Andrea is one of those friends that immediately put you at ease and make you want to get coffee and talk for hours. Someone who you know knows you and loves you anyways. I first met her at candidacy for Malachi in 2003. We had both just graduated from college less than a week before and were both anxious to get on the field and start ministry to military students. In 2005, Anthony and I got placed in Dexheim, Germany (a short year-long assignment that allowed us to work directly with Andrea). Our memories of doing ministry together laid a strong and solid foundation for the friendship we now share.
Through the past 5 years we have seen each other through some difficult times and some of life’s best times including her wedding and the birth of both of my children. We have traveled the globe, making memories in Germany, Paris, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Colorado, and now Illinois and Wisconsin. She now lives in Okinawa, running a Malachi youth group with her husband (David) there which means that we don’t get to see each other all too often.
And that is why we made a point of getting time with each other before our conference begins this week. We stayed with her aunt and uncle (and cousin and his wife) in the suburbs of Chicago. They were such sweet people, opening their home (when really it was already full) and even thinking of our kids (being prepared with toys and dress-up clothes and other baby equipment). And it was lovely to get to just enjoy time with our friends. David and Andrea took us to a climbing wall where they all climbed while the kids and I tumbled around on the mats. The boys graciously took the kids and gave Andrea and me the chance to take a much-longed-for coffee date. Our time together was so refreshing.
Today we are driving up to Green Lake, Wisconsin for a 3 day Malachi (soon to be Cadence Student Ministries) conference followed by a 6 day all Cadence conference (which only happens every 10 years). We are so looking forward to seeing all our Cadence friends and to being settled for 9 whole days!