Monday, July 24, 2017

Our Trip to Virginia

The past two weeks we have been busy and on the go.  We had two week long trips back to back that left us with only one night in between to sleep at home.  We are loving all the going, seeing, and doing but it sure makes one tired at the end of the day.  In my last post I mentioned that we were in Virginia attending a debriefing conference with our mission board.  I'll pick up there and share a little about that.

In our mission, the IMB, we serve in terms.  A term can be as little as 24 months and no more than 60 months.  We, as missionaries, get to decide how long we want to stay on the field before we take some time off.  Normally we do three year terms and then take about 6 months off.  You earn time off based on the amount of time you spend on the field.  It is a great system and allows us to be able to stay on the field for long periods of time to focus on work and then come home for a long period of time to refresh and report.  Because of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering we do not have to spend our time at home raising funds.  We visit churches simply to report what is going on in our lives and ministry and to promote the organization and offering.  It takes a huge burden off of us and frees us up to focus on other things.  During that time off we are required to spend a week attending a debriefing conference so that is why we traveled to Virginia.  

On our trip back from speaking in Alabama we stayed overnight near the Jackson, MS airport to catch our early morning flight to Richmond.  We had went to bed late and then thanks to my boys playing with my watch the alarm went off around 12:30 p.m.  I felt like I had just gotten back to sleep when the hotel alarm clock (which we did not set) went off at 2:15 a.m.  It was like I was in a bad dream which made that 3:30 a.m. cell phone alarm (our intended alarm) almost painful as I reached over to turn it off.  Some days I feel like I cannot catch a break.  We started tired but excited.

The boys helping David unload the car at the airport.  This was around 4:30 a.m. on Monday morning.  They can be a handful but they do travel well.

Because we were there so early we got to watch the sunrise while we waited to board our flight.  It was beautiful!

me and Ben on the flight from Jackson to Charlotte

Once we arrived in Richmond we grabbed our luggage and ran to join a group waiting for us to board our shuttle to our training center.  We were the last ones in that group to ride that shuttle so they were glad to see us so we could leave.  The bus ride is a little less than an hour away.  The boys thought it was a lot of fun to get to ride on "the big bus". 

Our training center is a beautiful place out in the country.  The moment you enter the property you just feel a sense of peace come over you.  You also feel a little cut off from the world which allows you to get refreshed and recharged.  We always love getting to return and spend time there.

We slept in quad #7.  We shared it with three other families.  One of those families had three kids.  Two of those kids were boys ages 5 and 7 just like ours.  The four of them made an immediate bond and had the best week together. 

There are three playgrounds on the property.  This one was closest to us.  Our boys spent every evening playing there with their new friends.

David and I spent our days in class hearing updates from leadership, attending worship sessions, debriefing our time on the field with colleagues, attending breakouts sessions, getting some training, and networking.  We would be in class from 8:30- 4:30 every day.  The days were long and full. Our meals were in a cafeteria setting so we got to know a lot of new people by sharing meals around the table with them each day.  It was a great week for us.

The boys would be in class all day too but their classes were a little more fun than ours.  Their days were filled with lots of activities that involved being a TCK (third culture kid).  They talked about how to process feelings and emotions, and how to make friends. They learned about staying safe in the U.S. by activities that focused on storm safety, fire safety,  earthquakes, intruders, and they participated in a fire drill.  They shared about their host countries with their classmates and learned a little more about their home state. They got to visit the library that is on the property every day and check out books to read at night.  They learned about Lottie Moon and how the offering in her name helps our family.  They spent a lot of time learning about America.  They learned about American holidays, geography, and many American symbols like the eagle, flag, Liberty Bell, and Statue of Liberty.  They learned the pledge, patriotic songs, and made a flag cake for snack one day.  They also made smores.  They had a story teller come share stories about America one day.  They had a mobile petting zoo come and the kids got to play with and feed all the animals.  At the end of the week they had a State Fair complete with games, a pig race, and the boys favorite- snow cones.  They ended with some fun in the sun by having a water day and playing on a few inflatable water slides.  Doesn't that sound like a fun week?  There were nine students in Ben's class and 19 in Cruz's class.  Getting to be with those other TCKs was a real highlight for the both of them.  They really had a blast!

the boys ready for class one day

Cruz's sheet about Mississippi

Ben learning about the Statue of Liberty

A few photos of Ben that his teachers took during the week.

Each class had an art contest and the winners were announced at the end of the week.  Ben won 2nd place for his age group.

He was very proud of himself

David and the boys reading a library book one evening

Our evenings were free so after supper each night we would spend some time walking around the property and showing the boys around. 

looking for Guatemala on the globe

our family in Virginia

Our departure day started very similar to our arrival day.  We had a 3:15 a.m. alarm set because our airport shuttle was leaving at 4:00. 

the boys helped David load our luggage into the cart

they then enjoyed getting to ride in it to the parking lot where the bus was waiting

When we checked in at the Richmond airport the attendant gave the boys a pair of wings.  They now have wings from Delta and American Airlines. 

Their favorite thing about the Charlotte airport was running up and down these.  It helped burn a lot of early morning energy.

boarding our flight from Charlotte to Jackson

When they asked Ben if he wanted cookies or pretzels he said both.  That boy is a mess.

We were back in Jackson by 10:15 a.m.  On the drive back home to Brookhaven we met up with the Browns for lunch in Crystal Springs. 

Saturday lunch with the Browns

Sara Madalin had just made some slime and brought some to show the boys.

that kept them well entertained while we visited

Ben ended up with a piece in his hair.  Life is never dull around here!

I spent the whole afternoon unpacking, washing clothes, and repacking. That night we had family come down to see us and we all went out to eat at the local Mexican restaurant.  I was especially excited because my brother was coming.  It has been years since I've seen him.

  enjoying a visit with their Uncle Terry

We were only home for one night and then we were back on the road again.  Sunday morning we left traveling to the beach to join David's family for a week of fun in the sun.  We had a great time there and I'll share about it in my next post.  I'm tired y'all but I sure am having fun.

1 comment:

  1. First learned of your family from Missions Mosaic a few months ago. I worked at ILC from 2005-2009, taught in the preschool side of CERC, so seeing pictures of that beautiful campus and hearing what all the boys did in class made me smile BIG! I pray that your STAS will continue to be filled with many fun times with family and friends, for safety as you travel to speak at churches and that a passion for missions will be ignited as you share about your work in Guatamala! God bless yall!!
    Marlene Boothe


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