Your Valentine’s plan? I’m taking Jenny to Africa.

reception-fam-2I might post once more tomorrow before we head out on our trip…and I hope to post during the trip, but it all depends on Internet access along the way.  Having Jenny with me will be the best.  Leaving the kids for 12 days will be the hardest  (cause they are cute, aren’t they?).

I thought the right thing to do today was to give you the big-picture story of this trip.  Settle in.

I met Danny Buegar when I was in College 15 years ago.  He was an international student in the grad school/seminary, but I knew him as a custodian.  It was his work assignment on campus and he carried it out (like everything else) with excellence and humility.  I later learned his home country of Liberia, Africa was in a Civil War that was wreaking havoc on all the church planting efforts they had worked so hard on there.

Fast forward two years…I meet John Wasem, learn of Suncrest and begin serving here as youth pastor.  Little did I know, John and Danny had forged a friendship years before and Suncrest was already a big supporter of Danny’s church planting ministry.  For a number of years, Danny, Beatrice, and their family would wrestle with returning to Liberia.  They would make trips, but it wasn’t a safe place to live, especially now that Danny had an American education and American connections.  They spent some of their time at Suncrest and then made a decision that is hard for me to imagine.  When there was legitimate justification for them to stay in the comforts of the USA, they returned to their homeland at some risk to spread the gospel.

At suncrest, we give 10% of all offerings away to “missions” and “church planting”.  We choose to support a few people and project in large ways so that we can have a relationship with them and the Buegar’s are the only major relationship we have where we have never visited them, worked with them and encouraged them on “their soil”.  In the past, safety was an issue.  Today, the country has stabilized, but the logistics of such a  trip are just crazy-complicated.

3 months ago, our missions team learned of a church in Muncie that was sending a container of supplies to the Buegar’s.  We wanted to send some things along, so Dan Smith (missions team leader) and his wife Susie took some things when they visited their daughter at Ball St.  There they found out that the container was going in advance of a trip they had planned.  This incredible church that is probably half the size of Suncrest was sending 22 people to Liberia for 12 days in February!  They had 3 spots open on the trip and the Smith’s asked if we could send some people.

The next Saturday I was serving at a flooded house in Munster with other Suncrest people…Susie smith was there and said “How would you like to go to Liberia?”  In one sentence, I said I would love to and that it was probaly impossible.  My travel schedule is worse than ever and 12 more days away from Jenny and the kids would not be a wise choice.  I knew it was important for Suncrest and our misions team, so I floated the idea to Jenny and our missions leaders about her going with me.  Somewhat to my surprise, both were enthusiastic about the idea.

A couple fascinating things to me:  You’d be hard pressed to find any 12 days span in 2009 where I’m not either on the road or Jenny is working at her part time job.  This one fit in perfectly.  I’ll be back just in time for our biggest outreach season of the year.

Still there were questions…mostly centering around $$ and our children.  We were confident the $$ need could be met by people who love us and love the Buegar’s (and it has been).  Then, the same week we learned the trip could be a possibility, we found out Jenny’s sister wanted to come visit in January or February because her work was requiring employees to take their vacation in the first two months of the year (thank you, slow economy).  As it turns out, I pick up “Aunt Bethie” at the airport tonight and our kids are going to have their own 12-day-long-party with one of their favorite people in the world!

So tomorrow we leave with Denise and the 22 people from Muncie.  We have a framework for what will happen over the next 12 days and some of it is overwhelming (400 kids expected at the VBS), but the best preparation is to expect the unexpected.  And why wouldn’t we at this point?  God seems to be doing a lot of that in our lives already.

~ by Greg Lee on February 13, 2009.

3 Responses to “Your Valentine’s plan? I’m taking Jenny to Africa.”

  1. Greg,
    Let me dive right into the selfish speak. I (we) miss you already. Don’t leave! I’m not kidding. Alright, I can’t end it like that. Our family will be praying for you and Jenny. Aunt Bethie and the safety of your little treasurers will be on our collective minds as well. This is a trip of a lifetime and it couldn’t be happening to a group more deserving. Thanks for being you Greg and we look forward to your safe return.

    From ~ John, Maria, Diane and Anthony

  2. WOW Greg – that sounds AWESOME!! What a great, great opportunity! I hope you have the trip of a lifetime (in a good way!?!?!). I’ll look forward to hearing about it when I see you in march!!! Safe travels! Missy Cheeseman

  3. Thank you so much for all Suncrest has done for the Buegars but especially this personal trip to Liberia. I know it means the world to Danny and Bea. I talk to them weekly and do what I can.
    I talked to Dave Rawls today and he gave me somewhat of an update and your blog address so I could see and “hear” more.
    Again, thank you so much; you have no idea how happy this makes me and I know the Buegar’s, the their church family and all those whose lives you touched are as well!

    Blessings, Nancy

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