Thursday, March 27, 2014

Naperville Open House

The month of March has been full of reunions with friends and sharing in churches about what God has been doing in South Sudan these past three years. Last Sunday we shared at The Compass Church in Naperville, Illinois and that afternoon a dear friend hosted an open house so that we could have a better opportunity to visit and connect with people in the church.

Good friends over the years

Eli's brother and his wife with a good friend

Sharing from the heart

This weekend we'll share at our last church in Illinois and on Monday, March 31st, we'll begin our trek west across the country towards Washington State. Along the way we plan to stop at Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, friends in Montana, relatives and friends in Idaho, and finally end up in Washington by Sunday April 6.

Stay tuned to join the "ride"...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Enjoying family

Drinking hot cocoa after sledding in Michigan snow

This has definitely been a month of moving around but how sweet it's been to sit and catch up with so many special friends and have times with family we haven't seen in such a long time!
We've spent most of March in Illinois (most of our supporters are from this area) but we also drove to Michigan last week to celebrate Evan's 8th birthday with is four cousins.

Evan turns 8!

Aunt Alyssa reading to the boys before bed

Evan telling stories from South Sudan as Aunt Alyssa flipped through our photo book
Playing at the mall - Josh and his cousin Nathan
Uncle Eli reads to his nephew, Nathan

Dinner in our apartment with Eli's brother and his wife Krista

Games with Uncle Caleb

Birthday celebration for Caleb

Sunday, March 09, 2014

In Chicago for the month

This week we drove from Columbia, SC where we spent a lovely week with friends and enjoying a Sunday at our home church to Glen Ellyn, IL, a suburb of Chicago. We have four supporting churches in Illinois so we've settled into an apartment of our own for the month. During the week we will try to have as "normal" of a life as possible, keeping up with our home schooling. On the weekends we will travel to speak at our churches and visit with friends.

We arrived in Illinois to beautiful snow and we have all enjoyed getting out and playing in it everyday!

Today Eli's brother and his wife and son came to spend the day and it was a great day for catching up, relaxing together, and enjoying our adorable 3 month old nephew!

It was a beautiful afternoon so we all bundled up and tried geo cashing for the first time. For those of you who don't know what it is, it's kind of like a treasure hunt. People hide things all over the country and leave "maps" online so you can follow the directions and find things that other people left/hid. It was a first for our family and the boys loved it!

This was the first "treasure" we found. Josh found it first!

Treasure #2 and guess who spotted it first again? Josh!

Of course we just had to get a fun family picture out in the snow! Oh what a day!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

1st Month Observations

Bethany and I thought we could share some of the changes that we have noticed here in the States after being gone for 3 years.

1. Who turned the crazy on when it comes to shoes?  We tried to buy a new pair of running shoes for Bethany and couldn't find anything without neon.  What happened to white with a blue stripe?

2. Fast food has gotten faster.  We took the kids out to Chick-fil-a (or however you spell it) and by the time I handed the lady my credit card someone else was bringing the tray to the counter!   
3. All the stores greet you now.  It used to be unique to walk into Moe's (burrito place) and the entire kitchen staff would yell out, "Welcome to Moe's!!"  It was nice but annoying by the time you got your food and sat down as 15 other customers have come in and gotten the same greeting.  Anyway, just about every store I go into now has at least someone poke their head up and say, "Hi, welcome to..."
4. Where did all the bar soap go?  There is something weird about showering with liquid goo (body wash).  Call me old fashioned but I couldn't get the goo to lather and I didn't feel as clean as a good old bar of soap. 
5. Dumb phones.  It took me a moment when I first heard it but, yea, I guess the logical opposite of a smart phone is a dumb phone.  But in our PC world, I am surprised this has slipped in.  "Internet-challenged" anybody?
6. People talk to their phones.  When we left 3 year ago, people talked to other people using their phones.  Now, people just talk to their phones.  Who is "Siri"?  And how does she know EVERYTHING?!
7. Texting.  Yea, people don't seem to like talking on the phone anymore.  Way more texting than when we were here before. 
8. Choices.  We stopped for coffee while on one of our travels and Bethany took a little longer than expected.  She got into the car all flustered and handed me the coffee.  We talked about it when she calmed down.  She explained that literally there were 10 kinds of coffee, 7 kinds of milk/creamer, and 3 kinds of sugar.  I talked with a friend, Chris Crowder, to figure out the math and I believe we came to the conclusion that there were 210 different combinations one could choose from for Coffee.  Don't get me started on cereal.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Day Four of our travels

We stayed with good friends in Indiana last night and had such a good time catching up. The boys got to try two things for the first time: being pulled in a sled behind a four Wheeler and hot tubbing out in the snow! They shocked us all when they started doing snow angels in the snow in their bathing suits and then jumping back into the hot tub! Great memories every place we go.
    Today we're driving to Wheaton, IL where we will "settle" for the month while visiting supporting churches every weekend and home schooling during the week.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Day three of our travels

After a lovely visit in Tennessee with good friends, today we are heading to Indiana. We have a six hour drive and the scenery is stunning because it snowed most of yesterday. We're enjoying visions of icicles, frozen waterfalls, and snow-covered trees.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Day One of our travels

We made it to Tennessee safely-only 7 hour drive. Staying with SIM South Sudan teammates.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Our Travel Schedule: March and April

This coming week our family will begin a great adventure, covering thousands of miles and visiting many friends and churches to share what God is doing in South Sudan and in our family. If you're interested where we'll be and when check out our itinerary below and if you see that we'll be in your neck of the woods and you'd like us to stop by, call us.

Eli: (803)810-1359
Bethany: (803)810-1360


March 3: head to Frankling, Tennessee
March 4: head to Russiaville, Indiana
March 5: arrive in Chicago and settle into our own apt in Glen Ellyn.
March 9: speak at Harvest Time Bible Church, IL
March 15&16: share at Armitage Baptist Church in downtown Chicago at their Missions Conference.
March 17: drive to Muskegon, MI to celebrate Evan's 8th birthday with Eli's sister and her family.
March 23: share at Compass Church in Naperville, IL
March 30: share at Hope Bible Church
March 31: Drive to Sioux Falls

April 1: Drive to Mt. Rushmore
April 2: Drive to Bozeman, Montana
April 3: Drive to Kalispell, Montana
April 4 Drive to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
April 6: Drive to Auburn, WA with a stop in Spokane.
April 7-13: in Auburn, WA
April 14: Drive to Goldendale, WA to see Bethany's grandmother
April 15-17: Drive to Portland
April 18: Drive to Sacramento
April 19-24: Drive to Laguna Beach, CA to spend Easter with Audrey's sister and her family
April 24: Drive to Las Vegas
April 25: Drive to Glendale, Arizona
April 26-27: Family Fun at the Grand Canyon
April 27: Drive to Flagstaff
April 28: Drive to Amarillo, Texas
April 29: Drive to Dallas/Greenville, Texas
April 30: Drive to Memphis, Tennessee

May 1: Drive to Atlanta, Georgia
May 2: Finally make it back to Columbia, SC to hopefully settle down and be in one place for a while!

We would very much appreciate your prayers for our family during these weeks of travel.