From Milwaukie, OR

Mark and I are parked in my sister, Sherill’s, driveway for the duration.  (That phrase — “For the duration” — is, I believe, from WWII.)  We will be here until we leave for Oklahoma.

We came here from the retreat at the coast.  I am so glad we got to go.  We had a wonderful time reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.  I would not have had that kind of time to spend with people if we had simply gone to a Sunday morning service.  I was able to have incredibly deep conversations with people and learn about their lives.  I learned things I never knew before about people I’d known for years.

We shared the retreat with the Latino church that meets in our building, so the whole weekend was bilingual.  Pastor Ken speaks fluent Spanish, so he translated for both sides.  We did a community exercise where we talked about what makes us come alive.  The Latinos as often as not mentioned their families and especially the children.  In practice I observed that their whole community treated each child as part of a very large family.  Even though I lived in Mexico for several months in 2007, I never got to observe this kind of emphasis on family there.  It was eye-opening!

I had brought a 3-D puzzle for an activity to do there, and I got to know people in the hours we spent working on that.  It still wasn’t finished by this afternoon, so I asked one of those who seemed to get into it the most if he would take it home and finish it and send me a picture.  There’s no room in the RV to put it together, and I knew that he was torn last night between wanting to work on it some more and being responsible to lead another activity.  This way he can see it to completion.

The food was excellent.  Mark put on weight overnight because they fed us so well.  The staff were so good to us, including praying for our weekend.  The accommodations were top notch.  If you ever get to go to a retreat at Twin Rocks Friends Camp, it would be well worth the trip.

When we got back to my sister’s place and got the RV all set up behind her garage, she invited us in for dinner.  It was nice to be able to tell her and her husband all about our weekend.  Then she graciously allowed me to bring my project in to work on it on her table.

We also listened to the news and 60 Minutes with them.  There was a story about a case of air rage:  a plane passenger striking a toddler because it cried.  Where does road rage and air rage come from?  What is happening to people?  We are all beautiful creations, worthy of being treated with respect.  I dislike watching the news and hearing about all the bad things in the world.  Better than that story was the one about Mercy Africa, a hospital ship that sails from port to port along the coast of Africa and the doctors and nurses who look at patients with horrifically disfigured faces and see the person trapped inside.  They perform surgeries, take care of dental problems, restore sight to the blind.  They live out Christ to those whom society shuns.  This is what is missing in a world full of rage.  I’m glad I was able to make connections with people this weekend.

2 thoughts on “From Milwaukie, OR

  1. It was great getting to see and know you and Mark more at the retreat Denise. Pics of the 3D puzzle will come, just as soon as Erin and I can find some time to finish it. It might be a while 🙂 Well wishes and prayers go with you to Oklahoma.

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