One wrong turn deserves another…

This past weekend we had an experience that captures one of the challenging facets of deputation. Since we’re traveling to different churches to talk about our calling to Taiwan, we find ourselves in a new place almost every week.

After checking in at our hotel, getting some Wendy’s, and playing at a park, we realized we needed some things from a grocery store. Now in situations like this, a GPS is a very helpful tool. Usually.

Since the GPS already knows we’re in a small town in Tennessee, we just need to tell it to look for grocery stores nearby. There’s one .2 miles away. Great! We should be able to see it from here.

A short drive later, we’re sitting in an empty parking lot, looking at an empty building. Not discouraged, I located the next grocery store, which I’d correctly remembered was .4 miles away from our hotel. As we approach the address, I experience déjà vu. The GPS is telling me to drive to a half-empty parking lot at a large shopping center. The empty half is in front of an empty building, the (former) Food Lion, according to the GPS.

Next stop? There’s a Kroger .7 miles away, and it looks like we’re already headed the right direction.

Oops. This neighborhood doesn’t look like there’s a big grocery store in it. I should have checked the map before I started driving, so now I check it on a side road while someone behind me waits to get to her mailbox. Hmm. Kroger is on the other side of the river, so we have to drive almost 2 miles to a bridge, then almost 2 miles back.

On the beautiful drive to Kroger, we laugh about how hard it is to find the most basic things in a new place, and talk about how glad we are that we’re still doing it in English.

One day (hopefully not too far in the future) we’ll have to do all this in Mandarin Chinese. The bright side is that we’ll get to settle down and not be in a new town every week. We’re really looking forward to learning our neighborhood: knowing where the post office is, where the grocery stores are, and which intersections don’t offer good openings for left turns. We even more excited about getting to know neighbors, vendors, and clerks as we look for opportunities to build relationships and speak the truth.

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