Monday, February 26, 2007

A Letter From Jeff

I got a letter from my brother on Saturday. He is doing well. He sent it the same day that he called me so there wasn't really anything new. Just pretty much the same things he told me in his phone call. It was still nice to hear from him. His spirits did sound more "up" since his last letter. He mentioned getting over bronchitis and that he had a three mile run on Friday and other physical testing that same day. If he passed those then he was actually supposed to get sent up "north" to Pendleton on Saturday. I thought he was already there but I guess not. He said that up "north" is where the real training begins. He also said that he has heard that up "north" is harder and the DIs (drill instructors) get harder and meaner. But he has also heard that time goes by quicker. I hope for his sake that it does. He has about seven and a half weeks left. I can't wait to see him. I think I'll try to sit down and write him a letter tonight.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I know I have been promising for a couple of months to write about our India trip. As time has gone on I have found it harder and harder to sit down and try to express my feelings about the trip. But here goes...

I guess the simplest way to put it is that we had an awesome experience. I feel so blessed that God has allowed me the opportunities that He has for short-term missions trips. Each one has been a different but rewarding and blessed experience. I have also been blessed to be able to experience each trip with Stephen. The trips are spiritually, emotionally and physically exhausting and it is so helpful to have someone that you are close to there with you to share everything with.

Traveling to and from India is long and tiring. Going out and doing the evangelism is hot and tiring. But I still loved it. Experiencing a completely different culture and meeting new people everyday is awesome. One thing I have discovered after traveling to Cuba and to India is that people all over the world are essentially the same. Personalities and characters are the same. And I'm beginning to think that everyone has a twin somewhere in the world. I saw so many people on this trip that either looked like or at least reminded me of someone back here at home or someone that I have met in the past. It's weird.

I'm glad that we were able to stay with my family while we were there. That way I didn't have to experience a third world hotel. They have a nice comfortable house and we felt at home there. It was nice to have home-cooked meals. We did go out to eat at a couple of different Indian restaurants though. I ate some Indian food while we were there but it is a little too spicy for me. One of the Indian men that lives near my parents made a barbecue out of an old rusty barrel and my dad barbecued chicken for us a couple of times while we were there. My parents invited another missionary family that they have gotten to know pretty well over for one of the barbecues. We enjoyed meeting them.

I enjoyed the trips to the markets. We went to a couple of nice stores and we went to some street markets. The biggest market we went to was the Hong Kong Market. It was so crowded and we had to learn to dodge the rickshaws and bicycles but once we learned that I actually kind of enjoyed it. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. It was quite an adventure. The chicken market was another story. There are live chickens in cages and you go and pick out which chickens you would like to have. They catch them for you and butcher them right there on the spot in front of you. I turned away because I didn't really want to see my dinner being killed. After they cut off the head and feet they stick them in a box until they stop flopping and then they skin them. No plucking off feathers one by one. They just pull of the skin and feathers in a few tugs. It was interesting to say the least. One thing to remember while at the chicken market; don't open your mouth too much or you might get a mouthful of flies. Just a word of warning in case you ever visit an Indian chicken market.

Of course while we were there I missed our children greatly. I couldn't wait to get home to them. But since I have been home I have found that I actually miss India. I mostly miss the people but I also just miss India. It's hard to describe what I mean and you might not understand unless you've been there yourself. I don't miss Kolkata and I would love it if we could avoid that city on our travels but we can't. I wasn't too fond of Kolkata. The people there were generally more rude and it is so crowded and I just always felt like we were in a herd of cattle everywhere we went. We also had a couple of stressful situations while we were there on our return trip. Oh well.

Like I said earlier, we had an awesome time. We hope to go back next fall and we might take one or all of our children. We're still praying about that. It would be very difficult but it is also very difficult to leave them here and be gone from them for 2 weeks. We'll see what God has in store for us.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Call From Jeff

Tonight, while we were at Youth Group, my brother Jeff called. We had finished the study and my phone rang. I could not get to the phone in time and so I checked who called me. I saw that I had 5 missed calls and they were from a 619 area code. I didn't recognize the number. Then, Stephen's phone starting ringing but I couldn't find the phone in time to answer it. When I found his phone I discovered that it was the same number and he had 3 missed calls. It seemed strange that somebody with a number I didn't recognize was calling both of our phones so many times. Then, my phone started to ring again. This time I answered it and I was so surprised to hear my brother's voice. He said that they were given special privileges to make a phone call but he couldn't talk long. I asked him if things are getting any better. He said that they are a little bit. I asked him how his knee is doing (in his last letter he had said that his knee had been hurting) and he said that it was doing better but he is now getting over bronchitis. I feel bad for him because I am sure it is very tough to be battling that while going through grueling training. I also asked him how he is doing spiritually and he said that his faith is very strong right now. I was very glad to hear that. He also said that he sent me a letter today so I should receive that in the next few days and I'll post any updates that I get.

I was so happy to get to talk to my brother, and I'm sure it was a relief to him when I finally answered my phone. Please continue to pray for him that he will have the strength to endure the training and that his faith will stay strong. Please also pray that his body will be healed quickly. I will let you know when I hear more.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

No News Is Good News

For those of you who have been wondering I haven't heard from Jeff for a couple of weeks now. I did receive a couple of letters about 2 1/2 weeks ago. He seemed to be doing as well as can be expected for someone going through the first few weeks of boot camp and knowing that it was only going to get worse. I was glad to know that he had been going to chapel since he had been there. He said that during the first service he went to that 25-30 guys out of a company of 250 men accepted Christ as their Savior. That was awesome news to hear. I have written him a couple of times and I eagerly check the mail everyday hoping that I will hear some news from him. Right now my feeling is no news is good news. I will let you all know when I hear from him.

We are all anxiously awaiting our trip to California in April to see Jeff graduate from boot camp. We decided that we're going to fly down there with the kids, attend Jeff's graduation and then spend a few days visiting family and possibly going to Disneyland. The girls are very excited about flying on an airplane for the first time. Stephen and I are not as excited about flying with 3 toddlers but that option looked better than spending 2 1/2 days in the car each way with them.

Stay tuned for news about Jeff...