We were in Helena, Montana until mid-September. We visited with several churches about our plans for Angola. I also attended the annual area-wide ladies retreat, and Rusty went to an area-wide minister's meeting. So, we made lots of new contacts, and we hope that at least some of those will lead to future partners in our ministry.
We left Helena on Tuesday, Sept. 15th. We stayed in Sheridan, Wyoming that night, then drove all the way to Sioux Falls, South Dakota the next day. We took a little side-trip through the Badlands National Park -- gorgeous! We have certainly seen some amazing country these last few weeks.
We were on a tight schedule since we were trying to make it back to Kentucky by Friday evening for Hillsboro's Family Retreat. However, when we got to our hotel in Sioux Falls very late on Wednesday night, we checked our email and found out the retreat had been cancelled. So we stayed an extra day in Sioux Falls. Our hotel had a very cool water park in the atrium (part of the reason we chose it), complete with a two-story water slide and a pirate ship. Alex had a ball, and we all enjoyed the down-time as a family.
The other bonus to the Family Retreat being cancelled was that we were able to arrange at the last minute to meet with the Memorial Road Church of Christ missions committee in Oklahoma City that coming Sunday! We have been on their radar for awhile now, but finding a time to meet with them has been challenging. So this was definitely a "God thing." From Sioux Falls, we headed south and stayed Friday night in Big Lake, Missouri at a state park that had a little motel. On Saturday afternoon, we arrived in Oklahoma City.
Sunday was very full with church at Memorial Road in the morning, the missions committee meeting that afternoon and then a get-together with old friends from Japan that night to celebrate Lj's birthday! So glad we got to be there for that! On Monday morning, the boys and I went to the zoo with Kari, Stone, Charity, Freedom, and Courage. Rusty spent some time on campus at OC. That afternoon, we drove to Tulsa (through a monsoon!) and stayed the night with Tom and Leslie Walden. We visited with them about our plans for Angola and heard about the missions program that he heads up at the Park Plaza Church of Christ -- very exciting!
Tuesday, we left early in the morning and drove to Memphis. We had found out about three days prior that Hillsboro had managed to secure a house for us to stay in during our next four months in Nashville (hallelujah!). So we made arrangements to go ahead and move our stuff (that has been in storage in Memphis for the last 10 months) to Nashville since we were already passing through. We picked up the U-haul truck that afternoon, and Rusty spent most of the evening packing and loading. We finished the next morning and drove to Nashville, arriving just in time for church that evening.
Since we got back, we have been busy getting unpacked and settled into our house, which is about 5 minutes away from the church. It is nice to have a place of our own again, even if it is just until January. The house is much bigger than the four of us need, but the extra space will certainly come in handy while we are sorting and packing things for the container over the next few months.
Thank you for your prayers while we were on the road these last few weeks. Amazingly, we had NO car trouble and NO sickness during the entire time we were gone!