This morning I had a great opportunity to meet with a Bible study of 20 or more guys from both local congregations in Norfolk as well as other communities within a drive of 30 minutes or so. They’ve been gathering every other Tuesday for 13 years to study various books of the Bible (they’re currently starting the Gospel of John). However Pastor Chris was good enough to allow me the opportunity to speak to the guys instead.
After everyone loaded up on breakfast burritos and coffee!
Afterwards it was time to strategize for the next stage of our trip. What I discovered is that while Norfolk is a lovely community, it’s next to impossible to get out of unless you have a vehicle! After quite a bit of searching and strategizing, I figured out we could take a Greyhound from Norfolk to Omaha, and then rent a car in Omaha for the last half of our trip. Everything worked out, thankfully, though there were some stressful moments.
The most stressful was getting the bus ride out of Norfolk. I found one line that offered a daily shuttle to Omaha. I confirmed that the route was still running in these strange waning days of COVID. Then I made sure I could rent a suitable vehicle in Omaha. Then I went back to the bus line and tried to lock in the shuttle tickets, only to be told there were no more tickets available!
They made a big point as we were being vetted through the application process for serving as overseas workers that flexibility was an important attribute. The ability to roll with the punches, adapt to changing circumstances, and problem solve on the fly are all essential, and in some parts of the world more so than others!
That was all necessary as I started to panic in the Norfolk Public Library! Then, after a few moments, an e-mail popped up indicating my purchase of five bus tickets to Omaha was confirmed. I could have sworn I didn’t complete the purchase process, and yet there was the confirmation number and receipt. I was thrilled!
In the afternoon we were privileged with a tour of the headquarters of Orphan Grain Train. OGT is an amazing non-profit that ships necessary relief items to dozens of countries around the world as well as most of the states in the US. If there’s a natural disaster, there’s a good chance Orphan Grain Train will be one of the first responders with massive 40-foot shipping containers full of food, clothes, medical supplies, and various other necessities.
It started in Norfolk so we were able to see their administrative headquarters as well as tour their warehouse and shipping center, one of more than a dozen scattered around the United States. What a great opportunity to see how the Holy Spirit can utilize a few people in a (comparatively) small town to make a decisive difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world!
That evening we made dinner for our friends and hosts the Asburys – bratwurst and fresh corn on the cob. We played a great family game afterwards before making our way back to our hotel to pack up and prepare for moving on the next morning. It’s been a beautiful visit to this peaceful part of the country, a chance to see the life our friends have built for themselves here over the last almost 15 years. We look forward to gathering with them again in two years (God-willing!) to share stories of how our time together has blossomed (if on a smaller scale than OGT!) into a blessing for many, many people around the world!