When you leave, everything you experience outside of Kansas will be measured against all you know here. And none of it will make any sense. -P.S. Baber
Three surprising encounters were to unfold as I received an email from Mission Aviation Fellowship HQ. A church in Goodland, Kansas was requesting a speaker for their missions Sunday. Now Goodland is as west as you can get in Kansas, in fact, it is where the Mountain Time Zone begins! It is closer to Denver than Wichita, but my roots are from a place on the way to Goodland, so I jumped on the opportunity.
Over the weeks preceding my trip, I got to know the pastor, whose congregation I was to address. He is a long-time MAF supporter and simply wanted to introduce his church to this organization and its unique mission. We exchanged emails and phone calls sorting out the details the presentation would need to fit into.
I knew Goodland a bit from my early years. I passed it going to and returning from Denver, my home for a time when visiting my family a couple of hours east of Goodland. It was a normal pitstop by car, air, and even bus. In fact, my husband and I stopped in Goodland just last year for a picnic when returning from a family reunion in the mountains of Colorado.
However, it had been a long time since I had, if ever, stayed in Goodland. Since it was a 4.5-hour drive and the service was at 9 AM Sunday, I went up the day before. This allowed time to set up the display and chat with the pastor. I had considered flying, but the weather and load limitations of my little airplane made the car more practical in this case.
Three Surprising Encounters
As a MAFAdvocate, I am invited into a wonderful variety of situations. From airshows, and various kinds of churches to aviation organizations, it is an adventure of discovery. However, the story of MAF and of its over 75 years of service to the isolated people of the world always resonates. In Goodland:
- It felt like home, familiar, warm, and inviting – the hospitality was welcoming and joy-filled.
- Although not the exact denomination I grew up in, the format was not unfamiliar. It was nice to step back into a liturgical worship service. The pastor ensured I was completely at ease.
- I also crossed paths with an alumnus from my one year of formal college in Salina, Kansas. Neither of us remembered the other, but we reminisced about some of the same classes and professors we had.
I look forward to staying in contact with this church. I am grateful for the opportunity to visit the land where I grew up. To see a real Kansas sunset and sunrise, enjoy genuine Kansas hospitality, and breathe the air of wide open spaces.