May Furlough 2019

Nine days ago, we made it back to the DR safe and sound! Our family spent the month of May in the States. Furlough is always a rich time visiting friends, family, and supporters. Each year, we’re forced to stop and consider all the ways the Lord has worked throughout the year. It’s so fun to share the miracle stories with others!

We visited Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Maryland. So many blessings from unexpected sources. Several people walked up to us and just handed us money. Others gave us cards, goodies for the kiddos, or verbal bits of encouragement. We were so spoiled with good food, wonderful company, and heartfelt prayers. Wow – God provides more than we need! This year, I left the States feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work here in the Dominican. Thankful!

April, May, June 2018 in Pictures

Ooops. Haven’t updated with pictures in awhile. Don’t worry. We’re still alive.

Here are 30 pictures from the last three months. These last 90 days have been full, exhausting, and yet so worth it all.

April

May
Furlough in the States

June
Summer begins

See you all on the other end of July!

How God used Art the Trucker to teach me a lesson

We had just gotten back to the States for furlough. Scott was driving through the boondocks of Indiana, looking for a place to meet up with his parents for lunch after attending a family wedding. We found an exit with several fast food restaurants and settled on Steak ‘n Shake. Scott and I decided to order early since we were headed to a checkup appointment for our soon-to-arrive baby girl. We sat down, saved some seats, and waited for our gloriously greasy burgers to arrive.

I love to people watch. I enjoy seeing what makes people tick and watching how they interact with those around them. This particular restaurant out in the middle of nowhere provided me with the perfect opportunity to do just that. So I began to chat with Scott, all the while checking out the people around me.

I watched the frazzled waitress scamper from table to table, clearing dirty dishes and pushing the tips into her pocket. I observed the strange quartet of silent deer hunters, decked out in their camo clothes, playing with their cell phones instead of talking with each other in the moment. I saw a grandmother push aside her plate of pasta that she obviously didn’t care for. She stood up to pay the ticket for her daughter and grandchildren before they all walked out of the restaurant. I watched an older couple saunter in and settle themselves in the small corner booth, oblivious of those around them. And I saw the old trucker with his giant beer belly and long salt-and-pepper beard ask the waitress for a refill.

For some reason, the trucker intrigued me. I wondered where he was from and where he was going. But the more I observed him, the more my “people-watching” turned into “people-judging”. I started making assumptions about this man who apparently frequented this restaurant on his journeys throughout the country. That guy looks pretty ridiculous, I thought.  He’s got to be a trucker – just look at that old flannel shirt, ball cap, and suspenders… At one point, he caught me staring at him. I nonchalantly looked away, focusing my eyes on another customer. But soon enough, my eyes wandered back to Trucker Guy. Wow, he ordered a lot of food… 

I got up to use the restroom at one point. On my way back to my seat, I glanced over at Trucker Guy and realized he was staring at me. Uh-oh, is this guy a creep? What in the world? He’s been sitting there forever. He needs to get the show on the road… 

Our food arrived. I was elated and scarfed down my burger and fries. Scott graciously treated me to a milkshake, and we sat there chatting some more. I happened to glance up from my ice cream to see Trucker Guy finally stand up and talk to the waitress once more.

He didn’t even drink his Coke refill! Ugh, he made that poor waitress run all over the place to take care of him. Can’t he see how busy she is? The judgmental thoughts kept flowing. Well, at least he tipped her well…

Trucker Guy stuffed a giant wad of money in his pocket and began to walk towards the exit. His path led him right past our table. I could feel him looking in our direction. I pretended not to notice him, keeping my eyes glued on my shake. And then he stopped. Right beside us. Could he hear my thoughts? I started to feel uncomfortable.

In a thick country accent, Trucker Guy spoke up, directing his words to Scott. “Hey sir, I saw your wife headed to the bathroom awhile ago, and I thought to myself, That new momma needs a break! So I bought your lunch for you.”

I was dumbfounded. And humiliated.

“Wow, thank you so much!” Scott replied. “What’s your name?”

“I’m Art.”

“Well, Art, my name’s Scott, and I really appreciate it!”

Art just smiled and said, “I bet you would’ve ordered a steak dinner if you knew I was gonna pay for it.”

We all laughed, and Art congratulated us on our soon-to-be addition to the family. I tried adding another heartfelt “thank you” to the conversation as Art walked out to his truck, but my words fell flat. As enormously pregnant as I was, I felt as small as a mouse.

Scott’s parents arrived soon, and we quickly finished up our dessert before heading to our appointment. I spent the rest of the day thanking the Lord for reminding me a very important lesson and praying that I would start to look for more opportunities to pour into the lives of those around me, just like Art did for me.

——–

1 Samuel 16:7

For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh upon the heart.

Furlough 2014

We’re back!

Our month-long furlough is over. We spent some much-needed time with our family and supporters. It took me a few days to actually unwind when we arrived in the States. I didn’t realize how much stress my body was carrying. It felt good to just physically be in the same room as our parents and siblings and friends. I’m so thankful for the technology of today, but there’s no replacement for hugs and laughs and sharing life together with others. We want to say a great big thank you to everyone who made our furlough so perfect!

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Leyton with Ang’s dad
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Scott sharing at a youth retreat
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A little baseball fun
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Some backyard sprinkler action
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Cake and ice cream for the birthday boy
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Sharing with the kids at Scott’s home church