The First Stateside

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IMG_6797   Our son’s first stateside has come and gone.

   Because he worked on his Master’s, 9 months of that stateside he and his family lived in Edinburgh, Scotland. There was a period of 4 months prior to their leaving for Edinburgh and a couple of months after their return that was spent with family and friends here in the States. That time was divided between Memphis, Tn.; Rome, Ga.; and Andrews, S.C. Yes, it was hectic for them and all involved actually.

   Because we did not have the advantage of experience, it was a learn as you go situation for all concerned. Some of the events planned merited a must do again status. And as expected, there were some things we realized needed to be tweaked a bit to improve the next stateside experience. 

   There were certainly a few bumps and adjustments along the way for all of us. Some were more difficult than others to manage. But by God’s grace we managed them. We learned that some of the advice handed out by more experienced statesiders, proved not to be as applicable for our families. On the other hand, some of that advice proved to be quite practical.

   My recommendation

for the missionary family, therefore, is to consider the advice that is given. At the same time consider all the families involved, and fashion your stateside time accordingly. My son’s family’s next stateside won’t look too much like this first one, for the entirety of their next stateside will likely be spent in the States. Once again, they will consider what was learned their first time around and factor in the advice of more seasoned statesiders. Considering all of that, they will make their plans. And we as their stateside families, will do our part by accommodating those plans. 

   As families in the States, we must be careful to allow our missionaries the freedom to plan out their time home without adding unrealistic expectations on our part. Our desire should be to send them back to the field strengthened and encouraged by the memories made in their homeland. They will have more than enough baggage to transport. Our goal should be not to add to it!



Back to the Bush: Happy Birthday!

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Our birthday boy with his dad.

Our birthday boy with his dad.


     While living in the bush, one of our trainee’s children celebrated his 8th birthday. Here we were out in the middle of nowhere! I was really curious about how this celebration would turn out and how it would compare to his birthdays in America! I am sure this young man also wondered what kind of birthday, if any, he would have living in the bush. As it turned out this young man did celebrate his birthday and while basic in its celebration, it couldn’t have been more unique!


Our birthday boy's younger brother devouring the chocolate birthday cake.

Our birthday boy’s younger brother devouring the chocolate birthday cake.

   Back at base camp one of the trainees had baked a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and a coke cake with buttercream icing and brought it as a surprise. My young friend was the most popular person in camp. Everything centered around him that afternoon. 



camp chameleon

camp chameleon

   My son had just returned from running an errand and on the way back to bush camp he saw a chameleon on the road. Guess what the birthday boy got for a gift that day!

   The chameleon was exotically beautiful. At first he was kept in a box, but that just seemed too restraining for a creature who previously had run of the African Savannah. The cactus tree in the center of camp seemed much more accommodating, so that became its new home. 



  According to the birthday boys wishes, we had two types of chicken soup (one with noodles, compliments of a local store near base camp, and one with rice!) I might add both were delicious, and I’m not kidding. Do you suppose it was so yummy because it wasn’t beans and rice? No, take my word for it, those trainees had mastered the art of cooking from scratch over a charcoal fire! The birthday boy was glorying in all the expressions of love, good tasting food, birthday presents, and attention. Any American kid would have envied him, I think!

     While this young man’s birthday may not have been typical in American terms, it contained all the necessary ingredients in making it memorable. He was surrounded by his loving parents and siblings, a host of grown up friends and young friends; presents, good food, and lots and lots of love. You think he might grow up and remember his bush birthday as one of his most memorable? Yep, bet he does!

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