Ahh, home! It's so nice to be home. Clean house, clean fridge... and wrinkled potatoes.
That last one was an oops. In the midst of the flurry of leaving a month ago -- at the groggy hour of 6 AM -- I failed to see I had potatoes sitting in the bowl waiting to be devoured. Unfortunately, no devouring is going to take place now. Big oops!
Oh, going back to the clean house part, I should clarify and say mostly clean. When I walked into my kitchen this morning, I saw three stink bugs in various places with their legs decidedly pointing up. Ignoring the little creatures, I wandered into the bedroom to see two more stink bugs in the same position and I finally realized that the bitter cold of Pennsylvania was effective in killing the stink bugs off and leaving them in the "legs up" position. That's a wonderful solution to killing stink bugs except I don't want to keep my apartment at a chilly 55 degrees and I would rather not smash the stink bugs to smithereens since they give off a rather unpleasant smell ~ hence the name.
That whole paragraph was brought on by the fact that there is a rather live stink bug wandering up my kitchen wall right now and I'm a big wimp at killing them. No worries though: I become rather fearless when it comes to ridding my house of bugs in Thailand, so I should be good. Besides, the stink bug will still be there in the morning, Nat can come to my rescue of getting rid of it and he'll maintain his position of being my knight in shining armor and rescuing me from... bugs. It's all good. :-)
Wow, that was quite the rabbit trail. Moving on...
We just returned from another tour of deputation, although this past month didn't feel like deputation as much as it felt like an extended vacation because we saw so many friends and family members. We even ran into some missionary friends of ours at the last church we were at. That was fun!
I feel like we made some friendships on this last trip that will become life-long friends in the ministry. For instance, we were in a missions conference in South Carolina for four days and by the time we left, we walked away with a supporting church and the feeling that we had known the dear folks there forever. Another meeting the Lord put together at the last moment and we ended up staying with the pastor and his family for a couple of days and discovered we got along very easily. With the last meeting we had, we camped out at the church for a few days (in a gorgeous prophet's chamber!) and our hearts were knit together with many in the church.
So many blessings along the way, and yet most of them don't even make it into a blog post, prayer letter, or thank you note. Not that we're ungrateful; we just can't record all that the Lord has blessed us with. But I will share one with you as a "for instance."
One afternoon a pastor's wife and I went to a second-hand shop because she had a couple of 50% off your whole order coupons that she wanted to use. Now this shop had the best prices on clothing I've ever seen in a second-hand shop and most of the clothing was name-brand quality stuff. I have been keeping my eye out for summer outfits since the weather in Thailand is summer-oriented, so as I was browsing through the shoe section, an older gentleman came up to me and gave me a 50% off coupon. I was so surprised, but very thankful. Since Nat wasn't with us and the pastor's wife had a 50% off coupon for me, Nat and and I returned to the store the next day so he could look for some things. He's been looking for several items for a while now, including a suit. Wouldn't you know, there was a suit on the rack in his size that "just so happened" to be marked down 50% already and then he was able to use the 50% off coupon too, bringing the cost of the suit to $5.00! Isn't God good?
We're currently sitting at 71% of our deputation goal and we praise the Lord for that. We're heading to the mid-west from March to May and then we'll be in Washington and Alaska during the month of June. We do have several dates to fill in during those months, especially for the West Coast trip. My husband has been praying about whether we drive or fly and felt as if the Lord was leading us to fly out to Washington. He told me the other day that he feels like he "cut the branch off the tree" when he bought our airline tickets, but he is confident that the Lord will provide the right meetings. God has never once failed us and a couple of times now He's allowed a gap in our schedule that He's filled at the very last possible minute that have been turned into the greatest blessings of all.
So we still have a lot of travel to do in the next few months, but the end is in sight! We've had a terrific deputation run and we really can't think of any bad experiences along the way. As I said before, God has been good!!!