Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Home Again...Home Again...

One of the things that just blessed my little heart (<--- it's a southern thing...) while on furlough was the many comments that I received, traveling from church to church, about my blog. So many of you expressed your appreciation for it and I was so thrilled to learn that many of you read my blog. It made me SO happy! Because of your sweet encouragement I determined to be a faithful blogger once I returned back to the Cameroon. So...here I am. I'm back and I'm excited to keep up with this little blog and continue to give you a glimpse of life on the mission field.

There is no way I could summarize all of the amazing details of our furlough. God provided us with an amazing house to live in. It was so beautiful and in a quiet, secluded location. We saw more wildlife driving up our driveway than we ever see here in Cameroon (goats and chickens don't count, by the way!). We saw deer very frequently, bunnies, foxes, owls, woodpeckers, chipmunks and raccoons. It was like living in an enchanted forest!

We were also very privileged to make some wonderful memories with our families. My kids were so blessed to get to know their cousins better on this furlough.

We got to do a lot of fun things with them and our goodbyes were very difficult ones. Probably the most difficult, in fact. Jay and Sarah left for the mission field of Venezuela less than a week after we left for Cameroon. We are praying about how we can coordinate future furloughs, but the thought of possibly not seeing one another until little Ellie is 8 years old is just too much to think about right now. We are so thankful for modern technology that will allow us to keep in touch! Please pray for both our families as we seek to be faithful servants in the countries that God has called us to.

We were able to enjoy a special trip to Maine with Ben's parents, Pat and Jerry.  We caravanned up to Bangor, ME and stayed with Pat's family. A big family reunion was held and it was the first time that I was able to meet much of the extended family. We also stayed on the coast of Maine in Ogunquit and enjoyed the ocean. It was beautiful!

We got to take a special trip with my parents to Disney World. Two of my brother's kids, Sam and Luke, also came along and the kids had a blast sharing the trip with their cousins. My dad, who isn't a big lover of crowds or schedules, was a trooper and so very patient with us. We made so many special memories that week!

We also got to see many of our supporters. We traveled from the coast of Maine to the coast of Florida...even to the Pacific Northwest! We stayed in so many homes and enjoyed many hours of fellowship. Our heartfelt thanks to all who hosted us. We enjoyed our time with each one of you!

Most of our last couple of months were spent with friends and family. We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with Ben's family and a wonderful Christmas with mine. At the beginning of January I accomplished a goal worth mentioning...I ran my first race - a 10k. It was a huge accomplishment for me and I really enjoyed doing it! Two of my dear friends, Beth and Sherry, and I went to Florida to run in the runDisney marathon weekend. I love my gigantic medal!

January was squeezing in all the final moments with our friends and family. Ben's parents came down to spend a week with us and we really enjoyed our time with them. We had several family get-togethers to celebrate holidays and birthdays. Each moment with each loved one was so special and I'm so thankful for all of the wonderful memories that the Lord allowed us to make while we were home.

We spent the first week of February celebrating my mom's 60th birthday and packing up our house to leave. I think the lack of sleep during that week of packing made me especially emotional. Saying goodbye is SO very hard. Honestly, what makes it so hard for me is watching my kids struggle with goodbyes. Their broken hearts just rip mine into shreds! Ugh...it is SO hard saying goodbye over and over from one side of the ocean to the other.

On Feb. 11, with our final goodbyes said to my parents at the Atlanta airport, we could finally set our sights on Cameroon. Our feelings of sadness morphed into feelings of anticipation of being back home. Our journey across the Atlantic was long and it wasn't without its struggles, but I saw the Lord work so mercifully on our behalf! Kate was so sick for the first flight. She gets airsick from flying and just vomits and vomits. Her flight was a miserable one and she arrived in Paris exhausted from hours of heaving. She caught bits of sleep on the hard airport floor during our 10 hour layover.

I asked my Facebook friends to pray for her second flight to be smoother, and it was, PTL! I also asked prayer for a smoother second flight. The turbulence was so bad on our flight from Atlanta to Paris. Almost the entire time the plane rocked and bounced. You could feel it swerving and dipping, lifting us out of our seats at times. It was really frightening. I did a lot of praying on that flight, I'll be honest! The second flight was as smooth as silk. No turbulence and some of us actually were able to doze a bit. Overall none of us had gotten any sleep to speak of since Tuesday night. It was now Friday morning in Cameroon and we arrived at the airport, collected all 30 bags (That is also a HUGE answer to prayer!) and loaded into our Land Cruiser and began the 7+ hour journey back to our home in Bambili. I was really thankful to have a collection of Air France barf bags in my backpack because Kate wasn't the only one that got sick from the traveling. The lack of sleep, among other things, finally wore Drew down and he was also purging at the beginning of our trip to Bambili. (He was walking around the baggage claim department with his head hung over one of those bags. We were asking him to be discreet about it since they were doing ebola screenings and I was sure that the white bag would draw lots of attention to us. haha!) Emma was also hanging her head over a bag, but she finally fell asleep and slept a big chunk of the drive home which was a help to her since she suffers from car sickness. Oh the things we do to our kids! Pray for missionary kids. Not just mine...but all of your church mk's! They sure get put through the ringer!

An hour out of Bambili we were playing 20 questions with Ben who could have used toothpicks to keep his eyelids open. Ezekiel was about a half hour behind us in a rented van that was carrying all of our luggage. We ended up arriving home before our luggage did and praise the Lord He kept us safe the whole way. It was now Friday evening and we still had not had any sleep to speak of since Tuesday night. Exhausted can't begin to describe how we felt. We bathed our doggie, Georgia, waited till our bags arrived and loaded them into the parlor, ate a delicious supper of Fufu and Njama Njama, provided by our dear friend, Diane, and went to bed at 9 p.m. We slept 15 hours straight through without waking up!

We have now been here a couple of weeks. We are still trying to get settled. We had to wash everything that was in our closets and drawers. Jim and Myra Wright, who lived in our house and oversaw the ministry while we were away, did an amazing job! Our house was clean when we arrived and everything taken care of. Unfortunately two+ weeks of dry season dust still had to be dealt with and clothes in storage, even while living here, have to be washed after a moldy, wet rainy season. That is just life in Cameroon. We are already jumping back into ministry. Ben is out this morning even, at a military base with the intent of sharing the gospel with some Cameroon soldiers.

To those that pray and support us...Thank you! We couldn't do it without you. I don't know what the next blog installment will be, but I thank you for walking this journey with me. I'll try to keep it interesting. :)  It would also mean a lot to me if you would share my blog and encourage others to read it!
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1 comment:

  1. Ahhh, now that I see Ben's folks, I do recognize them from my visits over the years to Pastor Holmes church in Hammond, IN! ~Charles Wesco