As promised we wanted to get the travelers and a short bio up on the blog – I think we have most of them except the host couple.  I can’t get gidding picture right now but I will have one soon.  Pastor Giddings writes………………
I will finally cross this off my to-do list and reply to the original introductory questions that were sent out as the trip planning emails first began to make their rounds. I’m not sure if we were supposed to include a picture per the instructions, but since I am so late I will attach one and ask you to notice who is smiling in the picture as well as who appears to be combatitive.
Name: Mike Giddings
Family:  My parents are recently semi-retired and live in northwest Iowa. I have two sisters, a brother-in-law,  and a nephew in Minneapolis and a brother in Kansas City.
Home: I currently live in West Fargo, ND and worship at Crosspointe Lutheran Church in Fargo.  I grew up in Iowa and Nebraska and was in St Louis attending Concordia Seminary prior to arriving in Fargo in July 2007.
Occupation: I serve as the pastor of Crosspointe Lutheran Church in Fargo.  After spending nixing my plans to go to law school and working as a juvenile parole office for a couple years and then a teacher for a couple years I took a job as a youth director which led me to seminary which led me to Fargo.  I started Crosspointe as a new church start and have been blessed to watch God grow the ministry during its first couple years in existence.
Favorites: Mangoes are coming back into season so they are my favorite food of the moment. I listen to all sorts of music and some talk/sports radio as well. I am currently am reading through John and Genesis in my daily devotions so they are giving me new favorite Bible passages each and every day as the Holy Spirit brings a new discovery each time I go through the Bible. My confirmation verse is Isaiah 40:31 and I just  got done preaching a sermon series on Matthew 11:4-5, I like Isaiah 43:1-3 for hospital visits, Proverbs 21:9 and 19 during premarital counsing so I don’t know that I can pinpoint just one.
Travel: I have traveled a stone’s throw into Juarez, Mexico in order to build a house and gone through enough of Canada to get back into the tip of Minnesota that is north of the Lake of the Woods (Pastor Seter, I have a passport now so we can go back any time!).  I have done various mission trips with  youth and college groups to Tennessee, West Virginia, and North Carolina and traveled to a number of other cities mostly in the south for various conferences and events.
Trip anxiety:  I would jokingly say my biggest concern is the potential of not having easy access to my morning Diet Mountain Dew and not getting the extended time in the shower that I typically use to wake up. My real anxiety is being away from Crosspointe for two weeks and making sure everything is lined up before I leave.
Trip excitement: I am excited to see the Lord’s work among a different culture and church setting. To see how the gifts of many faithful people here in our country have made the refuge centers possible and to see how the many faithful people of kenya are being used by God as pastors, teachers, church leaders, deaconesses, etc to proclaim the good news of Jesus. I am excited to worship the same God with brothers and sisters in Christ who live on the other side of the world and the other side of the equator. I am excited to see hope and joy on the faces of children and to hear the Word of God pour from their hearts off of their lips and into my ears. I am excited to see Kenyans that I have previously met when they were in the States. I am excited for the both humbling and the encouragement as well as the new perspectives God will bring into my life through these 11 days. I am excited because right now I have no clue what it will be like to travel through Kenya during our time there but, in a month’s time, all of that ambiguity will be filled in with our shared experiences.
Lasting trip gain: I still remember very vividly the night I returned from Juarez, Mexico. I was sitting on my dorm room floor at Concordia Seminary realizing that the space I had felt was so small over two years was the same size as the house we had just built for a large family.  I know I will be challenged with many of the same realizations in seeing the contrast in lifestyles between two cultures. I know I will gain countless new insights that will impact me as a pastor and as a person – a baptized child of God. I hope to begin and strengthen relationships that stretch beyond our country and I expect to return with a broader, deeper vision of God that will bring even greater praise for His goodness and glory.
Looking forward to meeting you all and sharing this great opportunity.
God’s peace and joy, mike