USA Trip in Review

Melanie —  September 2, 2018

 

Our time in the USA was such a blessing! It’s taken me weeks to get around to organising the photos (I had a big problem getting the photos on the computer) but finally I have some to share.  How can I sum up these seven weeks?  The Lord was so good to us and we were able to accomplish what we set out to.  We visited 3 states, slept in 7 homes, drove over 2000 miles, spoke at 15 churches/events and visited many friends (too many to count!). In the midst of it, we dealt with hundreds of mosquito bites (!), one sprained ankle and our Kaylah learned to jump into a swimming pool by herself – a milestone.  Jessah learned to very sweetly and politely say, “Thank you for having us,” as we left people’s houses.  🙂 She even said it to a lady who came to visit US where we were staying. That got a laugh!

This was our luggage for our 2 week road trip . . 

 

And yes, it did fit into the van! Phew!

 

Our purpose was to reconnect with those who support and pray for our family.  Without these wonderful friends, we could not be in full-time ministry.  The children absolutely loved spending time with their cousins and friends and it was a joy for all of us to see many people that we love – family and friends too (sadly we weren’t able to connect with all those we would have liked to due to the whirlwind nature of the trip.)  Going into the trip, I was quite apprehensive as to how I would cope with the hectic schedule but God was gracious and my migraines did not disrupt our schedule too much during our travels.

Personally, one of the highlights of the trip for me was drinking in the beauties of God’s creation.  We got to see majestic mountains, lush forests, giant redwood trees, beautiful rivers and gorges and lakes and of course the beautiful Pacific ocean (see below for one of the breath-taking sights the older girls and I saw when we were at the beach with my sister).  I found the landscape of my home-state, Oregon, to be achingly beautiful on this trip.  God’s creation  reminded me of His incredible creativity, power, beauty and majesty. Here are some Oregon coast photos:

And some from the Redwoods and San Francisco Bay (with Golden Gate Bridge in the background):

 

 

And gorgeous Crater Lake . . . the deepest lake in the USA. It’s a caldera lake which means it formed in the crater of a volcano.

And the beautiful Deschutes River.  We stayed with very dear friends who live right on the river . . . what a blessing!

 

 

What a treat to have fun on the river with cousins!

Speaking of cousins. . . it was a major highlight to spend time with my parents and my sister and her family.  The Hickmans even housed our large family for a good portion of our time in Oregon.

Here we are at a Hillsboro Hops game!

 

We went strawberry picking on my birthday! It was so beautiful out in the countryside and special to be with my family.

 

Kaylah and her cousin Elly.

 

Joel and Matthew roasting marshmallows for s’mores.

 

Hannah and Elly

 

Sharing a story

 

Grandma with Kaylah and Jessah

 

Here’s the whole clan!

 

And here are the Meadlings with Aunt Carol who graciously hosted us in Chicago. What a treat to spend time with her!

 

Fourth of July parade with Aunt Carol and dear friends. We just about melted in the heat and humidity!

 

Staying cool in the Chicago heat!

 

We met with so many wonderful people . . . here are a few photos of some of our friends. I was very impacted by the thought how God has his people in every corner of the world where they are serving and making a difference for him.  Heaven will be such a joy when we can hear each other’s stories for all eternity.

This is my dear friend Amber and her 7 children with me and my 6 (minus Hannah who wasn’t there that day!)

 

And another dear friend, Kari with her 6 children (and us Meads)

 

And the wonderful Roedel family

 

We stayed with some new friends in southern Oregon. who were such a blessing to us. This is their dog (yes, it is a dog and not a bear!)

 

It was a wonderful unexpected blessing to see my dear friend Carol. We hadn’t seen each other in 10 years!

 

Thank you so much for praying for our family during this epic trip. God answered many prayers and we are so thankful for His goodness to us.

 

Back to the present . . . we have had a busy summer at home (see our last post for some ideas of what we’ve been up to!) and tomorrow we are leaving for a short break down on the south coast.  We’re looking forward to being able to switch off after a very full summer and rest a bit. Please pray for good health and good times of bonding and encouragement for us as a family.

 

Last week Peter, the four older Meads, and five other Trinity Chippenham youth headed out to a campground in Wales for a week of youth camp run by Grace Church Bristol. They had a fantastic time! There were lots of laughs, good food, games and activities, and times of worship and teaching. All the kids and Peter came back full of stories and thankfulness for an encouraging week.  In the midst of the week, Mariah had her appendix out! Not exactly what we were expecting to happen during camp week . . . but we did know she had a “grumbling” appendix and made sure there was a hospital near to the campground.  She went into hospital Wednesday night, had the appendectomy Thursday night and came back to camp Friday night.  I wasn’t so sure that was a great idea (mother worrying from a distance!) but Peter was there with her and someone gave up a bed in a house on the site for Mariah so she didn’t have to sleep in a tent for the last night.  Needless to say, I was glad to see everyone (especially Mariah!) when they came home on Saturday.

Some of her friends from camp came to visit her in hospital.

Meanwhile, back in Chippenham, Kaylah and Jessah and I had a very special week.  We went to Bowood, read stories, went to McDonalds (or “Old McDonalds” as Jessah calls it!) and had some time with friends. It was a precious time and I think they both really benefitted from the focused attention they got from me. It was a very quiet house!! When it was only just the 3 of us, it made me realise just how complicated it is to run a household of 8 (and hopefully I will be a bit gentler on myself when I have my moments of finding it a little overwhelming!)

 

Picnic at Bowood!

 

So cute to see the girls starting to read books quietly together. (“read” in Jessah’s case!)

In other events this month, we had a wonderful family “staycation” the week before camp.  We played games, did some biking, had a picnic, played pool (we’ve got a table in our newly cleaned garage now!), and enjoyed a read aloud (Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot). It was so nice to have that downtime together. Oh, I also took Kaylah and Joel to a climbing place one afternoon.  They loved it!

 

Kaylah got more and more confident as the afternoon went on!

 

Joel must have done this wall 25 times, trying to beat his speed record!

Jessah listening to some music!

Speaking of listening, Peter has been doing a series at Trinity on “Ears to Hear” – preaching through Jesus’ parables.  Its’ been excellent (in this wife’s opinion!), Click here to listen.

 

Watch this space soon for some photos from our USA trip (finally!). I had some major issues getting photos from my phone to my computer but I have now fixed the problem . . . hope to post some photos soon!

We Are Home!

Peter —  July 23, 2018

This is just a short post to say that we are home and will be posting a report from our USA trip in the next few days.

Seven weeks passed by in a flash, but we are so thankful for the time we had.  We got to visit with family and friends in Oregon, a quick weekend trip to California (first visit in 10 years!), and a couple of weeks in Chicago.  It was so good to see family and old friends, as well as making new friends along the way too.  We are so thankful for the time we had with each person and only wish we could have had longer.  The children had a wonderful adventure and coped really well with lots of living out of bags, lots of travel, etc.  We visited twelve churches, including three that we had never been to before.  We were blessed with wonderful kindness as people hosted us in their homes, fed us great meals, etc.  In a sense we would be delighted to do the whole trip again, but in another sense we are so happy to be home and not be living out of bags … it is great to be back with our church community at Trinity Chippenham, and so perhaps we would prefer to be here for a while before we do a huge and busy trip again!

Hopefully in the next few days we will be able to give a better report, with some pictures, etc.