We left Haiti on May 28th for our first Home Assignment and returned home to Haiti 12 weeks later. Our goal was threefold: to get some much needed rest and family time, to say thank you in person to as many supporters as we could, and to raise the additional support we needed to return to the field.
To say our summer was packed with activity is an understatement! I don’t even know where to start describing all that we did, all the people we saw, and all the places we travelled. We put over 8,000 miles in the the vehicle we borrowed (thanks Greg and Star Harvie!), travelled to 19 states, slept in 22 different places, shared at 8 different churches and with over 14 different church groups. If I’m counting correctly, Rob and I shared our hour long photo presentation 36 times! We were able to visit with the majority of our support team. If we missed you on our journey, either because we weren’t visiting your region or because we couldn’t make a meeting work while we were in your area, know we missed you and are very grateful for your support of our ministry!
We started out with 2 weeks in SW Florida, visiting with supporters, seeing doctor’s for annual check-ups, and working in RMI’s FL office. A special shout-out to Eddie and Kelly Reynolds (and Kasey and Shane) for opening your home to us! The kids really enjoyed their time there: especially the swimming pool and trampoline! In 2 weeks time, Tessa went from a timid swimmer to a confident swimmer! The kids were able to attend a week of VBS at our church in SWFL.
After that we took a week to travel north with overnight stops in GA, NC and MD. We enjoyed catching up with friends, supporters and family! We arrived in NJ on June 22nd and spent just short of 6 weeks there (2 weeks being vacation.) We continued to meet with churches, supporters, potential supporters and see more doctors! It was nice to stay with our parents and enjoy the time with family when we didn’t have other commitments.
We were thrilled to take some vacation time as well: both as a family unit and with our extended families. We enjoyed 3 days on Sanibel Island in Florida in June, just the 5 of us! We swam in the pool, had fun at the beach, played mini-golf and explored the nature preserve there.
In July, we spent one week of vacation with my side of the family and one with Rob’s side of the family. I wouldn’t call those weeks relaxing! The time we had with them was very full of activities—and just being together! The kids really enjoyed the time with their grandparents and cousins and we were thrilled to see almost everyone (we missed seeing the Nebraska Thompsons.)
While we enjoyed that time with our family, many things happened outside of our control that made it disappointing for us and our extended families. During the “Brower Week” a huge storm with 100+ MPH winds blew through one night, leaving us with no power for 5 days. It took down over 20 trees on my Mom’s property including a 100 year old oak tree that landed on the house. It took a huge crane and 6 hours of work to remove that one tree from the house. My Mom is still working with the insurance company and hopes that repairs to the house can start in the next week or two. Many of the kids cousins were sick with various illnesses over those two weeks. So while we enjoyed the time spent with them, many different circumstances prevented us and our family from enjoying that time to the fullest.
Rob and I also enjoyed a one-night getaway to Lewes, DE to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary! Thanks to our parents for taking good care of the kids!
From NJ, we travelled west to central IL, stopping one night in PA to visit friends. We attended the wedding of Drew’s 1st grade teacher (who is Tessa’s teacher this year!). Our final destination was the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. Thanks to Cal and RaeAnn Stuart for opening your home to us for 10 days! Our time in Chicago was packed: every night and many days we had meetings with supporters. And we sadly didn’t get to see everyone! We also had a fun day taking the kids downtown on the subway and visiting the Shedd Aquarium.
After we left Chicago, it was lots and lots more driving and many more visits with supporters. We spent 2 nights in Tennessee, one night in Arkansas, a few nights in Louisiana, one night in central FL, and then back to SWFL. Our 4 days there was busy as we used the time to finish shopping, work in the FL office, squeeze in 3 eye exams, and visit with more supporters. By the time we were done it all, we were SO READY to come home! One thing I think we will do different next time is take a short vacation at the end—after all that travel and meetings, we really needed it!
We had a really great summer: we saw so many people, had some fun times, gave updates on our ministry and said thank you, and worked on raising new supporters. At the end of it all, we accomplished most of our goals! While we were able to raise a significant amount of support during our visit, we still find ourselves $381/per month short of our need. We are praying God raises up those individuals or churches for us in the next few months. Would you pray for us to meet this goal? If you feel led to join our financial support team you can do so here.
We are so thankful for each and every one of you! We couldn’t serve here with out your prayers and support!