Sunday, July 17, 2016

Finishing our time in the US

     We have enjoyed our time here in the US, reconnecting with so many of you! Before we tell you more about our time in the US, we wanted to share with you a praise that we had. When we were planning our trip back to the States, we knew that we would be arriving in Fort Worth and would definitely need a car for that first week until we would get to Memphis, and it would have to be either an SUV or van to hold all of our luggage. We were not sure about what we would do about car insurance or what our vehicle situation would be for the rest of our time in the States. We prayed for God’s guidance on our situation, and then we reserved an SUV for the first week (which was not cheap). Within about a week of making the reservation, Lori’s parents had received a card from a guy in Memphis who provides vehicles along with car insurance for missionaries during furlough- for free! (the ministry is supported by donations). So we applied, got accepted, and then cancelled our other reservation. The vehicle ended up being a minivan, which provided ample room for our family and luggage. What an answer to prayer!

 In our last post, we had completed about half of our trip (mostly in Memphis). We continued to enjoy our time in Knoxville, where we had plenty of time to relax and spend time with Tim's parents and his brother, Chris', family. The girls were able to go swimming at the neighborhood pool several times, as well as go to a local splash pad for the first time and play on some playgrounds. Both Rebekah and Abigail loved swimming with floaties (first time for them) and playing with their cousins in the water.
During one weekend of our stay in Knoxville, we visited some friends from residency, one family in North Carolina and another in Tennessee. On the way, we took advantage of an American treat, National Doughnut Day. On this day, you can go to Krispy Kreme and get a free doughnut for each person. It might have been our girls' first exposure to doughnuts and they chose well- the chocolate glazed doughnuts. After arriving at our friends' house in North Carolina, our girls played as they shared with us about small town US life, and we shared with them about small town Ghanaian life. We had the pleasure of being joined by another friend from residency for dinner. The next day, we were able to go on a quick hike to see a waterfall before we left to see other friends. When we arrived at the next friends’ home, we were able to sit and talk while our 4 daughters played. We went to church with them the next morning, and it was a unique experience because it was literally a “home” church (the church had recently sold their old church building and the new building was not yet built, so everyone was meeting in the living room of one of the church member’s houses). We enjoyed getting to catch up with old friends and seeing the new additions to both of the families.

                        While in Knoxville, we went on a Tyke Hike at Ijams Nature Center, where we saw tadpoles/frogs, dragonflies, a snake, an owl, a vulture, a falcon, and various plants. We also got to spend a little time with one of Tim’s high school friends. In addition, Tim had the opportunity to give a talk on his time in Ghana in front of the Family Medicine residency program at UT Knoxville thanks to one of the volunteers he had met previously at BMC. We celebrated Tim’s sister-in-law, Jina’s, birthday as well as Tim’s birthday before we left Knoxville. We were also graced with the last-minute visit of some old friends from Fort Worth, Ray and Juanita, for Tim’s birthday, and we had a blast celebrating at Putt-Putt (on Tim’s request) for Super Saturday (unlimited miniature golf plus hot dog and drink plus batting cage tokens and/or arcade game tokens)!

         We then traveled back to Memphis for a week, where we enjoyed some fireworks, more swimming and the girls having fun with their cousins, peach and blackberry picking, celebrating Lori’s nephew’s and brother’s birthdays, and just spending time with family. We were going to have to turn our minivan back in before driving to Fort Worth (where we were departing from to go back to Ghana), so we did a trial packing of Lori’s mom’s car, and everything barely fit (God is good!)! Lori’s cousin blessed us again with opening up her house for us to stay for the few days before our flight left. We also got the chance to see the rest of Lori’s cousins from that side of the family during our stay.

          Our international flights were smooth and uneventful- which, with kids, hardly ever happens! We even had the blessing of being upgraded for free to business class for the second leg of our journey, which was a pleasant surprise. The next day, our flight from Accra (in southern Ghana) to Tamale (in the north), was cancelled secondary to an airport worker strike, so we had to reschedule for a couple days later. The extra two days were nice for recovering some from jet lag and to see some fellow missionaries that we had not seen in a while. Our rescheduled flight was delayed due to weather, and when we finally checked in our bags, they said we had too many to go on our plane and that the rest would be sent up with another plane. We were a little concerned about how this would logistically work since Nalerigu is 2.5 hours away from the airport, the driver needed to get back to BMC before dark, and the Tamale airport had no way that we knew of holding luggage if you were not there to pick it up when it arrived. By God’s grace, at the last minute they told us that God must be with us because they would be able to send all of our luggage on our plane…so our dilemma was solved!
          We are now in Nalerigu and have been cleaning, unpacking, and fixing things. It is good to see the smiling faces of some of our old friends again!
Please pray for:
1)     Getting readjusted back to life here
2)     Tim starting work again on Monday
3)     Tim maintaining boundaries between work and home
4)     Our chest freezer to start working properly (fan motor running all of the time)- we have tried a few things so far, but none have been successful yet
5)     The hospital and all of its challenges (staffing, financial, etc.)
6)     Wisdom for us on what to do next after January 2017 (i.e.- pursue the paperwork required to stay in Ghana, pursue a position at a mission hospital in a different country, come back to the US to practice medicine, or other)

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