Thursday, March 24, 2011

In the States

Eating a meal together with the interns at ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization). Jenny and Keila and I served at ECHO in North Fort Myers, as missionaries in residence.

Jenny and Keila with Jenny's parents, in Managua, Nicaragua over Christmas.

Hey Friend,

It has been a whirlwind period since Jenny and Keila and I were in Nicaragua over Christmas, spending time with the Nicaraguan part of the family. That time was pretty relaxed, and even included a few days in one of my favorite places in Nicaragua, Pearl Lagoon, on the southern Atlantic Coast.

But once we got back to Haiti, January 18th, we had just two weeks to finish dotting i 's and crossing t's before heading to the States for at least seven months. Somehow we got the most important things done, and ourselves and Keila packed, and we headed north on February 3rd.

It was a long trip, but made a bit easier by the fact that this flight we had a seat of her own for Keila.(That also allowed us to carry more luggage, which was fortunate. Keila's ticket may end up paying for itself.) Our destination was not my parents' home in Ohio, but rather Fort Myers, and specifically, an organization called ECHO (Educational concerns for Hunger Organization: A longtime friend from ECHO, Danny Blank, picked us up at the airport and delivered us to our temporary home, where we were welcomed as missionaries in residence for a month and a half.

Arriving late, with no food in the house, the young men and women working as interns at ECHO welcomed us into their homes for dinner. It was to be one of many meals we shared with the interns, and was particularly special because we found other guests from Guatemala, who spoke Spanish, as well as one of the interns with experience in Haiti, who could speak Haitian Creole with us. We were far from family, but at least linguistically, we felt immediately at home.

We got to cross the sunshine skyway bridge over Tampa bay on our way to speak at Hope Presbyterian Church in Clearwater, Florida

The next six weeks were full, and for me, included ten days of speaking to a multitude of folk in Presbytery of the James (including Richmond, Virginia) and Presbytery of the Peaks (mostly in Blacksburg, Virginia). We also had the chance to visit as a family with folks at Hope Presbyterian Church, in Clearwater, Florida, near Tampa, that has supported us for two years now. It was an all round good trip and a very beautiful drive along the coast to and from Clearwater.

One day, Jenny and Keila and I had the chance to go to a beach south of Fort Myers, with friends from ECHO. Keila was thrilled. Jenny and I were quite happy as well, although the water was not yet terribly warm.

The time at ECHO seemed to end extremely abruptly, although not without signs of our having been there, which we'll mention in the next blog. Now Jenny and Keila and I are home in Ohio, with our family family, versus the folks at ECHO who in a short time became very good friends and something much like family.

There is still much to do, not the least of which is getting ready for the new addition to our family. Jenny is due the beginning of July. And no, we do not yet know the gender, although as my Dad says, there is very nearly a 100% chance of it being a boy or a girl. We have also applied for residency for Jenny, which was tedious and complex, right from the start, and will involve a number of additional steps. And of course, there are many churches to visit and friends to catch up with.

Thank you, all of you, for all of your prayers and your support. In December, Mom compiled a list of all the churches and individuals who are part of our mission. I wish it were possible to make a personal connection with each one of you. Please know, at least, that we are overwhelmed by your generosity and grateful for your presence in our lives.

In Christ,

Mark, Jenny and Keila

1 comment:

Julia Parker said...

Mark and Jenny,
Any chance we'll get you to the Western US? I'd be happy to work on a fundraiser/speaking engagement here in Moscow, Idaho. And then you could move on to Walla Walla to see Peg and Salem, Oregon to see Mike Powers! Just a thought. I'm glad you are doing well. Julia

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