John, you were right.  Smashburger is the best.  The best tasting hamburger.  And the sweet potato fries with bits of rosemary.  With a cherry Coke.  And a charming 7 month old baby girl seated next to me.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  Sydney is the daughter of Jason and Kelly Pope.

It was lunch this afternoon after the MAP Conference in Grand Rapids.

Some of my personal highlights of the Mission and Purpose Weekend based at the Grand Rapids Kroc Center:

  • John Kim Friday night showing us how Korean grandmothers clap for his son Josh as he runs in a foot race
  • A solemn faced delegate quietly coming up to me then pulling out of his pocket a 12 gauge shotgun … shell, a rifled slug.  He found it Saturday afternoon while part of a I’ll Fight Day Mission crew cleaning up a neighborhood lot.  What do you do with ammunition?  I forgot about it until on the drive home and felt it in my jacket pocket.  Gail suggested I take it out now before I have the TSA people find it on me at an airport.  Good idea.
  • Mary, a Soldier from the Milwaukee West Corps, sent by her Corps Officers, Captains Steve and Latdavanh Kounthapanya.  Mary is Burmese and has a heart for Burmese Christians who have relocated to the USA, struggling to keep their faith while trying to adjust to the American life.  She would like to do something to help minister to them.
  • One young man who saw the promotional cards and is now interested in the St Louis Temple Houses.
  • The chatter all day Saturday after Jason and Kelly Pope’s presentation on organic officership, organic Army.
  • Commissioner Carol Seiler’s Sunday morning message, particularly one phrase, “the freedom of responsibility” which was also flipped around to “responsibility of freedom”.  I immediately cross referenced it to Bonhoeffer’s “world come of age”, a tantalizing phrase in Letters and Papers From Prison.  Human autonomy.
  • Superb food and ‘radical hospitality’ courtesy of the Kroc food department led by Ben Price.  Who holds a degree from Asbury Seminary in missions.  Ben’s theology of the table guides his ministry on the Kroc team.
  • The pleasure this morning of watching Commissioner Carol preach and Major Marc Johnson translate into Spanish.  The Grand Rapids Kroc Church is a multicultural church where worship is bilingual on Sunday morning.
  • The pool, gym, game room and other pleasant pursuits available after plenary sessions and the IFD Missions, but what did most delegates chose?  To spend time visiting.  Meeting and getting to know one another.
  • Shawn Okpebholo revealing that The Singing Company is his 7 month old daughter’s favorite.  When played, TSC music soothes Eva.

One last highlight.

Saturday afternoon Captain Melissa Fry of the Heartland Division was working with a team raking leaves.  She looked over and saw an old man trying to move a large piece of wood.  She watched and then offered help.  They struggled but together succeeded in moving it.  She asked him what was he thinking, trying to move something he could not move.  He said he knew that God would send help.

Note to self.  I googled and there is a Smashburger just ten minutes away.

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