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Four Months in America

Last week, when Johnny arrived in Tanzania and got into the taxi that would take him home, Gil asked him, "Do you know where we are going, Johnny?"

My 5-year-old, jetlagged, very confused son answered, "To Uncle Brandon's house?"

Oh my sweet boy.  We have really messed with your mind.  Uncle Brandon's house is now 10,000 miles away.  You are going home now.

We spent four months in the States.  It was jam-packed with memory-making, especially with family.  My kids spent days....weeks with their cousins, often living in the same house.  Other family members rearranged their lives over and over again so that they could spend more time with us.  Lots of swimming, lots of games of Wiffle Ball, lots of bike riding.

We drove as far north as Concord and as far south as San Diego.  We drove from southern to northern California and back again at least five times.  Gil and I traveled to Austin for a conference and I traveled by myself to Minneapolis for a week.  We hugged so, so many people.  We were listened to.  We were spoiled.  And the ice cream.  Oh, the ice cream.

And the shopping.  Ridiculous amounts of shopping.  Enough to fill up 18 pieces of luggage.  We bought out Amazon and the packages arrived daily on the doorstep of wherever we were staying.  "Wow, you must use a lot of deodorant," the cashier at Target told me as she beeped through 14 canisters.  "Um, yeah, well, we live in tropical Africa," I told her.  And she didn't really know how to respond to that.  People usually don't.

I did get so tired of living like a hobo, organizing my kids' clothes again and again, adjusting to different beds again and again.  The travel and the chaos was often exhausting.  But I am so thankful.  Thankful that my kids had a chance to interweave their lives with their cousins.  Thankful for the reminder of all who hold us up with their prayers and giving.  Thankful that we really do get the best of two worlds.

Thank you, family, friends, American Church.  You are so good to us.

This was June.  I get tired again just looking at it.

Look at that....speaking at Faith Community Church on a missions panel....actual evidence that we did work on this home assignment!  We really did do a whole lot of speaking and presenting and meeting with supporters....we just never took pictures of those events.  

And of course....there's the obligatory medical tests whenever we visit the States.  Medical care is improving in Tanzania (for people who have money), but there are still some things (like allergy testing) that we need to do in America.

My favorite.  Cousin love.

We visited a lot of supporters, but sometimes those visits are just really, really special.  Lois is one of our biggest prayer warriors and one of this blog's biggest fans.  It was a treat to spend time with her.  

Sigh.  We love grandparents so much.

And there's the other ones.  I get a lump in my throat every time I see these pictures.

And Johnny just about sums it up.  

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