*** Why I’m writing this: I’m writing this short little series to give you a window into the awesome blessing of a life of service. When people think of a “missionary” sometimes they think of people serving diligently, under harsh conditions, dutifully suffering for their Master. And that is true…sometimes life is like that. But other times we are privileged to experience the unimaginable richness of life that comes from a life of stumbling obedience. That is what I want to share with you in this little vacation chronicle. I want you not to think of missionary life as foot-dragging resignation of life lived in difficulty, nor as a life of leisure in exotic locals, but rather of a life of beauty and ugliness, pain and pleasure, awesome contrasts which make missionary life a dance.***
Missionaries don’t often get to talk about the great vacations they get to take. Oh, it’s not because we make a lot of money…far from it. But we tend to live close to interesting places and many of those places are really, really inexpensive.
Before we head home for our one-year “home assignment” next month, before the “big push” of a final short-term team, final packing, etc., we thought we take a week of vacation . So we’re taking some time away this week with some good friends, Julie and Patrick and their two kids Koen and Kacja at the Bulgaria coast o the Black Sea. Since we’re not in a rush we’d make the trip in a couple of days, spending two nights in a favorite haunt, Bansko, Bulgaria.
We’ve been there several times and enjoyed the hosptality of the Hotel Tanne. The hotel is one many, many in this burgeoning little ski town. Actually, some colleagues stayed here at our recommendation a couple of weeks ago and didn’t like it because of all the construction traffic and noise…something I’d have to agree with during this stay. But it was still well worth it. We got in a little late, about 8PM but completely enjoyed the following day. The best part about the hotel, besides its location, is the price. We booked a two-room apartment for $70, which included breakfast and the use of their indoor pool and health-center (sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, weight room, etc).
The last two times we’ve stayed in Bansko, we’ve taken a day trip up to the Rila Monestary (my Flickr pics), which is a beautiful tenth century Orthodox monastery. This time, however, we just contented ourselves with a hike in the mountains. We actually laughed a little because we were enjoying the hike without any concern for landmines. While we don’t have many, if any, landmines in our part of Kosovo, it’s still a regular consideration when hiking in the mountains. But not so in Bulgaria. War has not come here recently. After a long hike we headed back for the hotel for lunch and a rest.
Our kids love this hotel, with it’s beautiful walled garden, complete with running gazebo, greenery and land gnomes, or as my daughter calls them, “Orves.”
Good hike, good time laughing and playing with the kids. What more can you ask for?