This blog is going to be in bullet points because there is so much to tell and Andrew has been reminding me for several weeks that I am supposed to be writing this. I haven't been able to yet because it has been insanely busy around here. We leave in just 8 days on Jan 18. He likes to think I can use the 'downtime' like when we are in the car for 3.5 hour trips to Memphis which is what I happen to be doing now. However, we spend the whole time calling the 40 people back about our van for sale and arguing about 'dual climate control' in cars-which is a lie by the way. If two people have control of one side of the car and one is blasting hot air while the other blast cold the van is still going to be warm. And by warm I mean too hot for one and too cold for the other. Also, Ivey likes to ask the same questions 400 times. Two hours and 200 question into it we are still going home. Therefore, downtime is also is a lie. So, you all get bullet points.
Here is the list of reasons I am typing in the loud, hot van:
• We began our speaking engagements with Cordova Church in Memphis Tn. where we were members when we lived there. To have such wonderful people let us come and share our story and be in such support of us is more encouragement than they know. Everyone had such kind words of encouragement and they surrounded us just like they have so many times in the past and prayed over us for our journey. They even did a special offering for us and the amount that they gave was phenomenal. We have been so shocked at the generosity of the people of God and what they have done for us-not only financially but in prayer, service and words of encouragement.
• My brother Bret got married and Levi and Ivey were the ring bearer and flower girl. Levi ended up mysteriously getting ink all over the churches hard wood floors on the night of the rehearsal which was quite a mess and Ivey would yell at the bride, "Kelly, hey Kelly!, look over here, I am over here" whenever Kelly was anywhere near hearing distance. She was a bit enamored with the whole beautiful dress and wedding idea. They were really adorable at the reception where Levi wore what Andrew called 'hammer pants' and they danced the night away. And of course we adore the bride and groom and are so excited about the life that they are now sharing. They will most certainly be a great team.
• We had our second speaking engagement with a small group class at Tusculum Church of Christ. Again, we were so encouraged by the people and their response to our story. We were again surrounded and prayed for by a group of such kind and wonderful people. Many stayed afterwards to talk with us and we so encouraging.
• Harpeth Community Church, which is our home church, has agreed to be our sending church. Which means that we will be under their eldership and that they will help us with the information we need to be successful in Sierra Leone. Through the elders we have been able to meet with several incredible men of God such as Neil Anderson and Jerry Trousdale. And, they allowed our small group to do a blanket drive where they sold blankets with the TRS logo and our website on them. So many of Harpeth's wonderful people supported us and we again are very thankful for the generosity of God's people.
• Those same friends came over on a Saturday morning and painted our garage and living room-two of the biggest wall spaces in our house-IN TWO HOURS! They have become our mission board and will be our prayer support, our financial coordinator, our encouragement board and administrative partners. We have REALLY great friends.
My mom apparently felt like chopped liver from the lack of mentioning her in the last post so I'll say here that the number of hours that she has watched our children is mounting up to extreme and we will most certainly miss her. I'll also miss the Monday night coupon drops and Levi and Ivey will miss the impromptu babysitting. I will maybe not miss the cut out articles-although she will probably find a way to get them to Sierra Leone. I have read one to many article about the ice sculptures in Nashville. Ha! Couldn't get her in there without poking fun and she will miss that.
• We are now in possession of travel visa's, kids passports, international drivers licenses, and Andrew insisted he needed a machete that I am certain is going to be the cause of one of the claims on our new international health insurance.
• We rounded up our speaking events with the Church of Living Water who just like the two before impressed us with their kindness, attentiveness, encouragement, and generosity. They could not have possibly been any nicer and we are so thankful to have met the people we have heard so many great things about from Jason and Erica.
• My thoughts are filled with random questions and Friday I got what I think was my last haircut in two years. I wonder if there is anyone in Sierra Leone who can cut hair like mine. I also wake up at night thinking things like 'do all seven people in our family have enough underwear to make it if there is no running water for a week?' and 'can I really live without picture frames?'. I have to-do list that have absurd things like 'count deodorants' and 'call about composite to VGA cords'-I don't even know what that is but I apparently need one. I also spend time thinking about and downloading as many dance songs as possible for the 'we are now a family of seven' dance party that I have been mentally planning for a few years now. I hope to have a video of that posted here very soon.
We are really so thankful for the timing of these happenings because the encouragements have been much needed and appreciated. In just three months our initial expenses and 1st year have been covered. We find that to be amazing. And we find all of you amazing. Thank you just isn't enough to express the depth of appreciation we have for all you have done for us. We hope that our work in Sierra Leone justifies the sacrifices you have all made to support this mission. We will keep you updated as often as possible. And, if I may be so bold to ask one more thing, please pray for Andrew not to have a heart attack at the airport on Jan 18th or 19th(it takes about 36 hours of travel so we'll have to pray for both days). He gets really uptight in airports anyway and we will have two children each carrying a backpack, two backpacks of our own, 4 carry-on's and somewhere between 13-15 checked bags. So he'll be uptight and need some extra covering.
Oh, and the new website is up! and it is great! check it out here: www.therainingseason.org
I'll end this with a proof that some things never change;
2004 (at our wedding)
2012 (going to africa party)