Thursday, July 28, 2011

Returning to Thailand

We have finalized our tickets for Thailand unless, of course, we change them again! As of right now, we are heading back on the 6th of August. Tom is still in bad shape with gout in one of his feet, so hopefully he will be up and around very soon or we may truly have to postpone our trip back.

The time home this time has been a wonderful time of seeing our daughter and taking her to Africa with us, seeing our son-in-law and grandkids and seeing some friends that we haven't seen for quite a few years. It's all been good except for the gout.

We have several things that we have to do in preparation for our return as there always is, but it seems like everything hits the last week. It never fails. The summer here in Texas this year has been so exceptionally hot that we were not able to get much done outside. No matter how much we water the flowers, the heat is killing them anyway. The grass is crunchy from the drought and even breathing outside is difficult, almost like sticking your head in an oven. It is 10 to 15 degrees cooler in Thailand right now than it is here.

Lisa and the grandkids are now back home in Lithuania. Brian will be here for another month or so finishing up some meetings before he heads back. Lisa had to go back to get the kids back in school when it starts.

Going back to Thailand will be easier now that we know that our church is stable and our new pastor has his feet under him. It is so hard to leave friends behind, but I am so thankful for the internet. At least we can keep in touch in real time. The world is a much smaller place than it used to be.

Please pray for Tom that this gout goes away soon. He has a lot to do and not much time to do it, or we may have to delay our return to Thailand a second time.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Just Us Again

Brian, Lisa, and all the grandkids left on Thursday morning about 10:00 AM. The house was way too quiet after all the activity of the last month. I was so lonely that I almost put the movie "Ice Age 3" into the player so it would sound like they were still here. They watched that movie at least once or twice a day while they were here and never got tired of watching it.

During the month they were here, we all made a trip down to south Louisiana to visit the folks at Galilean Baptist Church in Houma. It had been quite a few years since Tom and I were there and many more than that since Lisa had been there. Susie Domangue was there to meet us. Her mom and Dad went all the way to Atlanta, GA to get her and haul her home for a couple of weeks so she could be there. It was a great blessing to see her and her family. It was hard for me to believe that I had not seen her in over 4 years. The old saying goes that "the days go by slowly, but the years go by quickly," and it seems that it is true. She and her husband Matthew Yaksh, have a little boy now named John who is 17 months old. I still have not gotten to meet Matthew, but he had to work and was not able to come to Houma. The time with the Galileans was so good, though and we enjoyed our time there so much. The next day we headed to Lake Charles to see Tom's family for the day and then we headed for Vidor, Texas, for Sunday morning services with Grace Baptist Church. Charles and Sarah Lott have been friends for many years and we were glad to get to see them again also, although the time was too short as it always is. Sunday night we were in a church in Humble, Texas, which is a church that took us on for support a little while ago, but one to which I had never visited. It was good to meet the folks there. This church also took Brian and Lisa on for support and we are so glad for that.

Brian, Lisa and the kids were able to do a few fun things while they were in Texas and Louisiana on that short trip and the kids got acquainted again with the fact that they are Americans. All four of them have lived their whole lives in Lithuania and in many ways are more Lithuanian than American. The kids stayed in Arkansas for about 3 weeks with Mimi and Papa Joe, their other adopted grandparents, while Lisa went with Tom and me to Africa. Brian was busy up in Illinois getting them moved out of the parsonage and ready for their new pastor to move in. The men of the church and Brian did a lot of repair and remodeling work and Joe and Jessie Morrell (Mimi and Papa Joe) were a tremendous help in keeping the kids while he worked.

As I am writing this Lisa and her family are on their way back to Illinois to their home church. Lisa and the kids leave for Lithuania the end of this month. Brian will leave the end of September. Lisa has to go back to get the kids in school. It was a wonderful time spent with Lisa in Africa and with the whole family for a month here in Texas. We will miss them very much. Two year gaps between seeing them is a very long time.

Tom and I are still in negotiations for when we will be leaving to go back to Thailand. I will let you know when we are going back when I find out myself. Until then, please keep praying for us and let us hear from you. The best way is Skype or email.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Africa Part 3

After leaving Krueger Park, the George Hammett family took us half-way to his dad's house and Sam Hammett picked us up and took us the rest of the way to Francisville, Botswana. The roads are very bad, but we saw many animals on the way up. There were many elephants, zebras, giraffes and monkeys.

In Botswana, we accompanied Bro. Doug Hammett and his family to a Sunday service. They are meeting for the moment in a rented room. There were about15 people in attendance not counting all of us. It was a really good meeting and we enjoyed meeting the people very much. The African people that we met were all friendly and accepting of us. We loved being with them for the short time that we had.

The next day we drove up to Victoria Falls. Tom and I had always wanted to see the place where David Livingston's heart is buried. As it turned out there is a monument on both sides of the Falls and I am still not sure which one is where his heart is buried. We stayed on the Zimbabwe side of the Falls. No other word can describe the place but awesome. Awesome is a very much overworked and overused word, so I do not use it much, but Victoria Falls is deserving of the word.

There is so much mist from the falls that the whole area around it is a rain forest. There are literally hundreds of baboons and other monkeys that call this area home. Baboons can get very large and they basically own the paved walkways and they are in no way intimated by people. If you meet them on the trail, you will be the one to move out of the way. Their teeth are reeeally
long. Seeing them up so close was almost as intriguing as the Falls, but not quite.

Africa was the trip of a lifetime and there are not enough words to describe the experience. The Lord made it possible and we will be eternally grateful for the privilege.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Africa Part 2

Wow, this is why blogging is difficult for me. Since last post Tom and I have been traveling with our daughter, son-in-law and 4 grandkids. We were in 3 churches and it was a real joy to renew friendships with folks that we have not seen for many years. But before I go into that, I will finish up the account of our Africa trip.

I can certainly tell you this...NO trip to a zoo will ever do much for me again. Seeing the animals on their own turf is a privilege that few experience and I will be forever grateful for the Lord's allowing us to enjoy it. We saw many, many elephants, zebra, giraffes, baboons and other monkeys, the lion, hippos, a couple of the major deadly snakes, but the snakes were not near us and I'm glad of that. We saw hundreds of Impala, and other large antelope, a few of them VERY large. We saw a bunch of warthogs which were very funny to watch. Other things included hyena, which was so close that we rolled the car window up. We are not Indiana Jones:) The Bushbabies were also cute and fun to watch.

We saw the Civit Cat of coffee fame for the stout-hearted or stupid, whichever you prefer. I personally wouldn't pay $40 for a cup of coffee that the beans went through the intestines of a small cat and were then collected, hopefully WASHED!!!!...and then the coffee beans are ground and made into coffee. Foldgers coffee will work for me just fine and is only a few cents a cup if you brew your own at home.

We went on a self safari, with Lisa driving our small rental car. We drove through a group of trees whose branches made a canape over the road. The trees were FULL of monkeys. They were running and jumping all around the car and were so thick that we rolled up the windows again because we were afraid they were going to jump into the car with us. It was getting dark and we could hear a lot of jungle noises, so we then left the windows up, because we are cowards and unfamiliar with the sounds we were hearing. When we got back to the camp the gate was closed and we were locked out. The guards must be familiar with idiot tourists though, because they were in the guard shack and let us back in with only minimal chewing out:)

All in all, it was the trip of a lifetime and will probably never be repeated by Tom and I. We are so thankful to the George Hammett and the Doug Hammett families who made it all possible. Thank you folks for your hospitality and friendship.

Part 3 will be Botswana and Victoria Falls, and the Baboons.