We have been gone the last three weekends and it is nice to travel but equally nice to be home.
The first two weekend we spent at my in-laws. I came home during the week for work and then returned for the 4th of July holiday weekend and we returned home on Monday for a short week and we were on the road again on Friday.
We headed to Duluth to spend time with a friend and to enjoy the area. Duluth is a very popular spot for summer vacations, especially when the weather is nice. The drive up was rather uneventful and the traffic was very sparse. I was surprised because on Friday is when people usually head north for Duluth, the North Shore or the cabin. We made it our standard 2.5 hrs driving time and then enjoyed a great dinner at Black Woods restaurant. No trip to Duluth is complete without a visit to the Portland Malt Shoppe. We enjoyed our ice cream and malts. We went over to Canal Park and Joseph wanted to see the lift bridge and even better, we were “bridged” as they say in Duluth, I was the lead car and the bridge gates went down and the bridge was raised. Our friend, Charlene said that we would probably be here the better part of 45 mins or so depending on how high they raised the bridge. The three of them got out of the car and went over to see the large ship passing underneath while I stayed behind and watched from the distance.
We got home late that night and then stayed up even later discussing all sorts of things from church growth, theology, etc. We value the times when we can participate in these types of conversations. They are “as iron sharpeneth iron”.
The next morning, we really did not have anything planned. I knew that I needed to finish one sermon for Sunday, so I got up fairly early while everything was quiet to study. I was in shock when I opened my bag and realized that I had left all of my notes for Sunday at home! I was not as upset as I normally would be in a situation like that. I knew right where I had left them and remembered getting distracted and forgot to pick them up off the desk. So, I was faced with the task of reconstructing them from what I had been studying for the last several weeks. I missed having my block diagrams, but God was gracious and allowed me to complete this task. Fortunately, I had one sermon already completed and saved on my MacBook!
We had a wonderful day on Saturday, visiting Gooseberry Falls, the Splitrock Lighthouse and Two Harbors. While we were traveling, Charlene told us about one of her hobbies called geocaching. We had heard of this before but had never done it. We decided on the way home that we would stop in Two Harbors and try to find an easy cache. We tried one and got extremely frustrated because we were supposedly within 6 feet of it but could never find it. I have mixed feelings about it. Part of me enjoyed it for the thrill of the hunt, the other part of me got frustrated with it when it seemed like we were going in circles in Two Harbors. The people nearby must have thought we were nuts!
Sunday morning came early and we left around 6:15 for the drive to International Falls, MN where I was scheduled to speak at First Baptist Church. I spoke at this church back on Easter Sunday and they had invited us back. When you do pulpit supply, as I have been recently, you do not normally get invited back to the same place more than once. I was happy to receive another invitation to minister the Word of God to this congregation. Continuing my experiment, I spoke in Sunday School, AM Service and afternoon service from the book of 1 Peter. At the last minute, before the morning service, I was asked to preside over the observance of the Lord’s Supper. I agreed to do this and enjoyed it. It was a great reminder of my seminary training and part of my pastoral internship training. I only made a couple of minor miscues. After preaching, we were hosted for lunch at a local restaurant in town before the afternoon service began at 1:30 pm. In the afternoon service, I attempted to preach from 1 Peter 5 to encourage this congregation regarding their current situation of being without a pastor. When the service concluded, we said our goodbyes and thank-yous and got ready to head back to Duluth. Joseph was able to ring the bell at the church before we left. That has been the highlight of the last two trips for him! We arrived in Duluth and decided to goof off for a while since we had been in the car for almost three hours and still had another two and a half before we arrived at home. Charlene suggested that we go to Canal Park so Joseph could see the lift bridge for one last time. We ordered a pizza from Old Chicago (the Thai pizza was great and is highly recommended) and enjoyed the nice weather before we had to head back home.
Thanks to our friend Charlene for her hospitality and for the First Baptist Church of International Falls, MN for hosting us on Sunday!