After two and a half weeks of traveling through the Southern States of America, Roger and I drove across the Florida State Line. Time for a rest stop! And there it was ---the Florida Welcome Center to congratulate us for returning back to the state that we most consider "home."
As we approached the pair of buildings that housed the restrooms and Florida information for tourists, I saw a bus labeled Arrow Stage Lines, parked in the rear of the building. That is the same agency we used for our Tour Buses every time we had brought Ukrainians to the USA for concert tours. It struck a warm chord in my heart.
As I entered the Ladies room, I almost expected to hear Ukrainian chatter accompanied by the sound of flushings and hand driers. But the room was empty.
Was the bus still there? Maybe one of the tour operators (I used to call them drivers) that we know is driving this bus. But to my disappointment, the bus had left. Or was it a dream?
We have such wonderful memories of traveling with the Ukrainian musicians. In many of our stops to visit donors of the mission this year, we are asked, "When are you bringing the Ukrainians back?"
My answer is, "I don't know. It depends upon the economy, the size of group we would bring, and the time it would take to plan another tour." It is hard to predict the future, but one thing we know to be true: Americans miss those glorious KSOC concerts!
I join Roger in the rental car. He grimaces as he sips a plastic cup of machine coffee. "It couldn't be any worse," he says. "That's my last swig." But he needs coffee, to stay awake.
We have been driving today from Woodstock, Georgia, north of Atlanta, with a stop for lunch in Macon with David Todd, one of our earliest donors to Music Mission Kiev. In 1993, at a Ligonier conference in Orlando, one month before we moved to Kiev, David handed me a business card, as we sat together in a lecture, and on that card was written "a grand." Grand piano? No, a pledge of $1,000! That $1000 pledge took us a long way in Kiev where salaries were $1 a day, and rental for the best concert hall in the city was $50.
Today David works for Evangelism Explosion in America, and his dream is train 1,000 leaders who can lead others to Christ, and thereby make a difference in our declining culture.
I love people who have dreams. Roger was full of dreams when we moved to Ukraine. Evidently most of them were God-inspired because they all came true, and God is not finished guiding us to new dreams and new challenges for His glory!
What a life! My goal is to have a passion for life each day. When I wake up, I rise expectantly, wondering what God will call me to do that day, something that without Him is impossible, because to be involved every day in something larger than yourself, THAT is what makes life worth living.
And someday I will cross that "state line" that divides earth from heaven. I will go from my earthly state to my heavenly state. And there will a welcome center, with loved ones and angels and our Lord Jesus Christ eagerly awaiting my arrival, saying, "Welcome home!"