Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Beginning Our Fourth Missionary Term

On Monday we flew back to Guatemala to begin our fourth missionary term with the IMB.  Cruz woke up extra early, got dressed, and then woke the rest of us up so we could get going.  He was excited about "going home". 

Our flight out of Jackson was not until 1:00 in the afternoon so we had plenty of extra time to kill.  We ended up leaving the house earlier than initially planned and squeezed in a little extra time with friends before driving to the airport.

all loaded up and ready to go

We met the Browns for breakfast at McDonald's in Byram.  It has an indoor playland so in addition to eating, the kids got to play and burn some energy.  That allowed us adults some time to visit.   They were planning to see us off at the airport anyway so after eating they just followed us there.  We are so thankful for all the time we have been able to spend with them while in the States.  They are dear friends who have loved us well.  We will miss them greatly!

arriving at the airport
When we opened the back of our van to unload our luggage the Delta attendant laughed and asked "where are you all moving to?"  We must have had a little more luggage than he is used to seeing.

Cruz helping move luggage.  I love that the boys are big enough now to help with the bags including carrying their own through the airports.  Traveling has definitely gotten easier with them.

our traditional airport photo as we began our fourth term

Just for fun here are a few photos of our family returning to the mission field over the years-

 our airport photo when we began our third term in 2014 (the boys were 4 and 2)

 our airport photo when we began our second term in 2010  (I was 30 weeks pregnant with Cruz)

our airport photo when we began our first term in 2006

Now back to Monday...

 getting checked in

that poor attendant had more help than I think he wanted or needed

When we checked in and weighed our bags a few of them were only 48 or 49 pounds.  David rejoiced and was ready to send them on but I was not having it.  Instead I started pulling stuff out of the carry-ons and stuffing it in.  I was determined to get all 50 pounds that was allowed in each bag. 

Doing a little repacking at the airport.

Thankfully it was not the other way around and we were overweight having to take stuff out to put in our carry-ons.

I don't think he lost that smile all day.

me and my friend Malinda
I am going to miss her!

another family photo at the airport

Just outside of security there is a waiting area.  We hung out there with the Browns until the last minute to check in.  While waiting and visiting we were surprised to look up and see this familiar face coming towards us.  My friend Kim (who leads our homeschool fellowship group) and her daughter had come by to see us off.  What a sweet surprise.  She has been such an inspiration to me and I was glad for that one last visit before we left.  Our homeschool group was a highlight of our time in the States.  I am so thankful for the blessing it was to our family.

Not long afterwards it was time to go.  I had been so strong and held it together through all the goodbyes and leaving.  We hugged the Browns, told them goodbye, and then I fell apart.  The reality that we were really leaving hit me and I cried off and on for the rest of the day and night.  I was excited about returning but at the same time just filled with a sense of grief at all we were leaving behind.  I know I might make our life look easy at times but I can assure you not much about this life is easy at all.  At times it is just painfully hard and Monday was definitely one of those days.  The call on our lives to go is what keeps us going and I am glad that when it's hard to walk God faithfully carries us through. 

boarding the plane from Jackson to Atlanta

off we go!

Our last meal in the U.S. was in the Atlanta airport at one of our favorite places.  David is in there somewhere ordering our food.

Our flight from Atlanta to Guatemala City left around 6:30 p.m.  We enjoyed a beautiful sunset view from our plane seat.  I think it was God's way of cheering me up and making me smile.

next stop, Guatemala

me and Cruz ready for take-off

me and Cruz back in 2014 when we flew back to Guatemala

the lights over Guatemala City as we were arriving

I was so thankful that all of our luggage arrived and we were out and loaded up quickly.  We had arranged for a van to pick us up and drive us to our mission house.  Here are the boys enjoying the sights of Guatemala City as we drove there.  They kept saying "I remember that place!"  "Look mama, we've been there!" etc.  It was fun to see their excitement about being back.

We got to bed late and expected to sleep in the next morning.  But, much to our surprise, the boys were up at 6:00 ready to start the day.  So much for rest. 

We called in breakfast delivery from McDonald's. 

One of our favorite things is the McMuffin Chapin.  It has egg, cheese, sausage, and refried black beans on it.  We have missed eating that.

We spent the rest of the morning out picking up a few grocery items and supplies that we normally buy in Guatemala City.  We spent the afternoon napping and resting.  Much needed naps and rest I might add.  That evening we had supper with the Thomas family.  They are a fellow IMB missionary family that lives in the city.   It was great to see them again and catch up in person.

Today is an exciting day.  We actually drive home and begin the readjusting phase.  We are anxious to get back to our place.  Maybe not so anxious to clean, unpack, and get settled in but still anxious and excited.  It is a minimum four hour drive.  Would you pray for safe travels today?  Pray for an easy transition to the life we know and love.  We will not have internet service until we can get it hooked back up but we will update again when we can.  Thanks for following along on our journey and praying us through each step of the way.  We are hoping that these next few years area some of our most productive yet.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Our Last Few Days

If there is one thing I am relieved about being over it is definitely the packing process we have gone through over the past week.  It is so stressful and mentally tiring.   I am so glad to have that behind us.  I am not looking forward to unpacking either but I will deal with that later this week.

the joys of packing

We did school Monday - Thursday of last week.  When we were not doing that we were either packing or visiting.  I did not do a great job of getting pictures with everyone we saw.  We had supper with the Browns on Monday night, with David's dad on Tuesday night, and with my dad on Friday night.  I have already blogged here about Wednesday's Valentine's Day celebration and Thursday's early birthday celebration.  It was a full week for sure.

On Saturday afternoon my mom watched the boys while David and I made a final run to Wal-Mart for last minute things.  We caught up with them downtown where they were playing and watching the trains.

my mom, me, and my Aunt Nita

 Aunt Nita and the boys

We also dropped off Lucy and Charlie at my mom's house.  We are going to miss them but I know she will take good care of them for us.  They have been fun pets for the boys.

On Saturday night we met some of David's family at the local fish house for supper.  It was great to enjoy that meal one more time.   It is one of our favorites.

When we finished eating we all enjoyed cake to celebrate the February birthdays.  Several of us are celebrating this month.

 the boys with their Aunt Robin (David's sister)

Sunday was an adventure.  It was our last day in the States and we had a lot to accomplish that day.  All of those plans were quickly changed when early that morning we discovered a pipe had come undone in our master bathroom and flooded the bathroom and hallway of the mission house where we were living.  We just cannot catch a break!  So, instead, we spent most of the day cleaning up water and drying things out.  It added a few extra loads of unexpected laundry also.

We got everything done just in time to make a final trip to our storage shed to drop some things off.  We also made a final visit with both of our moms and David's grandmother.

 the boys with Maw Maw Farmer
She will turn 94 in April

Larsen and the boys 

one last picture with my mom

We ended the night at the local Mexican restaurant having supper with our friends the Browns.  

Sunday night was our last night in the States.  We finalized all packing and as I like to say "it was all over but the crying."  We traveled back to Guatemala on Monday.  I will post about that next.  

Thanks to everyone who prayed for us over those last few days.  We felt your love and prayers.  Even in the most stressful of moments I still had a sense of peace.  I know that was from prayer.  Thank you.  We have a great support group!

Saturday, February 17, 2018


In addition to everything else we have had going on this week we also took a little time to celebrate.  First we celebrated Valentine's Day and next we celebrated my birthday a little early with family.  Here is a look at what we did for both of those.

Our homeschool group has a Valentine's party every year at the local skating rink.  We were very excited about getting to participate this year.   The boys got to pick out Valentine's Day cards and swap them with the other kids.  That was a fun experience for them.  I initially wanted to make some cute homemade ones but instead decided it would be more fun for the boys if they got to pick out the ones they wanted from the store.  Cruz chose Ninja Turtle cards that included pencils and Ben got Skittles.    Here they are writing their names on their cards.

We started the day with heart shaped banana pancakes.

We spent the morning doing school.  My mom came by to give the boys a Valentine's Day gift.

a family photo on Valentine's Day

Our party began at noon.  We all took finger foods to share and then spent some time skating.  The boys had a blast!

Ben giving out his Valentine's Day cards.

Cruz looking through some of his stuff when we got back home.

Next we went to the local theater to see Peter Rabbit.  It was a cute movie.

We returned home just in time for a visit with David's sister and niece.  As soon as they left we loaded up and went to our last Wednesday night prayer meeting at Central Baptist.  We have really enjoyed getting to be a part of their Wednesday night activities while we have been in the States.  We are really going to miss them.

On Thursday we met family for lunch at Porches to celebrate my birthday.  The actual day is not until later this month but we celebrated early since I will be back in Guatemala by then.  Thursday is my favorite day to eat lunch there because of the menu so that was the day I chose to go.  It was a lot of fun and I am very glad I got to squeeze in our more meal at my most favorite place.

birthday lunch at Porches

My mom brought gifts, balloons, and a cookie cake.

She loves birthdays just as much as I do.

Shrimp and fried eggplant croistini- one of my favorite meals

the boys with my dad

me with Mrs. Ann

our family at Porches

me and my mom

After lunch my mom and I went shopping and ended the day with pedicures.  It has been our tradition before every return to Guatemala to go get one together.  It is always a fun time.

I am glad we got to squeeze in both of these celebrations before we go back.  I will miss times like this when we are gone but we will have fun memories to reminisce about.  It will also give us something to look forward to on our next visit home.
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