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!