Yesterday we gathered as a staff for a big, tearful sendoff. Aaron & Kristi Walsh, along with their beautiful little girl, Taylor, are leaving today for New Zealand where they will be launching a House of Prayer.
Aaron and Kristi played the largest part in my hearing from God about moving to Kansas City two and a half years ago. Aaron had come to Cincinnati to speak at a conference and I was stunned. Here he was - in his early twenties - teaching with a wisdom and authority very far beyond his years. I had been to IHOP a few times and loved it, but wasn't interested in making a move...until I saw what dedicating yourself to time in the prayer room could do.
A few months later, Aaron called me and asked if we'd come out and talk to Mike about a few things. Later he confided that he wasn't entirely sure Mike would have time to connect with us....thanks, Aaron!
Aaron & Kristi hosted us that weekend and actually flew to Cincinnati to help us with fund raising that summer. We learned quickly that Aaron had married far up the social order (something he readily admits). Kristi is a delightful compliment to Aaron - and very warmhearted unless one alludes to feeding her Bailey to the wolves..
Kristi became a close friend of Kelsey's as Aaron did of mine. He gave me the lay of the land at IHOP, explaining it's quirks and strengths, even as I converted him to using a functional computer and interesting reading.
We will miss Walsh's greatly. They are supremely gifted in the areas of hospitality and wisdom. I have to remind myself that they're still in their twenties for crying out loud. My prayer is that their lives will be full of people who will be for them what they were for us - encouragers to the Nth degree.
The shipping container is packed. The excess stuff sold. The weiner dog given away. Today, they go to Aaron's homeland...halfway around the world from Kristi's...and we bless them even as we wipe the tears on our sleeve.
Travel safely, guys.