We left on Friday and drove to Belleville, Ontario, where we spent the night. On Saturday we drove on to Westland, Michigan; and we were able to eat dinner at Danny's cousin Jimmy's house with his wife Sarah and their girls, as well as Sarah's parents. Jimmy was already hard at work in Grand Rapids, as people started arriving on Saturday and he was in charge of hospitality. The people of Michigan did a great job hosting this year's National. We spent the night near Westland and then attended church with Jimmy and his family at Community FWB Church on Sunday morning. After the service we ate lunch, made a quick stop at Bigby for coffee and hot chocolate, and then we were off to Grand Rapids. We were ready to see our girl!
Tuesday night we attended the service and then headed back to the room to get Jonathan and Jacob in bed while everyone else went to see the Skit Guys. Joshua was able to go with Nana and Pappaw and had a great time. I had my own little adventure. I went to help get set up for Wednesday's GPS event, which took longer than expected. When I left to go back to the room, I tried to take the shortcut that we had been taking all week, but when I got to the hotel entrance, they had pulled a gate down and blocked access. So, I turned around and went back the other direction, only to find that I had been locked in between two access points. My only option was to go outside. I went around the outside and knocked on the window to get the cleaning lady to let me in, and despite my showing her my identification badge, she would not let me in. I had to stop, get my bearings, and figure out the best way to get to the motel from the outside (that place was huge). I figured it out quickly and jogged around the building in my dress and flip flops until I reached the motel entrance closest to me. I will admit, that was not my favorite moment of the week....scary!
At the Sunday night North American Ministries dinner, Joshua met one of our chaplains, Roy Swisher. Last night, during family devotions, Joshua wanted to pray for Bro. Roy, so we did. Every year at the National we are told repeatedly that we are loved and prayed for, and that is such an encouragement to us. It was a blessing to see that Joshua had it on his heart to pray for one of our chaplains in the same way. I pray that he always has a heart that is sensitive to the Lord and others. One of the great things about taking our children to the National is that they see that we are not alone in ministry. There are many others all over the world who are also ministering in different cultures and different people groups. There are many other families who face the same struggles and challenges we do, but it is all worth it if we can share the gospel with those who have never heard.