Yesterday Bronwyn and I took the 107 miles journey South to Tupelo to meet with Jeff Robbins and his wife Shari. Jeff and I used to work together at JIFF (Juvenile Intervention and Faith-Based Follow-Up) working with teens court referred to the program. Now Jeff is the pastor of Cornerstone Church in Tupelo, MS. We decided to meet at the church before going to lunch and as soon as we pulled in the parking lot we saw Jeff working on something but with a big smile on his face which seems to always be there. Normally we would have embraced but Jeff had been feeling a little sick so we elbow bumped and he took us on a tour of the church. Cornerstone looks like what a church in Tupelo should look like, rustic wood floors and decor but with a modern style. The church was divided into room and areas for all ages with appropriate furnishings for the younger ones and special places for the older students. As a youth minister and camp director it’s exactly the kind of stuff I like to see at a church. He showed us the sanctuary and it was also homey yet functional which seemed to be exactly what they were going for. They currently have 3 Sunday Morning services which is amazing and I am sure can be quite the logistical game of Tetris on Sunday mornings. After the tour we ate and caught up at Kermits, a really cool local restaurant right on the strip. I had an amazing hamburger and we shared our story of our call to Kenya and how God was working in our lives. We are excited that as a result of the meeting we will be sharing on January 21st at the church, the day after my birthday!
We had posted on Social Media that we would be in Tupelo and if anyone wanted to connect we would love to see them. It just so happens one of the BlueSky staff, Nick Young is from Ponotoc, MS so we met with him and his wife Hannah at StrangeBrew coffee shop. Nick was the only BlueSky staff person we had not gotten a chance to meet so it was great getting to spend time with them. It’s great when you meet someone and sit around a table and within just a few minutes you realize that you’re pretty like minded and you remember that it shouldn’t be too surprising because God is building a pretty amazing team at BlueSky in Kenya and He would want that team to have unity. We sat and shared life for a long time, conversation was easy and I don’t believe there was ever a lull. Makes me just that much more excited to get to Kenya and work with this amazing team. After coffee Nick and Hannah went to do some shopping and we had made dinner plans with friends who live in Tupelo but we had a little time to kill. So we went to Walmart because like I said, time to kill. After picking up some 75-90% off Christmas supplies we head to Russ and Anna Polsgrove’s house.
I have known Russ since we worked together at Camp Lake Stephens 20 years ago. He has been one of my dearest friends and favorite people for pretty much all of that. Russ is currently the pastor at Origins Tupelo and he and Anna have three amazing kids, the oldest of which they adopted from Ethiopia and if I’m being honest she is my favorite seven year old on the planet I’m not related to. We were also thrilled that Ben and Lindsay Rossetti came (with their 3 kids) they had also worked at Camp Lake Stephens, did I mention Anna worked there? I should have because here we are three married couples who had all worked at the same camp right around the same time.
If you have ever been around camp people there is a shorthand and an intimacy that goes way beyond normal. It was favorite meal I have had in a long time. We sat at a bid Henry the Eighth banquet table surrounded by a pretty chaotic seen of chocolate and blueberries, Nerf bullets, lightsabers, and Legos, it’s pretty much what I imagine heaven to be like.
We drove home and crashed after a long day but a day full of friends, fellowship around Jesus, and sharing our story of what God is doing in our lives. Pretty much a perfect day.