SPOKANE, WASHINGTON: HIGH SCHOOL REUNION
In the past month, I have journeyed to Washington State (where I was born and raised), to Portland, Oregon (where Sharon and I met, married, and had daughters Laina and Leslie), to Switzerland, France, and Holland (where we lived and served for many years, planting churches). It almost felt like a journey through life.
We drove to Spokane to join 100+ of my classmates for a high school reunion (can you guess which one?). Our daughter’s Kristin and Stephanie joined us, I think to see if I really did go to high school and had friends :-). Several people thought they were classmates who had aged really well. While there, we also got to see our newest family member, Aubrey (see photo).
It was great to connect with long-time friends, and have the privilege to speak at a reunion fellowship breakfast where more than 80 gathered. My friend pastor Gary Barkert and I interviewed several of our classmates about how they came to know Jesus and the difference it made in their lives.
We started this fellowship gathering at our 10th reunion with 14 people attending. The growth in the number of classmates who have become Christ-followers over the years is wonderful. We had some significant conversations with friends who a decade or so ago were closed to the Gospel but, by God’s grace, whose hearts have softened. Please pray that they and others will step into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son.
GENEVA SWITZERLAND: TWO CROSSROADS CHURCHES
Leaving Sharon with our daughter Kristin and son-in-law Cory in southern Washington, I flew to Geneva where we lived for four years while launching the Crossroads Church. The church we started meets just across the border from Geneva in the French city of Ferney Voltaire. I spent several days connecting with dear friends and leadership at the Crossroads. Pictured below are the two pastors of the Crossroads Ferney (on each side of me), and Justus Heyman the pastor of the Crossroads Thoiry.
INTERLAKEN SWITZERLAND: TRACTION RETREAT
From Geneva, it was on to Interlaken where it was my privilege to help staff the Traction retreat September 18-24. Started and led by Daniel Hahn, this is the 7th year of this gathering for men who work cross-culturally. Sessions and counseling focused on themes like managing stress, reconnecting with God, cultivating character in leadership, honoring God with our sexuality, and persevering in the face of adversity.
The 60+ missionaries attending were from ARMENIA, BANGLADESH, BELIZE, BURKINA FASO, CAMEROON, CENTRAL AMERICA, CHINA, COLUMBIA, CROATIA, CZECH REPUBLIC, ETHIOPIA, HAITI, HUNGARY, ISRAEL, JAPAN, JORDAN, KAZAKHSTAN, KENYA, LIBERIA, MALAYSIA, MALTA, MONGOLIA, MOZAMBIQUE, NAMIBIA, NEPAL, POLAND, RUSSIA, SPAIN SINGAPORE, SOUTHEAST ASIA, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, TAJIKISTAN, TANZANIA, TUNISIA, TURKEY, UNITED KINGDOM, ZIMBABWE. Above is a shot of the men in front of me (there were others behind) walking to a barbecue site one evening.
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC: CHURCH PLANT AND “THE THREE WISE MEN”
Following the Traction week, I flew to Prague with fellow Traction retreat counsellors Donnie Valliere and Hud McWilliams. We had a series of meetings to encourage and coach church planters Marek and Cori Tylova and some of those they work with. After a couple of days interaction, Cori referred to us as the “3 Wise Men.”
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS: TWO MORE CROSSROADS
Following our time in Prague, we set off for Holland where Hud spoke at the Crossroads Hague (in Dutch: Den Haag) and I spoke at the Crossroads Amsterdam. This is where our family spent another five years starting the Crossroads Amsterdam, which then sent out Dan and Ann Steigerwald to start the church in the Hague.
It was encouraging to see that these churches have grown, and to meet so many who we knew while planting these churches (and Geneva too). One woman came up to me after my message and told me that she was a Muslim before coming to the Crossroads while we lived in Amsterdam. It was encouraging to hear stories like hers and to meet with the Crossroads leadership in the churches we helped start, and to see how these churches continue to lift up Christ and see people come to know Jesus.
In the morning I fly back to meet Sharon and begin our drive home…and continue our training around the world. Thank you for partnering with us.
Linus and Sharon
…for even when I was in (America, Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia) you sent me aid again and again…. I am looking for what may be credited to your account…a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.
—Linus’ paraphrase of Phil. 4:16-18