Monday, January 21, 2019

Recap of 2017

It's a new year. It's 2019! The thought just boggles my mind. This year, Alex will become a teenager. Stephen will turn 10. Rusty and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage, and we will pass the 7-year mark of living in Ecuador. I certainly don't "feel" old enough to have been married two decades and be the mom of an almost-teenager. But the gray in my hair and the laugh lines around my eyes tell another story.

I've never been big on New Year's resolutions. As a perfectionist, I am prone to unrealistic expectations of myself and making New Year's resolutions just sets me up for certain failure, followed by feelings of guilt for not measuring up. I'm hard enough on myself without adding on that negativity. But as the New Year rolls around each year, I do like to think in terms of goals for myself, or habits that I would like to focus on. "Writing more" usually finds itself at or near the top of the list. For me, this can take many forms -- blogging and personal journaling being my two favorites.

In that vein, I decided it was time to finally get this blog updated, and then hopefully keep it updated going forward. Below, are links to various photo albums on Facebook that offer a "photo recap" of the year 2017. The first two are my personal photo albums (one focused on our life in Ecuador, the other on our 2.5 month furlough in the U.S.), while the rest are albums on either the Camp Bellevue or the Campbell Family in Ecuador Facebook pages. (You can like and follow us there to keep up with our ministry goings-on.)

***Please note: On my personal page, I have my privacy set to "friends only," so if you are not my friend on Facebook, you will be unable to view the first and second albums. The albums on our ministry pages are all public, and anyone can view those, even if you don't have a Facebook account.

2017 Annual Photo Recap
Furlough, 2017
After School Program, 2016-17
San Jose Chico House Project, 2017
Ecuadorian Missionary Retreat, 2017
Short Term Groups -- June, 2017
Family Mission Trip, 2017
Summer Camps, 2017

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Recap of 2016

And, here's a look back at 2016! The first album is my annual photo recap, while the rest are albums on either the Camp Bellevue or the Campbell Family in Ecuador Facebook pages. (You can like and follow us there to keep up with our ministry goings-on.)

***Please note: On my personal page, I have my privacy set to "friends only," so if you are not my friend on Facebook, you will be unable to view the first album. The albums on our ministry pages are all public, and anyone can view those, even if you don't have a Facebook account.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Recap of 2015

If you haven't noticed, I've been pretty active on Facebook lately, posting a ton of pictures from the past three years on both my personal page and two of the public pages I manage for our ministry, Camp Bellevue, and The Campbell Family in Ecuador. Shameless plug: if you are on Facebook, you can like/follow these pages to keep up with our ministry goings-on.

Since I am so far behind on the blog, I thought the easiest way to recap the past couple of years would be to simply post links of these various Facebook albums. I do an annual photo recap on my personal page each year. This, taken with the albums on the two public pages should give a fairly complete picture of what 2015 looked like for our family and ministry (Please note: On my personal page, I have my privacy set to "friends only," so if you are not my friend on Facebook, you will be unable to view the first album. The albums on our ministry pages are all public, and anyone can view those, even if you don't have a Facebook account.)

Enjoy looking back on 2015 with me!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Month by Month: 12

Elizabeth actually celebrated her fourth birthday last month, but in the interest of being fair and consistent (and also because this blog gets turned into a book at the end of each year), I'm going to go ahead and post the final "month milestone" post this blog will ever see. Yes, because Elizabeth is our last, and yes, I'm sure!

We returned from our furlough a couple of weeks prior to Elizabeth's first birthday, so we celebrated at home in Ecuador. Elizabeth is the only one of our four children who celebrated her first birthday in the same country she was born in, and even the same house she came home to as a newborn! Does this mean we have finally settled after years of globe-trotting? Three years ago, I would have said, "I suppose only time will truly tell," but we are still in Ecuador three years later, so maybe the answer is yes?

Just a few days before her birthday, Elizabeth finally started crawling, and she didn't walk until about 3 months later, at 15 months. She knew a few words by her first birthday, including "more," "mama," and "bye-bye," and of course she babbled constantly.

We had a quiet little party at home with pink cupcakes and the cousins, and just enjoyed celebrating our little princess's first year of life.
One day old
One year old

Furlough 2014-15: Fun Stats

To wrap up this series on our first furlough, I thought I would share some fun stats. I kept a running list on my phone while we were traveling and would update it periodically. Here, then, is Furlough 2014-15 by the numbers:
  • Miles flown - 10,073
  • Miles driven - 7,825 (This was from Dec. 1 when we left on our road trip until we returned to Ecuador, so it doesn't include the driving we did for nearly 2 weeks in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area or the 3.5 weeks in the Pacific Northwest. We estimate we drove over 9,000 miles if you include the miles driven during those weeks.)
  • Beds slept in - 21
  • Hotels stayed in - 4 (It really amazes me how we can do so much traveling, and yet not have to stay in hotels very often. We have lots of wonderful family and friends who host us and feed us during our travels.)
  • States visited - 21
  • Canadian provinces visited - 2
  • Churches visited - 9
  • Presentations done - 7
  • Other speaking engagements - 11
  • Homes visited - 31
  • Meals shared in restaurants - 21 (This includes meals we ate with friends or family in restaurants, not the fast food restaurants we stopped at when traveling. If I counted those, this number would be a lot higher! And as much as we crave Taco Bell, Sonic, and Chick Fil-A when we are overseas, I think it's safe to say that we had had our fill of fast food by the time we returned to Ecuador!)
  • Meet and Greets - 4
  • Church meals or potlucks - 7
  • Indian buffets - 6 (We miss good Indian food!)
  • Relatives seen - 18 (We enjoyed in-person visits with Uncle Willie, Uncle Ken, Dave & Kaye, Rebecca, Ronda, Robbie, Johnny, Candace and Cory, Uncle Ken & Aunt Rae, Glenn, Kemmy & Paul, Austin, and my parents!)
  • Pounds gained - Well, let's just say we don't call it the "furlough fifteen" for nothing!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Furlough 2014-15: The Great Road Trip (Detroit to Nashville to Seattle)

From Nashville, we had planned to travel south to Florida to visit a church there that sponsors a youth camp each summer at Camp Bellevue, and then take the southern route west across the United States, through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, and then north through California and Oregon before ending up back in Seattle. We planned to visit churches, friends, and family along the way, and also the Grand Canyon (which the kids and I have never seen). Everyone getting so sick changed all that, though, and in the end, we decided to cancel most of our remaining appointments and just head back to Seattle by the most direct route.

Like the first segment of The Great Road Trip (Seattle to Detroit), I will document this portion of our trip day by day below, with pictures and commentary interspersed.

Day 10 (Dec. 27, 2014) -- Livonia, MI to Nashville, TN -- We then stayed about 10 days in Nashville (see previous post).

Day 11 (Jan. 8, 2015) -- Nashville to Memphis, TN -- Thank you to our friends at the Park Avenue Church of Christ for the gift of a hotel room on this night. By this time, I was feeling much worse, while everyone else in the family was finally doing some better.

Day 12 (Jan. 9, 2015) -- Memphis, TN to Oklahoma City, OK -- We stayed three nights at the missionary house here, right next door to our friends, the Lj's, and just across the street from Oklahoma Christian University. We got to see so many dear friends from our Japan days, spend some time with Rusty's nephew Robbie, then a student at OC, and his then-girlfriend (now-wife) Cat, attend church at The Springs, do laundry, and rest. By the time we left, we were all finally on the mend! Read my post here about how much this unexpected and serendipitous time meant to me.
Elizabeth meets her cousin Robbie
Chai and Dominion with Cat and Robbie
Day 13 (Jan. 12, 2015) -- Oklahoma City, OK to Limon, CO -- We drove all day and got a hotel in Limon for the night.

Day 14 (Jan. 13, 2015) -- Limon, CO to Ogden, UT -- After another long day of driving, we got a hotel in Ogden. The boys were well enough at this point to go swimming in the hotel pool, which they were super excited about.
Amazing how sitting all day in a car can wear you out!
Day 15 (Jan. 14, 2015) -- Ogden, UT to Portland, OR -- After our third long day in the car, we finally made it back to the Pacific Northwest! We stayed two nights with Rusty's sister before driving the final leg back to Seattle.
At the former Cascade College in Portland, our alma mater
Day 16 (Jan. 16, 2015) -- Portland, OR to Seattle, WA -- We completed our crazy circle around the United States, arriving back in Seattle with a few days to get ourselves packed up before our return to Ecuador the following week.

Coming up: fun furlough stats!

Furlough 2014-15: Nashville, TN

Two days after Christmas, we loaded up the car again, said goodbye to my parents, and headed south. Destination: Nashville, TN, the location of one of our main supporting congregations, the Hillsboro Church of Christ. We spent about ten days there, reconnecting with supporters and friends. We were also able to hit McKay's, a favorite used bookstore and a highlight of any visit to Nashville.

Unfortunately, we all managed to get sick while we were in Nashville, a combination of run-down immune systems after over two months on the road, and a nasty cold virus that was going around that time of year. It started with Rusty, who completely lost his voice, not a great thing to happen to a missionary trying to report on his work! Then, Ben and Elizabeth got sick, and finally, the older two boys and me. Elizabeth got it the worst, and actually spent several hours at the hospital for steroids and breathing treatments one afternoon. We are so thankful for the compassion and understanding of our church family, both at Hillsboro and globally, during this time (see my post about this here).

Here are a few highlights of our time in Nashville (before the sickies consumed us!):
The Hillsboro Church of Christ
Catching up with my childhood friend, Rebekah
Catching up with friends from our Thyatira, Mississippi days, Jeff and Angie Stacks
Family Mission Trip reunion at the Hall's house -- such a fun evening!
Isn't this Ecuadorian flag cake beautiful?!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Furlough 2014-15: Livonia, MI

We spent Christmas, 2014 in Michigan with my parents. Our time there didn't feel long enough (it never does), but we were able to pack in quite a few special experiences and make some fun memories, including:
Helping Nyanya decorate her tree
Decorating Christmas cookies
Playing board games
Putting together the gingerbread house
Watching the Christmas train go around the tree
Lamb dinner with the Burtons (aka Grandma and Grandpa "B"). This picture is so special to me now because Grandpa "B" is no longer with us.
Visiting the Hands-On Museum in Ann Arbor
Story-time -- including lots of time looking at Nyanya's "bird book"
Visiting Great Nyanya (my dad's mom)
And Great Grandmother (my mom's mom). Both of my grandmothers have also since passed away.
Watching the model trains at the Henry Ford Museum
Taking a picture with Santa (the best Santa, in my opinion -- his beard is even real!)
Crafts, including our homemade ornament project for 2014, plus several crafts Nyanya had for the boys to do
This was Elizabeth's first Christmas, and she received her very special hand-dmade stocking from Nyanya
Joyous Christmas Day!
Christmas Day feast -- turkey dinner and all the trimmings!
Thank you, Nyanya and Babu, for making this Christmas such a fun and special time! We love you!

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Furlough 2014-15: The Great Road Trip (Seattle to Detroit)

On the first day of December, 2014, we left Seattle after nearly a month in the Pacific Northwest and headed East on our Great Road Trip. I will document the Seattle to Detroit portion of our trip day by day below, with commentary and photos interspersed.

Day 1 (Dec. 1, 2014) -- Seattle, WA to Coeur d'Alene, ID -- We stayed the night in a Holiday Inn, then got up and started driving again the next day.
Road trip!
Open road
Day 2 (Dec. 2, 2014) -- Coeur d'Alene, ID to Billings, MT -- We stayed 2 nights with our friends Craig and Jeri Ford in Billings, and enjoyed our visit with them and their church.
Lookout Pass (Idaho)
6 of the 7 Ford and Campbell children
We spent a morning at Scheels. The kids had so much fun taking all these silly pictures.

It's gonna eat you!
Be vewy, vewy quiet.
There was even a ferris wheel inside the store! How fun!
Day 3 (Dec. 4, 2014) -- Billings, MT to Moosomin, Saskatchewan -- We stayed 3 nights with Rusty's Uncle Ken and Aunt Rae. On Sunday morning, Dec. 7th, we met with the church in Manson, which supports us, and gave a report on our work. We enjoyed a potluck lunch with the members after the service.
Elizabeth and Uncle Ken
Elizabeth and Aunt Rae
One day, while we were there, the Christmas train came to town.
The boys got to see Santa.
They got to play in the snow.
Benjie thought the snow was too cold!
Watching the train go by.
With Uncle Ken and Aunt Rae outside the community center where the Manson Church meets.
Day 4 (Dec. 7, 2014) -- Moosomin, SK to Winnipeg, Manitoba -- We gave a presentation to the Central Church of Christ in Winnipeg about our work, enjoyed a soup supper afterwards, and stayed the night with a family from the church.
We had breakfast with Rusty's cousin Kemmy and her family the next morning.
Day 5 (Dec. 8, 2014) -- Winnipeg, MB to Hudson, WI -- We stayed the night with Dale and Vicky Hawley and enjoyed a brief visit with them.

Day 6 (Dec. 9, 2014) -- Hudson, WI to Bolingbrook, IL -- We stayed two nights with our friends Adam and Christina Mearse and got to meet with folks at the Naperville Church of Christ about our work.
On our way to Illinois, we passed through Wisconsin Dells, where we had lunch and spent some time playing at one of the indoor amusement parks.
Day 7 (Dec. 11, 2014) -- Bolingbrook, IL to Livonia, MI -- We stayed one night with my parents, left the older boys there the next day to spend some time with their grandparents, and took off for Pennsylvania with Benjamin and Elizabeth.

Day 8 (Dec. 12, 2014) -- Livonia, MI to Somerset, PA -- We stayed three nights with our friends the Hintons. The church in Somerset supports our family, so we met with them on Sunday morning and gave a report on our work. My friend Michelle drove up from Virginia with her family to see us and we got to spend some time together.
Michelle and I have been friends for 35 years!
Day 9 (Dec. 15, 2014) -- Somerset, PA to Livonia, MI -- We traveled back to Livonia and parked ourselves at my parents house until after Christmas! Whew!

Next up -- Christmas in Michigan!

Still Trying to Catch Up...

In less than two weeks, our family will be leaving for our next Home Ministry Assignment. This is more commonly known as "furlough," although I believe that this word is something of a misnomer. Most people, when they hear the word "furlough," think "vacation," -- and most missionaries will attest that the missionary "furlough" is anything but. So, I have started using the phrase "Home Ministry Assignment," as I believe it better reflects what we are actually doing while in the U.S. Sure, we have a few days of rest and relaxation planned, but most of the time? We are reporting to churches and individuals who support us and our ministry at Camp Bellevue. Or we are fundraising. Or we are taking care of business or paperwork that has to be done when we are physically present in the U.S. Or we are traveling from place to place for our next meeting or appointment. So, it's definitely work, a change of pace for sure, but still... work.

As we make our preparations to be gone from Ecuador and the camp for 10 weeks, I keep thinking about this blog. I am still trying to blog the experiences of our last furlough. Which makes me officially nearly 3 years behind, but who's counting? Then again, recapping what we did during our last Home Ministry Assignment in 2014 might be a very good way to give people an idea of how we'll be spending our time for the next 2 1/2 months.

So... updates are on the way. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Furlough 2014-15: The Pacific Northwest

After our time in Ft. Worth, we flew to Seattle and were in the Pacific Northwest for  almost the entire month of November. We spent the majority of our time in Seattle with the Bellevue Church of Christ, but we were able to take a few days and head down to Portland to spend Thanksgiving with Ronda.

We were present for the Bellevue church's Missions Sunday on our first Sunday there, which was very special. We also visited almost all of the home groups during our time with Bellevue, shared meals with different members, had meetings with the elders and missions committee, and got to do some shopping and explore a little of Seattle. We had decided, for various reasons, to change our residency to Washington state, so we  also had a few "paperwork" errands to take care of during our time there. We registered to vote and got our WA state driver's licenses. I was continually amazed at how easy and efficient government offices were in the States in comparison to Ecuador! It's all a matter of perspective, folks! After getting all that taken care of, we were able to go to the public library and get library cards. The kids loved the library, and we definitely made good use of it during our time there!

The church had arranged for a short-term rental house for us during our time there, which was a VERY big blessing! It was nice to have a place of our own to come home to at the end of the day, and it meant we could have friends over for dinner or even to stay the night. We reconnected with several different friends and relatives during our time in Washington and of course Oregon!

Here are pictures of the highlights of our time in the PNW:

I got to reconnect with my friend Abby, a fellow MK from Kenya! It had been over 20 years since we had seen each other.
Game night with the young adult group at Bellevue Church of Christ
Our former teammate, Jordan, happened to be back from Angola on her furlough at the same time as us. She flew all the way to Seattle to spend a few days with us. We explored downtown Seattle together.
Highlights of our day in downtown Seattle included a ride on the Great Wheel with an awesome view of the Puget Sound, and a visit to the original Starbucks and Pike Place market.
Elizabeth met her Auntie Ronda for the first time.
We took the ferry to Whidbey Island one day... welcome cousin Johnny home from his Navy deployment! We are so proud of him.
We spent a very cold day at the zoo!
We paid a visit to Cousins Dave and Kaye who live north of Seattle, about an hour from the Canadian border.
We got to attend the Dickens Carolers pre-season Christmas concert, hosted by the Bellevue Church of Christ.
While in Portland, we got to have lunch with my cousin Candace and her son Cory.
We celebrated Thanksgiving with Auntie Ronda in Portland. The next day, we had Christmas with her!