Monday, August 24, 2009

My Boys

This picture makes me smile every time I see it. I am such a blessed woman to have these three in my life!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Life at Four Months

It doesn't seem possible that Stephen is already 4 months old. We are on the road right now and haven't been to the doctor for the standard four-month well-baby checkup, so I have no idea how much he weighs. I am guessing about 15 or 16 pounds. We'll find out next month, I guess. He is, in the words of his Aunt Teague, "stout."

Major milestones during the fourth month included rolling from back to tummy and starting to laugh. He is spitting up less and drooling more. He will chew on anything he can get in his mouth -- toys, burp cloth, blanket, my finger, or his personal favorite, his own hands. He continues to be a content and easy-going baby; he hardly ever cries and is still sleeping well despite our crazy schedule. Everywhere we go, people comment on what a good baby he is. I am so thankful because I don't know how we would do what we are doing right now if we had a high-needs infant. I'm sure we would manage, but traveling would be so much more difficult.

Thank you, God, for our healthy, happy baby boy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Partnership Tour: Colorado Springs to Portland

The Partnership Tour continues... a week ago Tuesday, we left Colorado Springs, headed for Rocky Mountain National Park. We camped there for two nights with our team, enjoying great food and conversation amidst the beauty of God's creation. We took a hike one day through the mountains up to Lake Haiyaha and enjoyed a picnic lunch on the boulders at the water's edge. I will put some pictures up soon.

On Thursday, we said our goodbyes and began the drive westward over the Rockies. We spent Thursday night in Glenwood Springs, CO with my former college roomie, Amy, and her family. It was so great to see them again, and Alex really enjoyed playing with their two girls.

On Friday, we drove as far as Salt Lake City, UT, where we stayed the night in a motel. Then, on Saturday, we drove to La Grande, OR. We stayed with a lovely older couple, who, we found out after we arrived at their house, were none other than the grandparents of our friend and former fellow AET, Shawn Phelps! It's such a small world, especially in the Church of Christ in the Northwest!

Rusty presented about Angola and also preached at the church in La Grande on Sunday. On Monday, we drove to Central Oregon and visited some of Rusty's friends and family there. And yesterday, we drove over the mountains and into Portland. We will be here in Portland for about two weeks, visiting friends and family and talking about Angola with various area churches. Please continue to pray for us. So far, we have all been healthy, but we are beginning to feel a little worn down. All the moving around and the long days in the car have been especially hard on Alex. It will be nice to be in one place for awhile.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Partnership Tour: Nashville to Colorado Springs

Although we left Detroit a few weeks ago, we will not really be settling in Nashville until mid-September. We were in Nashville for about ten days at the end of July, and then we launched into our Partnership Tour, which is taking us all the way out to Oregon and back over the next 6 weeks.

Our time in Nashville was full of lots of activities. The Hillsboro church formally introduced us to the congregation on our first Sunday there; we attended their VBS; and we spent several days having meals with and getting to know some of the elders, the missions committee, and church members. The church has been so wonderful and welcoming and has really taken great care of us. We are looking forward to spending more time there this fall getting to know people and building relationships with them.

A week ago Monday, we left Nashville and headed west. Our first stop was Memphis, where we discovered Park Avenue (our church when we lived in Memphis) was having their VBS. So we went by and were able to reconnect with some of our friends there. Alex got to see his BFF Mackenzie from Harding Grad, and he was very excited about that.

On Tuesday, we spent a couple of hours unearthing all our camping supplies from the depths of our storage unit. Then, we headed to Oklahoma City. We were able to meet up with old friends from our Japan days... the Lj's, Chan's, and Britton's. It was great to see them again, and it was especially touching to watch Alex, Stone, and Freedom playing together. (There are a couple of pics on Facebook... when I have more time, I will try to upload one here to the blog.)

On Wednesday, we drove to Burlington, OK, where Rusty spoke about Angola during the evening class-time at the church of Christ there. We spent the night in a member's home just over the state line in Kiowa, KS.

On Thursday, we had a long drive from south-central Kansas to Colorado Springs. It is beautiful here, and the weather is amazing! We have spent the last several days here, meeting with our team, and visiting our teammate Nathan's supporting church. We have had several productive "meeting" days, but we wanted to include some fun, recreational time, so tomorrow, we are headed to Rocky Mountain National park for a couple of days of camping. Then, across the mountains and westward we go!

We will be in the Northwest for a couple of weeks at the end of August, then in Montana for about a week, and we may spend a little more time in the Oklahoma City area before heading back to Nashville. We are calling this our "Partnership Tour" because we are trying to drum up the remainder of our support for our work in Angola. If we will be coming to your area, and you would like for us to visit your church, please contact us at rustyandlaura AT gmail DOT com (or just leave a comment). We would love to share about the amazing things God is already doing in Angola and how we hope to join in that work very soon!