Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Missouri or bust

Early on Thursday morning (Oct. 2) we loaded our luggage and then we piled almost half our community into a 15 person van and a 6 passenger truck. Finally the day had arrived. With prayers, thanksgiving and no small amount of disbelief, we headed off on a 16 hour drive to Missouri to receive a major international Peace Award.

The whole experience seemed a little unreal. Koinonia was started in 1942 as a radical experiment in Christian discipleship which boldly confronted the racial segregation, economic exploitation and militarism of its day. Today we are still seeking to follow the teachings of Jesus as an alternative to racism, materialism, environmental exploitation and militarism - and it is wonderful that Koinonia is recognized for these efforts. Nevertheless, it had been a very stressful week of preparations for this trip.

Problem is that for any group of people, there is always a wide range of opinion. For some of us, our commitment to a simple life means sleeping in the van or on the street. For others, it is a budget motel - and this type of disagreement and misunderstanding goes on for every decision on a trip like this. To add to the confusion and complications, our trip organizer came down with serious health problems just a few days before the trip, and everything had to be rescheduled. Fortunately, Kurt - who is only 21 yrs. old - stepped up and took responsibility for arranging the final details. His open and compassionate leadership helped to bring peace to an otherwise turbulent situation.

Thanks also to our good friends in the Community of Christ in Marion Illinois. On very short notice they opened their church to us and we were able to arrange for our group to sleep there on Thursday night. They even made us a lovely breakfast in the morning so we could continue onwards to the Kansas City area in comfort.

Ten hours to Marion - Six hours to Independence - and we were finally at the temple - with almost 3 hours to spare before the award presentation!

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