Posted by: ritagone | October 30, 2013

A Memorable Trip

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I just came back from three full days back in the birthplace of America, Williamsburg and Jamestown, Virginia.  With beautiful fall weather, warm enough that you could manage without a jacket most of the time, leaves beginning to turn on the trees, a little nip in the air of the cold that is to come, Dudley Callison, the President of Christian Associates, and I, went back there to visit one of our supporting churches, Williamsburg Chapel, and to say “thank you” for their generosity to missionaries on the field with CA in our project in Brussels, Belgium, called The Well.

By doing some intensive research, we have realized that our top “donors” are not only individuals but churches across the country who have supported missionaries (usually sent out from their membership to a specific city in the world, mainly in Europe).  And we realized that we never have taken an opportunity to face these people in person and just say how much we appreciate the years of faithfulness that makes it possible for our staff to continue doing the great work that they are doing.

So all the arrangements were made (and that was nice for me, not having to plan it at all), and off we went.  We each stayed at the home of a church family, which is a lovely way to get to know people even better.  I stayed with a delightful couple and their two daughters and five-month-old Wheaten Terrier puppy, and we hit it off instantly.  In fact, it was difficult to say good-bye to my hostess Monday when I was all packed up and ready to make the shift to a hotel closer to the airport for a speedy and early departure Tuesday morning on a 7 a.m. flight out of Richmond, Virginia.  I think I’ve made a friend that will go way beyond a three-night stay in her home, for sure.  And that was a special perk of the trip.

Our luncheon at the church after the second service was a huge success.  We had invited 25 people, and 23 showed up, not a bad return.  The church café provided sandwiches and salad and drinks and cookies, and Dudley provided the short talk to inform everyone of not only their generous giving (these were the couples and singles who are the main support of our CA missionaries in Brussels, for the most part, except for those who couldn’t attend the luncheon for one reason or another) but CA’s history, vision for the future, and mission.  So they learned a little bit more about the mission organization which takes care of the people they sent to us, people they love deeply because they were a vibrant part of their fellowship before they left to move to Brussels, and we put faces to CA for them.  And we put faces to their generosity.

Win-win.

And the bonus to all of this was getting to spend an entire day Saturday walking up and down the dusty dirt street of Old Colonial Williamsburg, an adventure not to be missed should you ever find yourself in that part of our country.  There was a wonderful farmers market (held every Saturday weather permitting, I’m told), contemporary shops (including one of my favorites here, Chico’s womens’ clothing, with an entirely different wardrobe than what I’d find in Westlake Village, interestingly enough), and also including a jewelry store where I found a necklace with a Byzantine cross on it that I fell in love with and had to buy.  There were restaurants aplenty, little taverns where different beers were served, park areas where kids could climb on trees that were probably planted by someone in the 1600’s and were now stately and multi-branched, the perfect kids’ climbing tree.  And then there were the colonial replicas, buildings housing wigmakers and candlemakers, complete with costumed people out front enticing you in, speaking the language of 17th century America.  Delightful!

And as a wonderful bonus to the bonus, it was William & Mary College’s Homecoming weekend, so milling around in the crowds were alumni from the ‘80’s and ‘70’s and before and after.  If you’re traveling with Dudley, you stop and talk to people.  And so we did.  And that was a hoot.  Just finding out more about the college (which is literally right up the road from where you walk about sightseeing) was fascinating, and where people who were there for the weekend had scattered to and what they were now doing, what compelled them to come back for this particular weekend, or did they come back every year for homecoming?

Of course, while we were all walking about, what should come down the dirt road but the fife and drum band pictured above?  Like its ancestral counterpart, it is made up mostly of teens, and they sounded marvelous.  We also found out that the fife and the drum instruments were actually used to signal the military as to next moves in battle.  Did you know that?

On Monday, with no appointments, Dudley and I spent a few hours at Jamestown, wandering around what is one of the most peaceful, serene tourist sites I’ve ever seen.  There were few visitors, the weather was again gorgeous, and we stood where the original settlers actually landed their ship and began to make a life, as difficult as that turned out to be.

I’m not usually a big American history buff, having always preferred British history instead.  But my husband loves American history, so I bought him what I was told was the best history book in the extensive bookstore there.  And when he’s through, I want to read it too.

Because, having been there in person, I have a deeper love and appreciation for those early pioneers and their tenacity and determination to get the job done, no matter how high the cost.  And it was a high price they paid, for sure!

Reminded me of missionaries moving to other parts of the world and doing the same.

All in all, a memorable trip, and one I’d like to do again.

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