It has been FOREVER since I have shared anything here. Sorry! I told you I am not really a blogger. 🙂 But I was recently in the U.S. for 2.5 months on Home Assignment, and I wrote about it in my newsletter. So I wanted to share some photos of my time at home.
I decided to try to make the most of my flights, so I flew from Haiti to visit a supporting church in Bowling Green, OH. To do that, I flew into Detroit…which meant I got the added pleasure of spending a couple days with my good friends, Tammy and Jim Hobbs! I also had the pleasure of shoveling the driveway with Tammy after probably a 6-inch snowfall. Actually, I really did enjoy it!
After a couple days with Tammy, she brought me to meet up with friends from Brookside Church in Bowling Green. These are friends I met in Haiti about 3.5 years ago, but it was my first time visiting their church. My time sharing with the church went really well, but it was the time I spent with Mark & Beth and Andy & his family that I enjoyed most!
Andy – an elder at the church and member of the team who came down to Haiti – interviewed me.
After my weekend in OH, I headed to my first home – Minnesota! And I got home just in time to go to the viewing of my nephew’s film that he and some buddies made and entered into a film festival. They were they only high school team in the festival, and I am so proud of him!
In those first couple weeks at home, I had the chance to get together with several of my friends – my best friend from junior high, college friends, church friends, Haiti friends. Loved it!
Me and my “bestie”, Tanya!
My fun friend and frequent short-termer in Haiti, Maria!
Pretty much every Sunday I got to share at a different partnering church. These are all churches who support me financially and/or in prayer as well as churches who are significantly invested in the GlobalFingerprints program in Haiti. It was a joy to share with them stories of what God is doing in Haiti! And I especially enjoyed the chance I had to share with many children’s ministry groups, including an Awana club! (Wish I had pictures!)
I also got to participate in a ReachGlobal debrief. This was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the past, look to the future, and lay it all at the foot of the Cross. We had some great times of worship and devotionals, personal reflection time, and a few different times to process one-on-one with other ReachGlobal staff and members of our Care team. Needed it more than I realized and so thankful for it!
The weekend after debrief, I had the special privilege of getting together with 2 former students! So cool to be able to keep in contact with these 2 for so many years! Both are married and one is expecting her first child. Crazy! Thanks for taking the time to get together, Hannah and Charito!
It was also super fun to connect with another ReachGlobal missionary friend who was also on home assignment at the same time! Thanks for some great talks and walks, Angie!
Did I mention that Minnesota had some exceptional spring snow while I was in town?! I hated to admit it to all the folks who had already had several months of winter, but…I was enjoying it!
I love hiking in the fresh snow! This day it was still coming down pretty good!
I was staying with my friend, Tanya, and she & her family recently moved farther out. Loved being so close to a state park and great trails!
From the evening of Friday, April 13 through the morning of Monday, April 16, we got 22 inches of snow! Crazy! It was blowing so hard on that Saturday that even the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport shut down for 8 hours! I didn’t drive anywhere for 2 days…and didn’t even go outside on Saturday (Heidi and I may have binge watched pretty much all of the first season of “Victoria”.). But on Sunday, once the wind died down a bit, I couldn’t wait to go out for a walk.
And who can resist a snow angel?!
The next couple weeks were more of the same (minus all the snow) – sharing at churches on Sundays (which involved one weekend trip to Naperville, IL), meeting with ministry partners throughout the week, and getting together with family and friends.
Throughout my home assignment, I was thankful to be able to spend some time on my personal health and development as well. I got my teeth cleaned and went to a gastroenterologist for the first time (got more out of that than I bargained for!). I had lots of great conversations that were good for my emotional health. I met with a financial advisor and even gave away some things I’ve had in storage. And I went on an amazing Quite Waters retreat!
The retreat was at Two Rivers Church in Knoxville, TN.
Two Rivers has been a resource to ReachGlobal, in general, and to our team in Haiti, in specific. They are a church that focuses on Word and Spirit (the Two Rivers) and have taught us more about prayer as a two-way conversation and how God speaks to us. Quiet Waters was a sweet time set aside to just hear from God!
During my final weeks in the Twin Cities, I was busy trying to wrap everything up – see everyone I could, buy whatever I needed/wanted to bring back to Haiti, last church presentation, etc. Somehow you always manage to get it all done…or at least the things that REALLY needed to get done. But I did manage to sneak in a Twins game with some friends!
Thanks, Steve and Joelle, for inviting me to come along! It was a beautiful day…though I still had to bundle up a bit!
If you couldn’t tell from the other picture, Steve got us 4th row seats! Pretty sweet! We could look right across home plate and into the Twins dugout. Should have gotten a picture of Paul Moliter!
And then I got to go up north and spend a week just being with my parents! It was wonderful to have a week with no place I had to go and the time to just visit with my parents and help them with some yard projects. I love doing that…when I don’t HAVE to do it ALL the time. 🙂 And God blessed us with beautiful weather! We did take a little time to just relax outside as well.
The epitome of calm!
From MN – on my way back to Haiti – I stopped in Hershey, PA to spend some days with friends and supporters there. My team was praying that I would have some time to relax before my return to Haiti…but they forgot what kind of hosts the Chocklettes are! Yep, that’s right – I have friends named Chocklette (pronounced like chocolate) who live in Hershey! Isn’t that awesome?! And they are awesome people who treated me to a wonderful few days!
I got to spend time at Hilltop Christian Nursery School where Becky is the director. It is housed at Hershey EFC, and they partner with a school in our area to do teacher training. My first full day in Hershey was Hilltop’s hot dog lunch to raise money for Haiti. I got to help serve. Becky was really the big promoter!
Complete with ketchup and mustard shoes!
The next night we had a Haiti dinner at the church. The Chocklettes made a wonderful Haitian meal – rice and beans with chicken, pikliz, beets, and mango ice for dessert. And another man from the church was able to find and contribute several bottles of Kola Kouwòn (Crown Cola – a Haitian soft drink that tastes a little like liquid Juicy Fruit). And then Becky shared about Hilltop’s involvement in Haiti; I shared about ReachGlobal’s work in Haiti in general; and Pastor Dave shared about Hershey Free’s involvement and opportunities going forward. It was a wonderful night of coming together!
In addition to some yummy meals out and time at Hershey Park, we spent a lovely afternoon at the Longwood Gardens. Not only are the gardens beautiful…
…but it was also the first day of the fountains for the season.
And we stayed into the evening for a illuminated fountain show choreographed to the music from The Wizard of Oz. Super cool!
Can you tell what this represents? And there are even flames on the top of the small fountains!
My time in Hershey – and the States – wrapped up by sharing with the KidStep kids of Hershey Free on Sunday morning and having a special lunch out at a nice restaurant to celebrate Mothers’ Day.
I would definitely say that my home assignment was a success. My “assignment” was to:
- Raise Additional Support/Connect with Supporters
- Retool/ personal and professional development including: taking courses, writing, reading books, attending debriefing etc.
My time at home allowed me to accomplish all of those things! And I am so blessed by all my family, friends, and partners who showed me such great hospitality, generosity, encouragement, and support!