My day started at 4:00 am and it's nearly 11:00 pm here in Springfield (which makes it midnight at home!). I'm practically falling asleep at the keyboard. I flew this morning to Saint Louis, drove a rental car for three hours to Springfield, and have now had a few sessions already of the program called, "Re-Entry."

First launched in 2000, the Re-Entry program is a few days to welcome returning missionaries to the States, giving us a chance to fellowship/"vent" with other missionaries before we go rushing off into the hectic schedule of raising our funds.

Why is this necessary? For one thing, most of us (like me) just arrived within the past few weeks. We're still having trouble remembering that we're not in France, Russia, Azerbaijan, etc. anymore. For me, I'm still having trouble remembering not to press the clutch in a car that's automatic! I keep reaching for the gearshift that's not there, too.

When I walk into stores, I expect the workers to greet me with a "hello" or at the very least, a head nod, and I keep stopping to greet them. But this isn't France, and the American workers probably think I'm crazy!

I keep forgetting to add tax to the price of what I'm buying. In France, its already included. When you buy something that's 4.99, you pay 4.99, not 5.25.

Tonight we were split into small groups of people from all over the world. In my group, we have three couples and one other single; some have kids, some don't, some are working in Africa, others in Asia and Europe; some are leaving the mission field and this is their final step. We are church planters, Bible school teachers, evangelists and folks still struggling to learn the language. We took about an hour to discuss a highlight from our term, as well as the biggest difficulty. I think in the next few days, as the sessions continue, we will have even more opportunities to share and support one another.
Ariel Rainey