Thursday, November 28, 2013

First Thanksgiving in USA in Seven Years

Those of you who receive our prayer letters know that the girls and I are in the US for a brief visit while my husband Doug stayed back in Tenerife, attending to the work and church. It has been a great time for the girls and me, as we have reconnected face to face with friends and family.

Our trip began in Pennsylvania, where our daughter Jenny and her husband Michael reside. Michael is an associate pastor with Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Brogue, PA. It is a beautiful place situated in Amish country. It is fairly common to share the road with horse and buggies. Jenny and Michael live in a farmhouse and it is so rural you can't even see the road or the nearest house. I was able to go with Jenny to her ultrasound appointment and discover that our next grandchild will be a boy!

From there we traveled north to the Adirondack mountains to visit my daughter Amy and her family. The scenery was amazing, and the timing was perfect as the trees were in full fall splendor. We don't have Autumn in the Canary Islands and I purposely planned our trip so we could enjoy this spectacular season. The weather cooperated and we weren't disappointed. Each day as we walked in the wooded areas surrounding the lake we had ample opportunity to partake of God's handiwork.

Next on the agenda was to travel down to Rochester, NY and spend a few weeks with our home church, Old Paths Bible Baptist Church in Holley. They are in the process of building a new sanctuary, all debt free, and it was fascinating to see the ways the Lord provided--free church pews, and many skilled workers offering their time and talents. It has also been a great learning experience for the young men and women in our church as they pitch in with the many tasks, from hanging and finishing drywall, painting, and cleaning just to name a few.

We continued our trip visiting our daughter Hannah and family in Lansing, Michigan. A few of the highlights (aside from our darling grand daughter Vanessa) was going to Frankenmuth and seeing Bronner's Christmas store, and visiting the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. We also learned that Hannah is expecting baby # 2! On the way back to Rochester we stopped at Niagara Falls since Leanna hadn't seen it since she was a baby. She was awestruck!

Nathan and Emily flew into Rochester as they are on a furlough from Mozambique, Africa. Due to some issues with their visas they will be visiting churches in the US and will return to Mozambique in a year or so. I didn't expect to get to see them on this trip, so it was an unexpected surprise and fortunately I had a few extra weeks in my itinerary so we could return to Rochester without cutting my visit short with my family in Ohio. It had been two years since I had seen their children and I also got to meet my grandson Caleb.

Currently I am in the Dayton area, visiting my parents, and a few of my siblings. Tomorrow we will celebrate Thanksgiving--my first in the USA since we left for the Canary Islands nearly seven years ago. I will be cooking the entire meal, something I haven't had the privilege of doing in a long time. I am a little out of practice, as I don't ordinarily prepare a turkey in Tenerife. More importantly than the food, I am looking forward to the fellowship. I am blessed with a terrific family. They are really supportive of our family and our ministry in the Canary Islands.

With bittersweet sentiments, we will head back to PA on Friday as we prepare for our journey back to Tenerife on my 51st birthday. We have had to say many goodbyes, as we don't know when we will see each other again, but my husband Doug is eager for us to return! This trip has been full of many pleasant memories, and I thoroughly enjoyed each aspect of the trip. However, we are all ready  to get back into our regular school routine, but it has been a wonderful, educational field trip for the girls. I am thankful how the Lord provided for us to go and all the people who shared their homes with us, making it possible for us to be here.