Good evening Y’all!  April has been a crazy month with several adventures.  This one begins in a road trip to be remembered.  We were getting ready to embark on an amazing journey meeting wonderful people and learning incredible things that I will remember for years.

On our way to the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance National Response Team meeting.  One of my fellow PDA YAVS sadly was not feeling well and had a six hour drive ahead of her.  we started down the road and everything was going swimmingly until her stomach got a little to upset and we had to pull over to the side of the road.  After completing her business she returned to the van and we drove off, little to our knowledge at the time, we had gashed the sidewall of the tire as we drove away.  A minute down the road the tire pressure sensor went off, so we pulled over to the side of the road and sure enough we had a flat.  Now this was the beginning of an adventure.  It took us a solid twenty minutes to find the spare tire, after finding it we spent another 15-20 minutes trying to figure out how to get it out of its hiding space.  Once we had the tire changed it was time to find a tire store to fix the tire so we could be on our way.  We found a little hole in the wall tire repair shop who took a look at the tire and realized it was unrepairable, and they didn’t have any tires to fit our vehicle so they kindly directed us towards another shop about twenty minutes away.  So off we went, when we arrived they kindly told us that they too did not have a tire that would fit the van.  They said to go check out Walmart, so we did.  Finally someone had a tire for our van, and off we went, back on our way to St. Louis.  My poor cohort was still not feeling well and we had to stop a couple more times for her.  After what was supposed to be a six hour trip, turned into ten hours, we had finally arrived for an AMAZING meal.

At the conference we learned so many things about being a ministry of presence to those effected by disasters both man made and natural.  Being able to speak with the people who have responded to these disasters and getting to hear their stories, both happy and sad ones, I started to get a sense of the kind of person it takes to be a responder to these situations.  While there I participated in a seminar on human caused disasters (shootings, bombings and other man made disasters.)  This was an invaluable resource to me, this is the kind of disaster work that intrigues me the most.  In that seminar I was able to sit down and speak with the General Presbyter of Newtown Connecticut and hear his stories about the Sandy Hook incident that rocked our nation.  It was interesting hearing how sometimes giving to much can hurt a disaster response. Here is a great article by CBS News on the topic of helping to much.  After a wonderful week filled with incredible seminars and amazing people, it was time to leave.  This will be a trip that sticks with me for the rest of my life as I discern how my path interweaves with disaster response.

The trip home thankfully was not as eventful as our trip there but it was filled with wonderful conversation with three of my mentors.  To Liz, and Bill Branch, To Ray Stephens, and to Eden Roberts, I want to thank you for an incredible trip!


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