By the way, I did find one picture that was taken at my sister's house last month:
From left to right: Sarah (sis-in-law), Tom (brother), Andrew (nephew), Ken (bro-in-law), Nat, me, and Aunt Jean (my dad's sister). So there you go... a new picture!
Anyway. Where did I leave off? Oh, right, I remember ~ trying to summarize the last three months into one post:). A few weeks before Nat came to Thailand, Ben (another guy from my church) came over to be a help to the missionaries I was working with. To make a long story longer:), Ben somehow figured out that there was some, ummm, interest on my side in regards to Nat so he suggested I just be myself when Nat came. I wasn't sure if he meant be myself as in break down a bathroom door or throw food down the stairs, so I erred on the side of caution and instead chose to stick my foot in 3 inches of mud because I'm just so graceful that way;). Interestingly enough, my name happens to mean "graceful"... right. Moving along!
As I stated in yesterday's post, Nat and I were friends, so it was just a lot of fun to have Nat work in the office with the rest of us. I greatly enjoyed not only having people from my church there (at one point, a third man from my church stopped in for a visit during a business trip), but having people I was very comfortable around as a part of our team. As a side note, it was always so rewarding and refreshing to host people who came through on missions trips, although it was also very exhausting work too! I must admit that when Nat left in mid-August, the ladies on our team breathed a collective sigh of relief that our last visitor was gone:). That ended a 3-month marathon of cooking dinners and hosting visitors throughout the entire summer, and quite frankly we were plain tuckered out!
After Nat left, I had about two weeks left in Thailand before I returned to the States. Those last two weeks were probably the most emotional weeks I experienced while in Thailand, because I dearly loved being a part of the work there in Bangkok and yet I knew the Lord was leading me home. Two weeks quickly turned into a week, and then the day of departure was at hand. My Thursday night flight out of Bangkok was a midnight flight, so that meant I could have one more Bible Study service with the team. As Bro. Tom conducted the study, he had tears in his eyes when he said to me, "Anne, God is closing the door for you here in Thailand, but that's because He has something better in store for you."
At that particular moment, I couldn't imagine anything possibly being better than me staying in Thailand, but praise the Lord He is not directed by my feelings and wants! It was almost as if my sweet Savior was beseeching me to simply trust Him with the next step on the path... He wouldn't lead me astray! That night many tears were shed and hugs exchanged, but the Bible Study was exactly what I needed to hear and it prepared me spiritually and emotionally for the transition back to the States.
Immediately after flying to the States, I took a week-long trip to Florida and am so glad I did. This trip was most necessary in getting over some hurdles and adjusting to life in the States again. By the time we headed home on Saturday, I was ready to get back to the real world awaiting me in Pennsylvania:). Sunday was a big shock to me as I greeted people I hadn't seen in over a year, marvelled at the way the kids at church grew, and observed the many different changes that took place to the actual building during my absence. Over the next few days I felt like I was walking through a fog and trying not to compare everything to Thailand ~ a memory that was still very fresh in my mind.
The following Thursday I was sitting in my room reading when the phone rang. Since my parents were both still sleeping, I answered the phone and was surprised to hear Nat on the other end. Surprise turned to shock when he said he was calling to speak with my dad. After mumbling something half-way intelligible about calling back later, I hung up and just stared at the phone. I was fairly confident that Nat wasn't calling my dad just to chat about the weather, but at the same time I didn't really want to think about why he was calling to talk to my dad!
I had told Nat to call back at 1, so I made sure I was far away from the house when that conversation took place! My friend and I had taken up walking at a nearby park, so I quick called her up and asked if we could go walking for an hour or three:). I tried not to think about what in the world Nat and my dad were talking about, and the Lord had a sense of humor enough to provide a diversion for me:). My friend had to go deal with something and I ended up baby-sitting her son while she was gone.
I thought I was in the middle of a movie when chaos broke out at my friend's house: the dog was barking frantically, the baby boy was crying hysterically, and my cell phone was ringing ~ all at the same time, of course! Even though I didn't recognize the number, I picked up the phone anyway and Nat was on the other end. I felt slightly rude in asking him to call back later, but the screaming baby on my lap convinced me that was the best plan to implement;).
I would love to continue on, but I think this is another good stopping point:). Who knows? Maybe I'll get to part 3 tomorrow :D.