Vacation to the States…not quite

Posted: August 27, 2011 in traveling

Vacation??? Sort of… we spent a total of 24 days in the States. Departed Cali on a 23 hour trip with an almost 2 year old cutting molars. Traveled by car through 4 states and back. Stayed in 7 different homes. We survived nights spent on the road and only one incident of car sickness with Wellington after driving through a mountain pass. Spoke in four different churches and met with 5 other pastors sharing about Extreme Colombia. It was amazing, however we don’t know how missionaries do it when they travel like this for 3 months at a time. Only by the grace of God.

We really enjoyed our time coming back to the states with the opportunity to see so many of our friends and family. The most difficult part was the fact there was not enough time with anyone. We started off our time with a week in the Seattle area at my sister’s. My parents were taking a much needed break from the devastation in Minot as their house sat under water inches from the second floor. They were waiting for the water to recede. God’s timing was impeccable to allow my entire family to be under one roof for several days. We got to work on some projects together like re-staining and mending a fence. This type of work is always so much more enjoyable when there are many hands. We continued our journey to Post Falls, ID where we stayed with a dear friend and his 2 boys who wanted to show Wellington ever car they owned once I told them what CARRO meant in English… his favorite thing. We spoke at the Post Falls Nazarene Church the next morning and shared with the teen SS class, then headed to Missoula. We had some paperwork we needed to take care of for our visa process and did some visiting and had a big picnic in the park to reconnect with so many of our friends. We almost had to move it indoors due to a crazy thunderstorm with hail. While in Missoula, we spoke to a group at the Bitterroot Church of the Nazarene and are excited for those coming to a project in Colombia. Next, onto Bismarck and Minot for reunions with a lot of family. This was the longest stretch of road, 11 hour straight through so we took a pit-stop with some friends in Billings. Their son stayed up late so he could hang out with Wellington for a bit. We finished the 6 hour drive to Bismark to stay with Vincent’s brother and family. It was so awesome to see Wellington with his cousins now that he is able to run extremely fast and play with the bigger kids in the wide open spaces of his aunt & uncle’s backyard. We enjoyed a lot of time outside, looking at the garden and having a bonfire with s’mores. We even got to watch one of the crazy thunderstorms which brought back memories of life in North Dakota a dozen years ago. In Minot we shared our testimony and ministry with Minot First Church of the Nazarene. Vincent was able to spend a lot of time with his parents and help out a little with the family business…. he took much joy in watching our son play on all the same things he played on while growing up at Lucy’s Amusement Park. Wellington had no fear going down the giant slide. I think he would have done it all day long. Vincent’s parents also hosted a BBQ with family and friends in Minot with a little mini golf on the side. I spent as much time as I could helping my parents as just a week before we arrived, they were able to get back into their flooded home. We had been praying for them and the community of Minot affected by this flood but the emotions ran when we were actually in the midst of the neighborhood I grew up in. For several days I helped shovel out the water soaked items from the house and retrieve the dry items from the second floor. We marvel at the blessings my parents have received during this difficult time from pass-byers lending a hand, to the family that has taken them into their home and opened their garage to store the items they have left, and to the various groups that have come to help my parents with the difficult tasks of emptying and demoing out a flooded home. All the glory to God in His provisions.

Time to head back….we had to get back to Washington in four days for our flight to Ecuador. We zipped through Bismarck to get some visa paperwork taken care of at the capital building and then  I gathered with all my family in the area: grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins and second cousins. We left at midnight to get back to Missoula and take care of some more loose ends, for example, some paperwork for our visas was authenticated incorrectly for the country of Colombia and had to be corrected. A sweet women from the Secretary of States office drove from Helena to Missoula to correct the error on a Saturday to ensure we had the correct authentication on our documents we needed for our visa application… another blessing of God’s. We spoke in our home church, Missoula First Church of the Nazarene, during the Sunday school hour. The time with our family there was incredibly too short and tears were shed upon our departure. We hit the road in the afternoon heading back to Seattle. Vincent had a conference call to be on and we found reception in Wallace, ID. Vince found some shade to take the call while Wellington and I played on all mining trains they had on display at the rest stop. We proceeded to Ritzville where we stopped to meet some old neighbors for lunch. They are dear friends which we made living by them when we were in Florence, MT. They are now in the tri-cities area and made the drive up to Ritzville to meet us during our journey. There was one more reunion in Leavenworth, WA with a youth pastor Vincent had been in contact with. Wellington thankfully continued to sleep in the car while we sipped some tea and coffee in the parking lot of a closed Starbucks. We finally arrived at my sister’s to breathe for a bit and ensure all our luggage was at the correct weight, and if by chance we had some room…. fill it with the things we miss most. It is a bummer family and friends didn’t fit.

We flew to Quito, Ecuador making our international connection by the skin of our teeth. The next morning we promptly delivered our visa applications for the third time and then our waiting period started. We were to come back in 3 days to see if our visas were approved. As you well know from our communication earlier, we were approved and went on our way back to our home in Cali.

A whirl wind it was, but I am glad to be back. I am calling it home as that is what it is for the next year or however long God calls us to serve here in Cali. It is the best way I can ground myself here. Thank you for all the wonderful homecomings and hospitality we received during our travels. We felt at home everywhere we stayed. We miss you all so much it made going back difficult but we know we are in the heart of God’s will and feel that peace within when we are here in Cali.

Here are only a handful of pictures from our travels as my computer crashed and I had to get a new hard drive. We are in the midst of backing up our information but don’t yet know if the photos will be recovered. If you have any photos from our time in the States, please send them our way.

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