Saturday, July 5, 2014


After our stop in St. Joseph, we drove to northeastern Ohio to begin our week in the Buckeye state.  In trying to keep our kids engaged while driving, I give them crop and animal identification quizzes and like to ask questions related to their surroundings. Here is an example:

Me: What is the nickname of the state of Ohio?
Samuel:  The Buckeye State
Me:  And what is a buckeye?
Samuel:  A deer eyeball.

:) I therefore proceeded with some education on the subject.  We've got two Buckeye's by birth in the family, but when you are a third culture kid, identification with your roots is always a complicated matter.

I always find it interesting how our kids' memories are triggered when we visit places and stay in peoples homes.  They insist they don't remember places or people, but if you can get them to remember the animals associated with the people it is instant recognition and the floodgates of memories start to spill out.  "Oh, this is the house where they had chocolate chip Eggos...this is where Trixie lives, the dog with one blue eye and one brown eye...this is where they had pet rats...this is where we played horse shoes...this is the church where we ate McDonald's happy meals in the lobby before the service..."

As they are growing older, your names are being remembered and the ways in which you have invested and blessed them in our brief visits are taking precedence over your identity as the owner of your pets.

Pastor and Mrs. Hayes are now identified as Cocoa's parents
After two church visits in NE Ohio, we drove to Cedarville where we camped out for the week.  So it definitely wasn't "camping" as we were hosted in the lovely home of our dear friends, the Potter's.  

We had a wonderful week reconnecting with friends and churches in the area.  Our days were full and nights were late, but the blessings of rich fellowship and encouragement received were truly a gift to us.  A highlight for us is always the time we spend with our home pastor and his wife.  We could not ask for better leaders and encouragers who are full of wisdom, vision, insight and understanding of missions and the unique challenges faced by missionaries.  They get it...and that is a gift to us along with their friendship! 

In addition to the late night game playing with Mrs. Potter, the kids love the peer interaction they get while in town.  This visit was highlighted by the growth in their bonds with the Wallis and Ardnt kids.  Samuel also really loved that he got a chance to attend youth group.

Thank you to everyone who spent time with us, opened up their homes, fed us, treated us to ice cream, the pool, told us they pray for us and so much more!  We love visiting Ohio and wish we could stay longer!
Our the road again...

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