A Just Walk (run, hike, etc…)

"…to the Rock that is higher…"

Report-y Post: West Coast Tour

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Yesterday  I traveled from Irvine, CA to Wisconsin. I arrived in Portland, OR 19 April and so have spent the last 33 days on Pacific Central Time. I loved every day of it! This is a report-y kind of post highlighting some of what I’ve been up to, which has included a little bit of everything.

In Portland, I met with Brian Willis, my Global Health Promise colleague, in person for the first time in 18 months. Needless to say we had a lot to discuss! I also had an opportunity to spend some time at Our Mother’s House, meeting the wonderful volunteers who faithfully help out there, as well as meeting some of the women who participate in the OMH activities. I was invited by the Oregon School of Health Sciences to give a talk on health and human trafficking. Furthermore, I was able to spend some time with a colleague as we initiated work on an upcoming project – stay tuned for more on that! Of course, my good friends saw to it that I got a good tour around Portland, as well as a hike in the Mt. Hood National Forest!

After Portland, I headed to Mount Hermon, CA (near Santa Cruz & San Jose) to participate in the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) National Meeting. Not only was I was asked to speak on trafficking in persons; I was also invited to participate in the House of Representatives meeting as the Cross-cultural Partner Representative. It was quite an honor on both accounts. My involvement with the CMDA has been rather tangential – related only to the CMDE meetings they host so that overseas partners can get CME credit at medical meetings in Thailand or Kenya. At the Mt. Hermon meeting, I learned a lot more about this organization with the opportunity to meet more of the core people involved, as well as the up and coming leadership. I can’t help but mention that the Henry Cowell State Park is right across the street, so daily runs among the Redwood Giants was quite a bonus!

I took the train from San Jose to Ventura, CA. It’s a delightful ride and I hope you get the opportunity to do it sometime. I stayed about with some from friends from the Breathe Conference I attended in Switzerland last year – brief but warm stay with extended Breathe family.

Then on to Los Angeles! A place that is ALWAYS good to visit! I spent a lot of time with staff and members of Pacific Crossroads Ch, a local body that knows how to make the most of their visiting partners (they know how to take care of them as well). UCLA students interested in addressing human trafficking invited me to speak on a couple of occasions. One was to a group of medical students during one of their noon meetings. The other was to speak at Mighty Mic UCLA, an annual fund-raising concert put on by undergraduates. I also got to meet with several other people and organizations working against human trafficking – always seeking, always asking, always learning. Of course there was time at the beach, the ballpark,

Me, Stacey, and Rich at a Padres game

the brewpub, and beautiful runs! Catching up with long-time friends, and making many new ones.

Beautiful Half Dome, covered in snow, as seen from my campsite 18 May

Next stop on my way down the coast was Irvine, CA for a time of R &R. My friends Rob and Robin, also extended family from last year’s Breathe Conference, let me hang at their place for a week. But we didn’t exactly sit around. Huge Yosemite Park fans, we drove up for a short but sweet trip to the mountains! Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate with our plans for big hikes, as most of the high climbs (including Yosemite Falls) were closed down for snow and ice! It even snowed in the valley! To make the most of it, I ended up going for a couple of long trail runs around the valley: rain, snow, mud, and raging streams made up for adventure! Someone asked if I was a professional runner! HA! Back in Irvine, a sailing trip on the ocean, a long run at Crystal Cove State park, and some downtime with books and movies made for a fun and relaxing week.

In Wisconsin this week, I’ll be attending the International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP) Global Conference at Green Lake. I’m looking forward to a time to work (face to face!) with colleagues on several projects, as well as network with new and potential partners.

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