Our family blog post telling of December happenings just didn’t happen. I kept thinking there would be time to sit and reflect and write, however, another week passed and before I knew it, it was nearly time to write about January and December had become “old news.” So, now that I’m getting back on track, I thought I’d incorporate a bit from both December and January and catch you up to speed on how things are going since many of you have asked.
Our final days spent in Togo were good ones. We were able to visit both village churches as a family, as well as bid farewell to many Togolese whom we’d formed relationships with over the years. With most we knew it was only a temporary goodbye, as we look forward to a reunion and worshipping our Lord together one day in Heaven. However, our Muslim electrician, who we’ve had in our home repairing problems so many times over the years, and who had become a good friend of our family, surprised me when his eyes filled with tears when saying goodbye. I tried hard to hold back my own tears, as I knew this was not where I could remind him, as I’d done with others, that we’d see each other again. Our family will continue to pray for Adam and his family, as we know our God can save him and show him the light of the Gospel, using the witness of the many Togolese Christians around him.
As our final week arrived and we packed, cleaned and finished selling nearly everything we owned, I was thankful for Jon’s urge a few weeks earlier to really get busy since it was quite a process. Starting early made the last few days stress-free and gave us more time to visit with multiple missionary families who had become like family to us over the years.
On December 27th we boarded a plane in Lomé, Togo and began the trek home. I was really concerned about Eli, since his stage in life is one of action, movement and climbing. The sitting still for hours on end and sleeping in mommy’s arms instead of his usual bed, made me pray more that we wouldn’t be the passengers getting all “the looks” for the disruptive baby. He did have a couple of crying episodes when he was so tired but could not get comfortable, however, we had kind flight attendants and those around us seemed understanding which made me feel much better. The girls all did wonderful, thankfully, and though we spent a night stranded in Detroit, the Lord worked everything out for us to sleep well in a hotel there and not get sick without jackets or warm clothing in such cold temperatures!
We arrived to my parents and younger sister’s welcome at the Little Rock, AR airport on Jon’s birthday! We weren’t shocked to see only 2 of our 14 checked bags made it in on our flight, as Jon had warned me that would most likely happen. Having traveled from Lomé to Paris to Detroit to Knoxville, to Atlanta to Little Rock….I think it would have actually surprised us had all of our suitcases arrived. Two days later, our luggage was delivered to our doorstep, and that in itself was a huge blessing since the airport was nearly two hours away.
Jon flew out for Tampa the following morning, after ensuring we had arrived safely in the USA, while the kids and I cherished the next two weeks with my parents. My dad enjoyed playing ball outdoors with the girls, allowing them to help him gather small pieces of kindling for the fireplace and loading it in his truck (it was the truck ride they liked best!), playing games like “Match” with Emma, surprising them with a children’s magazine subscription and gobbling up a bowl of popcorn with his youngest grandchild, Eli.
My mom was a huge blessing in traveling to Florida with the kids and me – a drive I really didn’t care to do as the lone adult. In addition to helping me drive, just the little time consuming tasks of making sure everyone was buckled, helping put shoes on and assisting in bathroom breaks, ordering food while I changed a diaper…etc. were all such big things to me and time savers with mom helping out. The trip went well, and we were very happy to arrive to our new home where Jon was smothered with hugs and kisses from three little girls who really missed their daddy!
I imagine it is not often that a family “moves in” with just a car load of suitcases as their belongings, but that’s what we did! It has been fun “starting over”, kind of like newlyweds….yet with four children! It has been amazing to see in our short time back home, just how God provides. Family, friends and even total strangers and new neighbors on numerous occasions have been an amazing blessing to our family. I love to see Him at work and do not ever want to lose sight of who is behind every blessing that comes our way.
A highlight for the girls since arriving home has been to attend church where the kids class is in English! Abby made the statement, “I just wish I didn’t have to wait a whole week to go back to church!” Annabelle was tickled pink to find out a sweet little girl, just her age and from a Christian home, lives across the street from us. Emma is learning to ride a bike with training wheels and loves to be outside in Florida’s gorgeous “winter weather” and Eli, well, he’s pretty much the main attraction whenever we’re out and about. Growing quickly and chasing his sisters around gives Eli quite a bit of exercise, and he has really enjoyed exploring his new surroundings.
My job as wife and mom, which I love, really hasn’t changed drastically, though I am enjoying a few perks and conveniences of life back stateside in getting my tasks done a bit quicker….like having a clothes dryer. J
Many of you have kept us in prayer during this transition time, and we want to again say THANK YOU! God has promised to take care of His children, and we’ve come to realize that in a greater light since moving back. How blessed we are to have a God who loves us so and cares about even the most minute concerns we have. What a joy it is to serve Him no matter where we are.