Learning How to Fly

June 3, 2006

The entire Keep Believing Ministries (KBM) board, more or less, has assembled in Tupelo for our first-ever board retreat. MaryAnn Spiegel and Dave Hoy arrived at the Tupelo airport mid-afternoon yesterday. Cliff and Phyllis Raad drove 625 miles from Chicago to get here. Because we live out in the country, I sent Cliff an email with 40 different steps on how to get to our cabin in the woods. When they got close to Tupelo, Dave Hoy and I drove to meet them at mile marker 270 on the Natchez Trace. We got there about 20 seconds before they showed up. Peter and Judy Faulkner drove all the way from Valdosta, Georgia (near the Florida border) through Atlanta, then on to Birmingham and finally to Tupelo. They weren’t able to leave until the afternoon and then ran into construction plus bad weather so they didn’t make it until almost midnight. I told Peter to meet me at Exit 93 on Highway 78 coming into Tupelo. Marlene said, “Are you sure that’s the right exit?” I said I thought so. Meanwhile Peter’s cell phone had poor reception so I left a message saying to meet me at the Citgo station near Exit 93. Of course, there is no Exit 93. There is an Exit 94 so Peter drove past it and then doubled back, eventually finding me at the gas station about 11:45 PM. We made it back to the property a few minutes after midnight.
This morning Alan dropped by with Connie’s chicken biscuits and gravy plus blueberry donuts for breakfast. He is on call this weekend and after staying for ten minutes, he had to leave to go to the hospital. I haven’t seen him since then because he’s had a long day of one emergency surgery after another.
Since the weather was beautiful today, we sat on the veranda chatting with each other for a good part of the morning. About 11 AM we started to meet, with Brian Bill joining us by speakerphone from Pontiac, IL. He first called in from a grocery store. At one point we could hear the beep … beep … beep of items being scanned in the checkout line so we asked him if he had enough cash to pay for everything. He laughed and said he thought he could cover it. Later he joined us again for a few minutes until we got cut off. That’s what I mean about the whole board being here, more or less. We heard from everyone at some point during the day.
MaryAnn commented that there is a good mix on the board–visionaries, detail people, let’s-get-it-done types, and everyone has something useful to contribute. It’s quite a challenge to begin from ground zero and talk about everything that goes into a starting a new ministry, but as the clock approaches 11 PM, I can look back and see that we accomplished quite a bit today.
In the middle of the afternoon, we ventured into Tupelo, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Elvis Festival, but the streets were blocked off so we couldn’t see much. I imagine the downtown area is teeming with Elvis impersonators tonight. We had lunch at Fire Station # 1, a tiny coffee shop-type place that serves wonderful barbecue sandwiches with the cole slaw piled on top of the barbecue.
Tonight we met for several hours to hammer out things like our mission statement, our key goals, our Internet strategy, and our financial policies. As we end the day, none of those things has been completed, it’s all a work in progress, but I am going to bed very satisfied both with the progress we have made and with the team the Lord has put together. It’s exciting to see a dream becoming a reality. A few weeks ago I called KBM an “embryonic” ministry. Today Cliff said it was a “fledging,” which means we’ve hatched out of the shell and started taking wobbly steps forward. If God wills, eventually we will learn how to fly.

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