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Showing posts from August, 2007

On My Way

It's time to praise God in a HUGE way! I had asked you to pray for the release of the Korean hostages in Afghanistan. Every one of them has been released and allowed to go home. There are strings attached, of course. See the entire story at:

I will be leaving for Niger on Monday, September 3. Pray for me as I travel from Dayton to Boston, change planes, and then fly on to JFK in NY City. In NY I will have to collect my suitcase, find my way to another terminal, and check in. Pray that this whole process will go smoothly.

My flight from NY to Casa Blanca, Morocco is an all-nighter. In Casa Blanca I have something like a 16-hour layover. Thankfully, the airline gives us a hotel room and food vouchers. I leave Morocco late at night on September 4 and arrive in Niger at 3:30 a.m. on September 5. Two all-nighters leave one exhausted, then figure in jetlag and you can imagine why we feel like …

Day 9

As we discussed going from CO to CA, we realized we would not have time to visit the Grand Canyon. Dad said there wasn't much to see at Four Corners, either, and that it wasn't really worth going.
We left the hotel at the appointed time and stopped at a very slow Denny's in Cortez for breakfast. From there, we continued on our way west. We got to the cut-off for Four Corners and Dad decided we were there ahead of schedule, so we might as well go see it. It was fun....desert, lotsa wind, and a cement slab in the middle of it all to indicate where the four corners of four states come together. I put each foot in a different state and my hands in different states, so I was in four states at once. I don't particularly like this photo of me, but you get the idea! I also enjoyed talking to some of the Dine (Navajo) who were selling things and I got a great souvenir for Daniel.
When we got to the cut-off for the Grand Canyon, we realized we would get to go after all. It…

Day 8

The next day we took the old steam train from Durango to Silverton, CO. We were staying half way between Durango and Silverton and we were able to pick up the train near our hotel. The first hour, from Durango to where we picked up the train, is the most boring part of the trip. So, by picking up the train where we did, we were on the train only for the interesting part.

It took two hours to get to Silverton. The first part of the trip is really scaring because we are right on the edge of the mountain with a sheer drop-off to the Los Alamos River below (I think that's what river it is!). The train creeps along at about 2 miles per hour at that point. It was a very scenic ride....beautiful, beautiful Colorado. As the cowboys at the Bar D Ranch sang, "If God doesn't live in Colorado, it's where He spends most of His time." Fortunately God is omnipresent and we know He spends equal amounts of time everywhere, but it's hard to beat Colorado for beauty. If…

Day 7, Clarified

On the previous post, the pictures are a bit confusing as they are placed in the wrong place in the story line. The fourth picture is not the Sangre de Cristo mountains, but was a pass on the western side of the mountains, Red Mountain Pass or something like that.
The picture of the room is not at Ranch of Hope, but is at Silver Pick Lodge.
The last few pictures are at Bar D Ranch.
The web site for Ranch of Hope should be

Day 7

Alesha lives with Hope and David Taylor at Ranch of Hope, a ranch that offers counseling and help to marriages and families in crises as well as to burned-out pastors and missionaries. Just spending a night there, I could see that it is truly a healing kind of place. People can get far away from the problems that drag them down, and spend intensive time in counseling with Hope and David who also schedule in large amounts of time for counselees to spend alone with God and with each other.
Hope and David love to use the Sangre de Cristo mountains as a very visual learning tool. Sangre de Cristo means the blood of Christ. As the sun rises each morning, it stains the mountains red (pink really) and the redness flows down from top to bottom. They visually remind each person that comes to them that the blood of Christ flows down to cover their sins and that He can heal their past. For more information about Ranch of Hope you can look up .

Unfortunately we had to leav…

Day Six

This was our morning for sleeping in. We were going to eat at a special restaurant at noon, so we had a free morning. Unfortunately Dad thought the clock said 8:00 and thinking we all wanted breakfast, he woke us up. Sadly, some of the lines on the digital clock weren't lit up and it was only 6:00. Mom was in the shower by the time Natalie discovered his mistake. I was able to go back to sleep for awhile.

Before going to the restaurant we drove past where I used to work. This used to be the Geico building...before Geico got big. That was my first full-time job. I was able to finish my senior classes in high school by December and then I worked here until I went to college in September. It was a good paying job with lots of promotions and benefits. That's probably part of the reason Geico became what it is today.

Then we drove past the house we lived in when I was in high school. Whoever bought it after us has totally trashed it. They ripped out all the trees and bush…

Day Five

On the fifth day, Mom, Dad, Natalie, and I continued on our way to CO.

Kansas was, well, boring....and took hours. Most of the day was in Kansas. The most exciting thing was when we stopped at a rest hour and saw a man proposing to his sweetheart. They

then came over and asked us to take a picture of them.

So, here we have Kansas. Lots of fields, lots of grain storage elevators. But it was more hilly than I expected. We pretty much stuck to Rt. 40, instead of Rt. 70.

We finally arrived in CO. We went directly to our friend's house, Jim and Kay Koch. Jim Koch was the principal of the high school I attended in Denver. I used to babysit his kids. He and his wife live in a beautiful house. They have done a fantastic job landscaping the back yard. Here is Mom. We got a kick out of their dog drinking from the little waterfall. Kay had set a beautiful table in the backyard and served a delicious meal. Their backyard could easily be featured in Better Homes and Gardens or Good H…

Days 2, 3, and 4 of our Trip

We are now in Hemet, CA at my brother's house, having been on the road for over a week (from PA, that is).

Daniel and I took a lot of pictures driving from NY at my sister's house to Ohio. Unfortunately I removed all those pictures from my camera and put them on my computer which I didn't bring on this trip, so I can't show you any photos. We had a good trip, but got in a major slow-down in Cleveland caused by construction.

We arrived at Aunt Jeanette's in good time. Uncle Carl had arrived the day before and Mom, Dad, and Natalie arrived late that night because they needed to wait until Natalie got off work to come to Ohio. Aunt Jeanette had a really full house, with every bed and couch full!

Daniel and I went over to Cedarville for
registration. I was so proud of Daniel for wearing his Niger t-shirt on registration day. There's nothing like being proud of your roots!We got there shortly after the line opened and found that there was already a long line.
The n…

Day 1 of our Trip West

Fortunately we didn't have to get up too early to start yesterday's trip. We needed to wash sheets and towels and remake the beds before we left. Unfortunately, when we were too far down the road to turn back I remembered that we had left some of our clothes in the dryer.....they'll be sent to us in Ohio.

Daniel loaded up the car while I finished putting away dishes, etc. The car is loaded, but not overly so. Somebody else is bringing his

biggest suitcase and a smaller one. If I didn't have a big suitcase, all of his stuff would have fit in the car. That's pretty much everything he owns at this point....he has one box of stuff in the DeValve's attic. That box is mainly his Louis L'Amour book collection.

Here we are driving with the big boys...up I-81 to Binghamton, and then across New York on 17/86. It was a beautiful day. The mountains in this area are small compared to what we'll see out west, but they're too big to be called hills. This is a beau…

On the Road Again

Today Daniel and I begin our journey towards Cedarville, Ohio where he will be attending Cedarville University (

Tonight we will stay with my sister, Natalie, in Little Valley, NY. On Thursday we will drive to Xenia, Ohio. And on Friday orientation starts for Daniel. On Saturday my parents, my sister, and I will start our trip west. Natalie will stay in CO for a few days to visit her daughter while the rest of us drive on to CA to visit my brother, Dean. From there I'll fly back to Ohio and then on to Niger. I will try to post regularly about my trip.

Meanwhile, school started for Suzanne at Sahel Academy yesterday. In this photo she is giving a testimony in chapel on the last day of school in June. She did such an amazing job. If she gets nervous when she's speaking publicly, she sure doesn't show it!

This is way off the subject of traveling, but during that chapel, the seniors gave some of the other students gag gifts. They presented Suzanne wit…

Two Korean Hostages Released

Praise God, two of the Korean hostages have been released "unconditionally as a gesture of good faith" by the Taliban. Read the entire New York times story here:

This picture is from Pray for Hostages in Afghanistan:

Praise God for the release of these women. Keep praying that the rest of the hostages will be safely released soon. Let this be an encouragement to keep praying.

A Study in Contrasts

I've been thinking about some of the contrasts between Niger and Pennsylvania.

NIGER: Trees are few and far between in Niger. It is simply too hot and dry for them to thrive.

PENNSYLVANIA: Trees are everywhere here in Pennsylvania. I am really enjoying looking out my living room window right into the woods!

NIGER: Hard, rocky soil abounds. Wide open spaces are everywhere. There seems to be a total lack of color. Well, brown IS a color....but it's rather monochromatic. Believe it or not, Niger does turn green between June and October!

PENNSYLVANIA: There are so many different shades of green with surprising bursts of color. There are trees and hills rather than wide open spaces.

NIGER: We have absolutely no grass in our yard. It is all sand. We do have some flowering bushes, though!

PENNSYLVANIA: Grass and flowers are everywhere. I love sitting or lying in the grass! Flowers abound here at for the eyes!

NIGER: Somebody planted this millet in our yard last year. They waited …