I learned long ago that joy and heartache run on two parallel tracks. Even at times of great joy like our study tour of Israel, which ends tomorrow, heartache pushes its way in like the bully that it is.

We lost our beloved collie, Kelli, early this morning Jerusalem time. Seemingly minor health concerns two weeks ago before we left morphed at warp-speed into a condition that took her life. A midnight phone call from Amber and multiple attempts to connect with Jordan, who was house- and pet-sitting, via poor Skype connections left us all crying together as Jordan sat with Kelli’s head in his lap on the floor of the vet’s office.

Kelli was Mike’s partner on his daily prayer walks around the neighborhood. Who will walk with him now as he prays for the residents of the homes on our block?

She was First Dog at our church’s annual Fabulous Fourth at the First celebration. Who will lift their paw and greet the children who flood onto our church campus?

Kelli was a friend who loved us unconditionally. Friends like that are rare.

We will bury her on Monday.

On a scale of 1-10, this trip has been a 15. We have so much to share with those who are interested in what we’ve been learning – insights that will fuel our speaking and teaching for years to come.

I’ll pick up that thread again next week, with photos and links added, but for now we need time to mourn.

Kelli Rowe, we loved you so.

Kelli on 4th