This post is long overdue . . . we wanted to share with you some of the joys and blessings of our trip to the USA. God was so gracious to us. With Covid restrictions, we weren’t sure even up until the very last minute whether we’d be able to visit America (something we usually do as a family every 3 years). So we booked our tickets late – 3 weeks before we left (and after recovering from Covid ourselves). As a result of making last minute plans, and trying to regain our energy while we packed and prepared, we arrived in the USA without having made many plans (uncharacteristic for us Meads!) Actually it made for a refreshing change, and as a result, our schedule wasn’t quite as packed as it normally is (probably a good thing!) Still, we managed to fit in a lot! Here are some stats from our trip:
4 flights taken (23 hours of flying)
6 churches visited
7 church sermons preached
2 university chapel services preached
4 seminars taught
3 states visited (4 for Peter and Melanie)
5 houses stayed in (more for some of us)
30+ families or individuals visited (I lost count!)
3 homeschool field trips taken (plus other educational visits!)
countless precious hours spent with family! (Melanie’s Mom and Dad, sister, brother in law, nieces and nephews and aunt)
Places of beauty visited: Lake Michigan, Sunriver, OR (Deschutes River), Coltiss Lake . . . Mt. St Helens, Columbia River Gorge, Bridal Veil Falls, Latourell Falls, Bonneville Dam, Graue Mill and Salt Creek, Oregon Coast . . . probably more!
When we asked our kids what their highlights were they said:
seeing people! . . . bike riding in Sunriver . . . playing pickleball . . 6am online classes . . . playing with cousins . . . waterfall walks . . . time with family . . . tubing on Coltiss Lake . . . music jam sessions with church friends.
It was also so wonderful to get some bonus time with Hannah! She came to stay with us as many weekends as she could and her boyfriend Noah came to OR for a week. So we were able to spend some good time with him too.
In summary, we had a very blessed and encouraging trip! God was so good to us. It’s not always easy having your heart in several places. And it wasn’t easy to leave Oregon especially. But we thank God for blessing us with this amazing trip and such wonderful friends and family. He provided for us so generously. Here are some photos . . . first of some cousin fun! . . .
It was so sweet to get time with Hannah.
I love this girl so much.
It was so special getting to visit Hannah on campus at Corban and getting to meet her friends, professors. Peter was able to speak at 2 chapel meetings and I even got to attend some classes with her! Mariah and Joel both spent a couple nights there too. It was so great being able spend some time in her world.
It was also such a joy to get time with my sister.
Here’s the whole Papworth/Hickman/Mead clan (sadly minus Aliyah!)
My sister’s dog Charley became a good friend.
The kids really enjoyed reconnecting wtih friends and playing with various animals we encountered! Here they are with Kaylah’s penpal Samantha.
The autumn colours were stunning!
Beautiful Deschutes River (near Sunriver – central Oregon)
Bridal Veil Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. This is a place we visited when we were first getting to know each other. Fun to go back after 24 years!
We took a long but beautiful hike to Latourell Falls, also in the Columbia River Gorge. My parents were troopers . . . they did so well!
And here we are at one of the largest cedar trees on the west coast. It was fun taking Noah (who is from Missouri) to the coast, even though it was coooold!
We had a great visit at Moody Bible Institute – where Aliyah may end up attending.
It was a joy to spend time in Chicago with our good friends who were so hospitable and kind to us.
And of course it wouldn’t be a visit to Chicago without time with Aunt Carol. Here she is with Kaylah and Jessah at Salt Creek after a fun and educational visit to Graue Mill.
It had been a long time since we had seen Aunt Carol so the time was very special.
We had a fun early 6th birthday celebration for Jessah while we were at my aunt’s house.
Thank you for praying for our trip! God answered so many prayers and we were able to achieve the things we set out to do – mostly strengthen connections with people we love . . . family, friends, churches and prayer and financial support partners. With the world the way it is, we don’t know when we will be able to visit next. So we are savouring the memories and thanking God for his kindness.