mongolia. (Regular airmail takes three weeks to reach an address in the States.)
- The baggage allowances have changed significantly since our family traveled to Mongolia last year, so pray that the Lord will give us wisdom on which items will be most important for us to carry with us.
I was so encouraged to see the maturity of the team of teachers that
the Lord raised up to serve in the Winchester Children’s Seminar.
After sharing about my brother Isaac on Thursday evening, I went
around to the teams and gave the students posters to take home as a
special memory from the story. Isaac had designed these posters in
Mongolia shortly before the Lord called him Home.
The latest creative project… Samuel spearheaded this one, building a
raft with some empty five gallon buckets. The challenge was to come
up with a design the would not damage the buckets, and could be
disassembled for transport. Well done, Samuel!
Matthew helps pound in some nails left over from the old cedar shake
roof on a small shed. We all worked together to replace the roof.
Sarah and Samuel shared their testimony of faith in Jesus Christ,
and then were baptized as a public testimony of their decision to
follow the Lord. The same pastor baptized my parents in the same
lake over twenty years ago.
Under the shade of a tree, Dad reads from a biography to the younger
ones. We have all enjoyed the time together as a family this summer.
You can see many more new pictures on the Prayer Update section our family website
A few days ago I was watching Rachelle turn another batch of pancakes on our griddle, and started thinking, “I wonder how many pancakes we eat in a year?…” According to my calculations, with pancakes for breakfast an average of twice a week, our family eats over ten thousand pancakes in a year!
Thank you for your continued prayers for our family! I believe the Lord is doing a special work through the opportunities that He has given us to share of His faithfulness. Thanks for being a part of that work!
Adam Waller ~ MyAllForChrist@CadLinx.com
Family Website ~ http://cadlinx.com/wallerfamily
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” – Galatians 6:9
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