HMA #16 – “The Trip”

One of our major decisions for this year’s home ministry assignment (HMA) has been whether or not we should make a trip out to the western half of the USA. We don’t have a lot of ministry partners out West, but we do have some, and we very rarely get to visit with them in person. In fact, we’ve only traveled out West on one occasion which was 11 years ago in 2010.

Given our current HMA is the first one in which we’ve committed to coming to the USA for an entire year and not just a couple of months as in all of our prior HMAs, and considering our age is creeping into the mid-50s, it seems that if we’re ever going to make this trip and those visits, there won’t be a better time or opportunity than this HMA. So, with some extra funds still available to us in our work account for some of our travel expenses, we decided to give it a go.

I will share some photos of the trip in one or more future posts, but I will start with this post giving a rundown of the circuitous route we have ended up taking. BTW, we’re still on the trip, but now that we’re in west Texas in El Paso, the big loop out West is completed and we’re in the “final stretch” as we head back east starting this coming Monday.

Here we go!

On July 30 we left Manton, MI and headed south to visit with friends/ministry partners (in Xenia, OH, Pickens, SC, Dayton, TN, and Chattanooga, TN), to take Dayton to an MK Transitions Retreat (helping MKs understand the American culture and way of life since they’ve missed many of even some of the most basic experiences of growing up and living in the USA), and subsequently taking him to Longview, TX to begin his education and experience at LeTourneau University beginning there as a sophomore with 39 online credit hours already applied to his Computer Science degree requirements.

One other important reason for taking this trip has been to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We didn’t really get to celebrate our 25th anniversary due to that being the year I suffered a near fatal heart attack and was still recovering throughout that summer. Come to think of it, over these 17 years of ministry in Mexico, we’ve never really been able to celebrate our anniversary because we were either involved with summer work teams, traveling on a summer home ministry assignment, always had the boys with us, and just didn’t have time for more than maybe a quick meal out somewhere. So, with this being our first major trip without our boys and with some extra time on our side, we decided to be sure to take some days here and there along the route to enjoy the scenery and call it a celebration! Others may take a cruise or trip to Disney or whatever floats their boat, but this seems to fit us even though we aren’t what anyone would call “outdoorsy.”

From the Dallas area we headed north and stayed a couple nights with ministry partners in Kansas City, MO and then headed north to Minnesota where we met up with Kristin and her son Justin who had only been in the USA for about two months after years of efforts to return to the USA from San Juan del Río. Her husband Jason hopes to be able to join them in the next couple of years pending the legal process to make that happen. It was great to see her again and to see Justin adapt to life in the USA as a quiet young teenager.

We made our way to Grand Rapids, MN way up north and enjoyed visiting with ministry partners there who we haven’t seen since our last visit there in 2009. We enjoyed a couple of days with their family on a relatively secluded lake at their rustic cabin. The scenery was beautiful and we appreciated the opportunity to rest, relax, and enjoy conversation and laughter together. We also shared a ministry update in Grace Chapel there which is officially a partnering church with us.

From northern MN we pushed off and headed west, west, west. We enjoyed lunch with ministry partners who have retired to Fargo, ND and then kept pushing westward. Along the route, we were able to take a couple hours off from the road grind and make a quick pass through Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This made first use of our America the Beautiful National Parks Pass that cost us $80 and allows us unlimited free entries into national parks across the USA. So, we recouped $25 and were hoping we’d eventually make the $80 investment pay off before the year is over!

After our 2nd day of driving to the west, we were in Livingston, MT and were ready to dive down into Yellowstone National Park ($35 more recouped from our pass!) for a reminiscent tour of our 2010 visit with the boys. We stayed two nights a couple hours away in a relatively inexpensive Airbnb (if you don’t know this, it’s very expensive to stay near Yellowstone, so we ended up in Victor, ID on the back side of the Grand Tetons). We drove up and back out of the park and from Livingston, we headed west once again stopping for a couple nights with MK friends who grew up in our mission and knows Beth’s family very well. In fact, the husband was in 9th grade when he joined his parents and older brother by playing an instrument in our wedding! He is now the music pastor of a Bible church in Spokane Valley, WA.

From this musical interlude, we continued on to Goldendale, WA where we spent a night with a ministry partner who is one of Beth’s aunt. Sadly, her husband (a brother of Beth’s dad) had recently passed away from Covid (the second of her dad’s brothers to pass from Covid in the past few months). We shared a ministry update with her and her two sons and daughter and their families.

After our brief time in Goldendale, we passed by Multnomah Falls and enjoyed a brief visit with one of our former PCS students who just graduated this past May and is now attending a Bible college in Portland. It was great to see him and leave him with a little pizza money as we said goodbye. We remember what it’s like to be a poor college student, so we’re sure that was an appreciated gift.

We took a slight detour from Portland and traveled up to historic and scenic Astoria for night overlooking the Columbia River before heading south down US 101 and taking in the Oregon coastline. We added a couple of nights to our anniversary celebration near Newport and enjoyed the ocean air and the lighthouse and tidal pools at what is now a national recreation area (instead of a state park; this saved us $7 more toward our America the Beautiful pass price…we’re up to $67 saved so far!).

From Newport, we headed south to visit with ministry partners and co-workers in central California. I had planned on just following the coastal highway so we could drive through the Redwoods and enjoy the beauty of the drive, so we ended up needing two days to make it to Lodi, Tracy, and Delhi, California where we met with them all. In Delhi, we were able to spend two nights and enjoy visiting with all four kids that we had worked with for years as homeschooling MKs in Querétaro. It was so good to see them all again. All adults and three of them now married. You know you’re getting old when your former students have kids who are students!

At that point, the trip was pretty at the midpoint and at the end of all but one of our West-based ministry partners. We drove south around the mountains and east across the desert and stopped in for one more day of anniversary celebration with a quick drive through along the southern rim of the Grand Canyon (another $35 saved…we’re now up to $102 worth of park fees saved…we’re making money now! haha). Driving south from there we passed through a couple of beautiful national forests and arrived at Tucson, AZ where we have a ministry partner we haven’t seen in 20 years! Unfortunately, we had trouble connecting with her and despite our hopes that she would be home, we came up empty on the attempt to stop by on the fly. She lives within a few minutes of Saguaro National Park (another $25 saved!), so we drove through the park and were no worse for the wear as we were heading on to El Paso from there anyway, and we had a “day to burn” before needing to be in El Paso.

That’s the “short version” of the long trip. At this point, since arriving from Mexico to the USA and purchasing a car here in El Paso, we’ve passed through 27 states and racked up 13,000 miles of driving. We’ve seen many of our ministry partners and most of them are ones we rarely get to see, so that has been especially gratifying. We’ve celebrated our 30th anniversary, visited a couple days with our son Cameron and have been able to see Dayton start his university and USA experiences.

From here, we’ll be heading to stop by LeTourneau and check in on Dayton and encourage him with some homecooked meals while staying in a special apartment for missionaries to visit with their students there. We’ll be heading back to Dayton, TN where our alma mater will be having homecoming during the first weekend of October. We missed our 25 year homecomings, but this year is Beth’s 30th which may be nice for catching up with old friends. We’ll be sharing a ministry update with a partnering church there, Westminster PCA. We’ve also been invited to participate in a special meeting with those in missions ministry with the purpose of developing ideas for involving Bryan College students with ministry overseas.

From Dayton, TN, we’ll head north with a couple of visits in Indiana and maybe a chance to see Cameron on a weekend and then finally arriving back to Manton, MI a full 77 days after departing from there. Isn’t it great that we have a full year to rest and relax up here in the USA?! Well, this is the life we signed up for, so we’re content with what it takes to follow Jesus wherever he leads. There is certainly joy in the journey, and we’re grateful we’ve been able to have a safe and enjoyable trip. May the Lord see us safely back to Michigan and eventually back to Puebla, Mexico next year. Until then, there are many miles to go before we sleep…many miles to go.

Pics to come later! (I need a break from the screen for now.)

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A Tribute to Marilyn Laszlo (copied with permission from a Facebook post)

“My Aunt Marilyn Laszlo passed away on Thursday, September 9, 2021. The work she accomplished in her life was amazing and she inspired so many people. I would encourage you to read her story.
Marilyn Joyce Laszlo went to be with her Lord and Savior on September 9, 2021. She was 88.

She was born on July 20, 1933, in Gary, Indiana. She was the daughter of Martin and Lois (Jewell) Laszlo, who preceded her in death.

Marilyn was raised on the Laszlo Family Farm in Liberty Township, and she loved helping her dad in the fields. In 1951, she graduated from Liberty Township High School. Starting in 1949, her sophomore year in high school, Marilyn began to play on the championship softball team of the Valparaiso Strongbow Queens and continued with the team through 1960. In 1959, she received her Bachelor’s Degree from Bryan College in History and her Master’s Degree in Education from Indiana University in 1961. In 1986, Marilyn was awarded the Alumni of the Year Award from Bryan College, and in 2003 Bryan College bestowed their honorary Doctorate of Letters upon her.

Marilyn started her professional career as a high school teacher in Michigan and Indiana. Soon after beginning her teaching career, she answered the call of God to become a missionary. In 1965, Marilyn joined Wycliffe Bible Translators and studied linguistics at the Summer Institute of Linguistics at the University of Oklahoma. Wycliffe chose Marilyn to be a Bible Translator, and in 1968, Marilyn and her translation partner arrived in Hauna Village. Hauna is located deep in the jungles on the East Sepik River in Papua New Guinea.

Marilyn, along with her original translation partner, had to take the unwritten language of Hauna, which is the Sepik Iwam language, and create a written language. Developing the language entailed creating an alphabet while also learning how to speak the language. Unfortunately, Marilyn’s original translation partner left after five years for another assignment. Marilyn was then joined by her sister Shirley Killosky. As Marilyn translated the Bible, Shirley taught the people of Hauna to read and write their language. Together, Marilyn and Shirley also did medical work and trained the people of Hauna to operate a local school, store, medical clinic, and church.

Marilyn completed the Bible translation in 1990, and the Bible was dedicated in 1991. One of Marilyn’s most memorable moments during this time was bringing a team of six men from Hauna for a speaking tour throughout the United States. They even spoke at a Billy Graham Crusade.

Marilyn retired as a translator in 1991 and became a national speaker for Wycliffe through 2003. In 2003, Marilyn started Laszlo Mission League. She continued as a national speaker and raised money for special projects around the world and in Papua New Guinea. In 2012, Marilyn retired from speaking due to the advancement of Alzheimer’s disease. In 2013, Marilyn returned to Hauna to say her final goodbyes to the people of Hauna.
During her lifetime, Marilyn recorded four record albums, with her singing partner Beverly Entz, at Pinebrook Recording Studios (owned by Gaither Music Group and now called Gaither Studios) in Alexandria, Indiana. In addition, she had three books written about her work in Hauna: Miracle in Cannibal Country; Mission Possible; and A is for Airstrip. She also had three movies created about her work: Mountain of Light, Come By Here (Angel Award winner), and Return to Hauna (Angel Award winner).

Marilyn was passionate about: her work in Hauna, the importance of missionary work, helping young people discover their career path, her family, her Hungarian heritage, and her upbringing in Liberty Township. Today, there are thousands of missionaries on the mission field worldwide because of the impact of hearing Marilyn speak, reading her books, or watching her films. She was a true inspiration. Marilyn’s work is continuing in the Sepik River region through her organization Laszlo Mission League.

Marilyn is survived by her sisters Shirley Killosky of Garden City, ID and Fay (Lou) Popp of Chesterton and her nieces and nephews, James Killosky of Porter; Lisa (Jim) Holm of Boise, ID; Don Killosky of Garden City, ID; Lorelei Weimer of Chesterton; Robert (Carla) Laszlo of Issaquah, WA; Tracy Popp of Key West, FL.; Martin (Brandi) Miller of Murrells Inlet, SC; Carrie (Steve) Cieliesz of Valparaiso; Jody (Tom Barrineau) Miller of Murrells Inlet, SC; Suzanne (Michael) Olson of Knoxville, TN; and Leo (Natalie) Miller of Chesterton.
She was preceded in death by her parents, sister Carolyn Miller Prosser, and niece Michele Weimer Tribole.

The family wants to extend a special thank you to Glenna Amburgey, Karen Garza, and Audrey Swieczkowski for taking such wonderful, loving care of Marilyn during her final years.

A Celebration of Life service will be held on October 5, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. at Liberty Bible Church at 824 North Calumet, Chesterton, Indiana. Topher Philgreen will officiate. The service will also be livestreamed. Visit
for information on the livestream.

Donations in memory of Marilyn can be made to Laszlo Mission League for the Marilyn Laszlo Legacy Fund. This fund will endow a perpetual scholarship to women pursuing mission work or Bible translation. You can donate at
Edmonds and Evans Funeral Home made arrangements.”

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HMA #15 – Lit’l Cuppa Tea ~ An Experience, a Business, a Ministry

Brenda Wilson is one of our many new friends up here in Manton, Michigan at Rollins Church. She serves in the church’s missions outreach and has been our main contact here helping us to get settled into the missions house.

For many years Brenda desired to have a tea house to host tea parties, but the Lord never allowed that desire to come to fruition until a few years ago with the idea of using retro-trailers. She and her husband Don invited us to enjoy a personal tea party today. It was relaxing and delicious with her special English-style black tea blend and home-baked scones and cookies along with a couple of homemade toppings. It was a delight to chat with her and Don and enjoy the afternoon together.

Here are a couple of local news pieces that explored her story during her first two seasons:

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HMA #14 – Petoskey, MI

One of our 30th anniversary items we hoped to accomplish was to retrace a bit of our honeymoon travel route here in the Traverse City area. We were married in Traverse City and spent a couple nights up in Petoskey and also visited Mackinac Island. We were hoping to take a trip up to the island while we’re here in the area this month, but it looks like we’re not going to make that happen.

However, today we did get to drive up to Petoskey (about 80 miles north of where we’re staying) and spend a couple hours in a park on Lake Michigan. It was a warm, sunny day with a constant and comfortable breeze. As we racked up steps on our pedometer app, I took some pictures of anything that looked more or less interesting. I’m still trying to get back into the swing of taking pictures with the DSLR camera. I’m not really doing too much with the settings, mostly just moving the aperture dial around and zooming in and out. Nothing exciting in that regard. My skills are limited for sure.

There’s not much rhyme or reason to the ones that came out OK.

Be sure to read the sign.
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HMA #13 – Sunset, Moonrise, Homeset

We have been richly blessed by Rollins Christian Fellowship Church in Manton, MI to live in this house which for us has become a respite and home for these months of home ministry assignment in the USA. We really didn’t know just how much we needed this time to rest and recoup from urban, cross-cultural living and to address some nagging physical issues that will take months to resolve (at least, we hope we can see them resolved).

I actually took this photo simply because we had been out picking up our much-needed new glasses from Costco, visiting ministry partners from Tennessee, and then driving up to Petoskey, MI where we stayed a couple nights on our honeymoon 30 years ago (in about 2 weeks from now).

Upon returning home 12 hours from when we left this morning, I decided to check the mailbox across the rural highway. I noticed the sun was setting. As I turned to look for traffic, I noticed that 180 degrees opposite the position of the sunset was the moonrise. I snapped a panoramic shot trying to catch them both before the sun disappeared. Can you spot the moon? It’s just a bright blip on this pic, but it was actually clear and large in the eastward sky.

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HMA #13 – Traverse City, MI (West Bay)

Bethie and I enjoyed an early dinner with her cousin Scott and his wife Dianne who are from Georgia and are in Traverse City visiting his family. We took a leisurely stroll along the waterfront on a cloudy and cool evening (temps in the 60s).

I haven’t taken many pics yet this summer, but I was glad I carried the camera bag along and ended up took some shots mostly just to get back into the practice of taking pics. I need to keep at it as I feel like I’m a little lost on finding the right settings.

Ironically, the only boat in the marina that had a net to prevent ducks from loitering and defecating on it was also the only boat with ducks on it doing this very thing!
Notice the anchored pieces of metal? And we didn’t see anyone on skateboards or inline skates hanging around this ramp curb. Go figure.
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HMA #12 Butterfly Wings

During our short drive into Cadillac, MI to run some errands today, we stopped by Cadillac Lake to explore the walking trail lined with little parks. We discovered this wall with butterfly wings painted on them. Beautiful.

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A Reminder of Prayer and Faith

A good friend posted this as a reply on FB to something else…worth sharing here:

Shortly after [Dallas] Seminary was founded in 1924, it almost folded. It came to the point of bankruptcy. All the creditors were ready to foreclose at twelve noon on a particular day. That morning, the founders of the school met in the president’s office to pray that God would provide. In that prayer meeting was Harry Ironside. When it was his turn to pray, he said in his refreshingly candid way, “Lord we know that the cattle on a thousand hills are Thine. Please sell some of them and send us the money.”

Just about that time, a tall Texan in boots and an open-collar shirt strolled into the business office. “Howdy!” he said to the secretary. “I just sold two carloads of cattle over in Fort Worth. I’ve been trying to make a business deal go through, but it just won’t work. I feel God wants me to give this money to the seminary. I don’t know if you need it or not, but here’s the check,” and he handed it over.

The secretary took the check and, knowing something of the critical nature of the hour, went to the door of the prayer meeting and timidly tapped. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder and president of the school, answered the door and took the check from her hand. When he looked at the amount, it was for the exact sum of the debt. Then he recognized the name on the check as that of the cattleman. Turning to Dr. Ironside, he said, “Harry, God sold the cattle.

Howard Hendricks: Stories for the Heart compiled by Alice Gray (Portland: Multnomah Press, 1996), p. 272.

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HMA #11

Family times

Two Happy Campers…well…maybe just one and a half

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HMA #10

3 of my most favoritest peoples.

The blessed rarity of being together.
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