After a long flight delay, Wilian and Erly arrived in Denver on Wednesday evening. On Thursday morning, they joined me and some members of my church in bringing Communion to one of my home-bound members who had just turned 103 years old. Thursday evening, my church held a dinner gathering, and Wilian presented to them about the work of YPM. You can view his presentation here. It has been viewed 18 times already, and we had about 30 people in attendance Thursday night.
On Friday, we went to a Mac store in Ft. Collins to purchase a new computer for Wilian. Afterward, we drove 3 hours to Scottsbluff, Nebraska and checked into our hotel (we got to see some antelope along the way). We explored the area a little, and, thanks to a kindly and talkative park ranger, Wilian and Erly were introduced to covered wagons and the history of the Oregon Trail and got to see a big horned sheep. We had dinner with the Presbytery staff – the Executive Presbyter, Acting Stated Clerk, and Administrator. The Acting Stated Clerk, Michael Fitzsimmons, was very interested in the mission of YPM. He and his wife intend to go on our mission trip in June, and he offered to help with fundraising. He knows the owners of 3 large construction companies in Colorado and has offered to set up a lunch with them to encourage corporate sponsorship of YPM.
Saturday morning we attended the Presbytery meeting in Scottsbluff where Wilian preached for the worship service and I shared about the Presbytery’s partnership with YPM and future mission trip. It was all very well received, and Wilian’s sermon was referenced several times throughout the meeting. We ate lunch at the top of Scottsbluff, and then we took Wilian and Erly to meet their host from the church there at the Legacy of the Plains museum. One of the members of the church was celebrating her 95th birthday party at the museum, which would have been impressive if they hadn’t just met a woman who is 103. Jason and I returned to Loveland, and Wilian and Erly spent lots of time exploring the museum. Later that evening, their host took them to meet with a family from the Yucatan who is living with and working for another member of the church.
Sunday morning, Wilian preached for the church in Scottsbluff, and another member of the church brought them back to our home in Loveland that evening.
Monday morning, we woke up to snow falling. Wilian and Erly enjoyed making and throwing snowballs and taking lots of photos and videos. They were very grateful for the jackets Cynthia provided! We made a presentation to the mission committee of the largest church in our Presbytery, First Ft. Collins. Ten minutes after we left, the pastor texted to say they had decided to support us with $2000! We drove to Greeley for lunch with the pastor and some members of a small church there. The pastor left us with a check for $100 from her discretionary fund. Wilian showed the video of the graduation on his phone, and she cried all the way through it. After lunch, we got a private tour of the Colorado Model Railroad Museum, thanks to the aforementioned Michael Fitzsimmons, who sits on the museum’s board. It was a unique and fascinating experience. Next, we drove out to Ft. Morgan, a small town on the eastern plains, for a dinner and presentation to the church there. The pastor of that church, Michael Gross, also plans to join our mission team in June. They are working on an initiative in that church to be more connected to the population of resettled refugees from Africa and South America, so our visit was well-timed.
Tuesday we had planned to go to the mountains, but the weather was awful and we were all too tired from so much travel. Wilian and Erly wanted to pick up some souvenirs and t-shirts for the boys, so I took them to Sierra Trading Company. They had a great time shopping there and found a little something for everyone. After lunch in Ft. Collins with Jason, we returned home, and I introduced them to Netflix. They found a series called “All American” and learned what binge watching is. It was a good day of rest for everyone.
Overall, the trip was a great success. We drove over 600 miles, met with and talked with 5 different churches in addition to the whole Presbytery, and procured $7100 in donations to YPM (one of my church members gave a generous donation as well). The videos Wilian shared with me are beautiful. They have a young man who graduated from film school who is making promotional videos for the school as well as the videos of the professors for the “flipped classroom” model we heard about earlier this year. We had many good discussions about the vision for the school and for YPM, and the future is bright. Wilian and Erly likely need a month to recover from this whirlwind trip, but I’m certain they were back to work the day after they returned home. Thanks be to God for safe travels, new connections, and a hopeful future.