John & Barb Whitehouse
Rion was looking forward to the excitement of meeting other international students (about 700) at Vision21. The kindness she’d felt in the Bridges community had made her curious to learn more about Jesus. But then snow & ice swept over Seattle and scores of flights were cancelled, leaving Rion and 17 other students scrambling to book later flights. Rion showed up for her rebooked morning flight, but again she was turned away at the gate. The departure time was delayed by two hours, then again until the afternoon, and finally to 9:30pm. While waiting all day in the crowded airport, weariness overcame her. She cried a lot. Ready to give up, she called her mother in Japan. “I started crying again when I heard her voice,” Rion recalls. Her mom encouraged her to not give up. “I felt I needed to go. I sensed that there was something very important waiting for me at Vision.” Her red-eye flight landed in Atlanta at 5am. She hadn’t slept a wink on the plane. After a connecting flight, she arrived exhausted at the hotel in Baltimore at 11:30am. “When I finally arrived at the hotel, people were greeting me,” Rion said. “They were hugging me and saying they were glad that I was there! Even people I had never met were celebrating! They had prayed for me. I could tell they really cared for me. After that, I didn’t even feel tired anymore.” Forty hours after her journey started in Seattle, Rion finally got to sleep at 2am in her hotel room in Baltimore. “In Japan, my family is the best,” Rion says. “I can trust them, and we love each other. But I hadn’t felt this in America until I came to Vision. I do have friends in Seattle, such as Barb (Whitehouse, a Bridges staff member) who has helped me. She invited me to come here. Now I know why. It is because of the love we all have for each other. Even though I am not a Christian, I am trying to learn about the Bible. It is because of this love in the people and in God. I have learned that He loves me. With my personality, I feel I must be perfect, but I don’t need to be perfect, because Jesus died for my sins.”
John & Barb
Rion and other Vision conference students. Recognize anyone else?
Riha – a student Barb has been doing Bible study with.
Our grandsons, Jack & James.