Sunday, September 20, 2009

Week Five of a Two-Month Trip

This past week was spent traveling from Houston, TX to Sebring, FL. They may both be in the south but they are a LONG ways apart!

To get from Houston to Gulfport, MS, we drove over the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, the 8th longest bridge in the world, at 18.2 miles in length. It spans mostly swamp, but also rivers and lakes. It's pretty amazing....but looking at this picture one wonders what language they speak there!

We spent the night in Gulfport/Biloxi, right on the beach (and glad no hurricane was forecast!). In December 2005, we went with a group from Grace Bible Church in Dunmore, PA to Gulfport to help with Hurricane Katrina relief. We partnered with Forrest Heights Missionary Baptist Church, a church in Gulfport. We helped people in the church replace roofs, hang drywall, rip up tile, and haul trash to the curb. Things sure look a lot better than when we were there, but it's still obvious a hurricane ripped through there. Katrina was one mean lady and empty lots are more common along the beach than beautiful homes are. All that's left of this church are the front steps and the steeple.

The next day was an easy drive to Destin, FL. The beaches there are sugar white and absolutely beautiful. We didn't see much of the beaches though because our planned beach walk the next morning was rained out! We drove into a massive rain storm that took a lot of concentration to drive through. It's a long ways from Destin, FL to Sebring, FL and we were in the car about 9 hours that day.

Now we are enjoying a couple of weeks with my parents....warmth, a pool, and a chance to catch up on some correspondence and other projects.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Week Four of a Two-month Trip

Our fourth week was spent traveling throughout Texas. Our first stop was in the Dallas area with Dick and Meg Ackley. We had lunch with them, Dick's dad, and Dick's sister.

Our next step was Longview, TX where my Uncle Jerry and Aunt Doris live. We also got to see my cousins there. My uncle has this hilarious dog that watches TV. No kidding. If he sees an animal on the screen he starts barking at the screen. If the animal moves across the screen he runs into the other room, thinking the animal ran in there. If people are on the TV he doesn't pay any attention to them.

From Longview, we went back to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and spent a fun evening with my niece. Unfortunately her husband was on a business trip, so we still have not had the privilege of meeting him.

Our next stop was Austin. We spent the night with supporters and then the next day had lunch with the Eberles, co-workers of ours in Niger.

Houston was our final destination in Texas. We visited the Esteps and enjoyed spending a weekend with them. They live in a beautiful neighborhood with a park in walking distance. We enjoyed walking there. Texas was great because we finally got WARM AGAIN!!!!

The last two weeks we have driven through a lot of heavy rain. Some of it was quick down-pours but a lot of it went on for hours. It made for more stressful driving and as always, we are thankful to the Lord for journey's mercies!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Week Three of an Eight-week Trip

A week ago Monday we traveled from Illinois through Wisconsin and up into Minnesota. We spent a night with friends in Minneapolis. The next day we drove on through Minnesota to Nebraska. On the way we stopped in Walnut Grove On the Banks of Plum Creek. All who have read the Little House on the Prairie books will know where that is!

We visited supporters in Lincoln, NE and then stopped and had lunch with the Schmidts in Henderson, NE. We spent the night in Wichita, KS with the Blomquists.

The next day we drove into the Ozarks in Arkansas. We stopped and toured Pea Ridge, a Civil War battle site. Anybody who knows John knows that he is a Civil War buff, so he got to add one more visited battle field to his list.

We stayed at a cabin in Arkansas for a couple of nights. The Broom Tree Refuge has two cabins that are available for missionaries and pastors to use to get away to a quiet place and have some rest and refreshment. It is literally in the middle of nowhere and is so quiet. It was just what we needed in the midst of all this traveling.

On Saturday we stopped in Tulsa at Oral Roberts University to visit Trae, one of Suzanne's classmates from Sahel. Then it was on to Ardmore where John's brother, Dave, lives with his family.

This week it's on to Texas!