I spoke last evening at the annual fundraising dinner of the Mennonite Historical Association of the Cumberland Valley in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. I was introduced by my mother’s best friend as a “boy coming home” and that’s what it felt like. I moved away from this area 42 years ago, but it was like a homecoming. The room was packed with about 150 people. Many of them wanted to talk with me. I did well remembering names too even after such a long time.
I spoke about my call to leadership that came from this community. I thanked them for laying a foundation. I thought I was being called to be a farmer-preacher, but God had different plans for me. I talked about my ministry and leadership and shared some of my challenges as well as successes, and I read stories from my book, Building Bridges. People thanked me afterward for my vulnerability.
It was such a heartwarming event for me to see my church family and my TourMagination family coming together to share the same values. Some of the people there had grown up with me, while others had traveled with us. There were even a few people who will be going to Europe with me later this week! It was a successful event for the Historical Association too – they raised $6,700 in a freewill offering.
As I said in my talk, TourMagination is about building bridges. I would love to visit other communities across North America with this message. Please let me know if you would like me to come to speak at your church or community event.
~ Wilmer Martin