Home again, home again…

Two weeks ago we returned to our house from a 3-month deputation trip out west. From the time we drove into town, our children started asking if we were on our road yet. The final turn into our driveway prompted cheers and squeals from the back of the van.

We as parents enjoyed opening the door to a completely clean house. It didn’t stay that way for long. Within minutes, it seemed, all the toys were out for a happy reunion.

But we weren’t home for long. After a quick repack of suitcases from winter/spring clothes to summer clothes, we left the next day (a Wednesday) for the last 3 days of the Gospel Fellowship Association Missions family conference in North Carolina. That started lots of happy reunions with people we hadn’t seen for the 3 months – or longer. We wished we could’ve returned from the west soon enough to be there from the beginning on Monday. Being part of that group of godly, faithful missionaries is a privilege for us.

While the sessions and fellowship encouraged us, our children loved the children’s classes and the free time activities. For the first time, Bella was with the older children. At first she didn’t want to leave her brothers, but when she came back from the first activity time with her age group, she was glowing.

Our first afternoon we spent our free time tubing on and wading in the creek. Arthur flipped off his inner tube before we got started. Then just down the river Bella flipped out of hers. I was really concerned because I couldn’t stop right away (Emmett hadn’t wanted to go on his own tube, so I was holding him, and he didn’t want put down.) But Bella was a brave girl. She popped right up, got steady and cleared her eyes. She was yelling, and after a moment I realized she was yelling “I’m OK. Just don’t keep going without me!”

For the last day, Bella worked up the nerve to do the whole water slide. They’d been letting her start about 2/3 of the way down. This year she kept asking to start higher until she went from the top!

When we got home from the family conference we felt like we still didn’t have a chance to settle back in. A deputation meeting in town and a late-night get-together with good friends on Sunday was followed on Monday by a great visit with a friend who’s a missionary in Taiwan. Tuesday we had lunch with Taiwanese friends. That night started home church’s Whetstone pastor’s conference. This year’s theme was “Amazingly graced.” It gave us some great spiritual encouragement. Among those attending were several pastors in whose churches we’d had meetings, including two really good friends and their families, visiting from New York.

So here we are, home two weeks, and feeling like we just arrived because we’ve been so busy since we got back.