El Fin (the End)

Yes, our home assignment 2015 has come to an end. It actually ended a couple weeks ago, but while I was preoccupied with getting out an email update to let everyone know that, I failed to update you here on the blog. We arrived home safely on August 13. Thanks for praying us through the travels. The trip to the border through Texas was predictably tedious with lots of traffic, and the bridge crossing and 600 mile drive from the border to San Juan del Río was smooth and we weren’t even asked to show any documents or even to speak to any officials. It was a bit surreal that the Mexico side of the trip was so easy.

Since arriving home, we’ve gotten some rest, we’ve had two Sunday house church services, we’ve begun a new homeschool year, we’ve had two guests for the past week who were here videotaping and taking photos for a couple of Camino-related ministries, and we’ve been trying to catch up on giving the house we rent some needed attention.

I enjoyed talking to the videographer/photographer throughout the past week and last night I brought out my point and shoot Canon to show it to him and see if he could refresh my memory on some of the functions (it really does a lot more than I use or know how to use…many features I learned at one time but have since forgotten out of lack of practice). Looks like I need to go back to the Youtube videos that users have uploaded to demonstrate various features.

We like our new Camino Global mug!

IMG_5325 IMG_5338

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

HA2015 – Day 80 of 90 (ish)

I see I’ve fallen off on my blog posting once again. There isn’t much to report from these past couple weeks as we’ve been in the Dallas area as our home assignment wraps up. We did visit supporters and a partnering church out in Paris, TX a weekend ago and have moved from an apartment at our mission headquarters in Dallas to the home of co-workers about 20 minutes east of there in Forney.

Our co-workers are taking a brief home assignment themselves, and we’re here while their teens are home alone before they fly out to join their parents later this week. The kids wanted to stay the extra days to attend the MKonnections retreat for MKs this week. Cameron and Dayton will also be attending this retreat which runs from tomorrow (Monday) to Thursday. Beth and I will get some quiet time together for these days.

You no doubt noted that I posted “(ish)” above in the subject line. We’re getting close to our planned return time to Mexico and are contemplating our return trip. We’ve run into a few health issues and are getting at least some of those resolved as best we can before heading back. We’re also rather tired and are appreciative of a nice home to stay in at no cost. We’ve been invited to stay longer than we initially planned just because it’s a help to have someone tending the house and the dog here without bother neighbors and friends to do these things. So, we may stay here a few extra days and just relax a bit and have some time to recuperate from the summer’s travels and the health issues.

I’ve been struggling with a bad cold/cough that the boys had and handed over to me. It has affected me worse than it did them to the point of needing to get some treatment. I went to a “minute clinic” and received an antibiotic which seems to have to resolved the sinus infection, but the post-nasal drip is still a problem and my ears are clogged up to the point of having difficulty hearing. I may need to seek further treatment if the OTC medicines don’t resolve it further. The 24 hour antihistamine I was assigned to take certainly makes me sleep a lot. I won’t bore you with other health issues, but we’ll see how these things develop or resolve and I’ll share anything significant should they turn into such.

So, no real news and no new pics to share. We do appreciate your prayers for the MK retreat this week and for our health and rest. We rarely take a day off while in Mexico during the school year and we don’t often take a true vacation, so I think our bodies are telling us to take a break and recuperate. We’re grateful for the chance to do that. We’ll keep you posted on how our return trip shapes up as far as dates. I suspect we’ll be here about a week longer than originally planned, unless we can’t stand being away from home and our own beds that long.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

HA2015 Day 68 of 90 – The LORD Determines Our Steps (continually)

Proverbs 16:9 is a verse I’ve camped on for over 25 years now:

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” (NIV)

We’ve seen our steps determined (the word is translated “established” in other versions) in the past week in a couple of significant ways.

This past weekend I finally was ready to take some time and figure out my fall class schedule and register with MTS online. I ended up registering for Greek (a 3 credit hour course stretched over 14 weeks) and Systematic Theology (also a 3 credit hour course for the normal duration of 7 weeks, overlapping the last 7 weeks of Greek).

A couple days after registering for the courses, I noticed the total cost for 6 credit hours was $60 higher than it was this past school year. This made me think back to the last conversation and email I had with our home church secretary concerning my scholarship fund. I checked that email and sure enough, at last check less than a month ago the balance was $100 short of the new amount. The deadline for sending in the check from the church is fast approaching, and this is not a good time to be $100 short!

So, I wrote an email to Susie and mentioned all this to her. She wrote back this morning and said, the account balance is sitting at $790. The amount needed to fully meet the scholarship matching fund? $790. The Lord not only determines our steps, but He meets our needs exactly when the need arises. Sometimes to the penny!

The other way that the Lord determined our steps was a bit more important and dramatic.

Last week while staying two full days with friends who are ministry partners in west-central Indiana, Beth mentioned that she was struggling with her back and with headaches. They offered to take her to their chiropractor about 30 miles away for a one-time visit (that’s all the time we had since we’d be leaving the next day). Beth was happy to go for this visit to see if something helpful could be done.

The chiropractor’s visit went great, and the pain in her back and the headache went away. While there at the chiropractor’s office, they noticed a sign on the wall that announced a new doctor’s office was opening there. It was the daughter of the chiropractor who was not only a neurologist but a psychiatrist. This is the kind of specialist that Beth needs for her treatments for her essential tremor and depression. Amazingly, the office was going to open the next morning (last Thursday). While the doctor wasn’t in that day, her parents were both there and encouraged Beth to get a morning appointment for Thursday before we hit the road that day. She signed up for a 10 a.m. slot and became the new doctor’s very first-ever patient!

On Thursday, the neurologist spent over an hour with Beth and went over her history and her medications. She was mortified that Beth was taking a particular medication for the essential tremor. It was the only medication that has been working for Beth, and we had a difficult time even getting it in Mexico. It isn’t even available here in the USA (it’s an older medication). Turns out the medication isn’t available here for a reason. It causes liver damage.

So, the medication the neurologist suggested was the first one Beth tried months ago in Mexico, but that medication made her sleep about 23 hours a day. So, the first thought was “Not that again!”

Turns out the neurologist in Mexico had not prescribed it correctly. She had Beth taking 8 times the dosage she should probably have been taking. So, Beth is back to the sleepy med but at 1/8th the earlier dosage. So far she’s doing ok with it without the complete exhaustion. She has discovered that she has to take it exactly 12 hours from dose to dose or else the tremors come back. It’s not the easiest schedule to keep track of, especially while we’re not in a routine here on the road, but it’s workable.

The next day Beth did some online research and discovered 7 stages of symptoms of liver damage that would be expected from the medication she had been taking (the 7th being liver failure). She had already been experiencing the first 3 stages!

What seemed like a good solution to her essential tremors was actually killing her. (And once again we’re disturbed by the poor quality of Mexican healthcare, even though the doctors are considered the best in our area.)

So, the back and headache issues were used by God to cause our friends to suggest going to their chiropractor, which led to Beth learning about a brand-new neurologist/psychiatrist (a rare combination) practice opening the very next day, which led to getting an appointment as the very first patient (who gets a neurologist/psychiatrist office visit with treatment included on less than one day’s notice?!?), which led to this important discovery concerning her medication that was literally killing her. (Beth’s dad suffered liver failure and a transplant which led to his death by pancreatic cancer, so we’re acutely aware of the importance of a healthy liver.)

Praise God there are no accidents in our walk with Him. We planned our course by taking the trip this summer. Providentially, God changed several things in our plans in May and June to make it possible to even see these friends who were not located conveniently in our travel route. Nonetheless, I felt strongly that we should go ahead and backtrack and  schedule a visit with them regardless of them not being on our route. Just a couple weeks ago, I even changed from staying with them from only 1 day to 2 days. Having only 1 day with them would not have allowed for a 2nd day visit with the chiropractor and all the rest of what the Lord had in store for us.

What can I say?

The LORD determines our steps.

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Last Family Visit

We wound up the main part of our trip in the Midwest with a visit to my oldest brother and his family. He and his wife have a bunch of grandkids (seven under the age of 3!) by their three sons. Enjoyed meeting them all for the first time this past weekend. Yesterday, we left there and drove from New Albany, IN to Dallas, TX (14 hours). That’s further than I would normally drive but it gave us a chance to get started on some of list of things to do here. We’ll be sharing this coming Sunday at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Paris, TX (Sunday school and briefly in the main service). If you know where that’s at, feel free to show up. Our hosts will lead us there as I’m not sure myself!

The boys had a bad cold this past week. They gave it to me. My throat is swollen and hurts and I’m taking cold pills and cough drops and extra vitamins. Just in time to experience 100 degree Dallas heat while enjoying the misery of a bad cold. Might as well get it all over with at once.

Here’s some pics with the kidlets.

IMG_5254 IMG_5253 IMG_5252 IMG_5248 IMG_5247 IMG_5246 IMG_5243 IMG_5242 IMG_5237 IMG_5236

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Where the A Things Were (HA2015 – Day 61)

Closing in on 49 years ago, my parents brought to their modest Fairmount, Indiana home a small, handsome bundle of inexpressible joy and happiness from the local hospital and named him me. Some say that his hometown is where “cool was born.” I’m sure we all know why, but I’m much too modest to bring attention to it. Other famous people have called this tiny and remarkably boring town their hometown, but their names escape my recollection.

Here is that modest home which looks nicer and smaller now than it does in my ancient memories:


Here is what a typical Fairmount brick-street looked like 45 years ago (and also a few days ago):


A few miscellaneous pics of the town that I found elsewhere:


(Looks like they didn’t have room for my name, but I’m sure they meant to include me.)


Aside from a very brief drive through my hometown, we’ve traveled from NW Indiana and the big family reunion on to the Dayton, OH area where we shared ministry updates with friends and two churches this past weekend.

Yesterday, we moved on to west-central Indiana where we’ll be for a couple days with friends and ministry partners before heading south to New Albany, IN to visit my oldest brother and his family (he now has at least 6 grandkids which we’ve never met and hope to see in our few days there).

From there we’ll be on the homestretch back to Dallas, TX. Having been on the road for 61 days now, we’re all pretty much in that road weary stage and ready to be back home and in our beds yesterday. But, we have 29 days and one other weekend trip with church visit to go. And we’ll need to pull out the shopping list and hit the stores for stuff we need back home. And the van needs an appointment for the timing belt now that we’ve topped 105,000 miles and are still counting. Hopefully, there won’t be other things to fix while they’re at it, but better up here than somewhere along the long stretches of highway in Mexico.

We’re doing ok and enjoying our friends here. The boys have a cold and cough but seem to be surviving it. We’re currently sleeping on bed #21 since we left home on May 8. I think my body is telling me I’m getting a little old for this kind of travel, but we’re still walking upright (I think)!

In other news, I finished my MTS class last week with a 25 page paper. It was very challenging and tiring to study while on the road and thankfully, I get about a two month break before diving into Greek and later adding Systematic Theology. Somehow I managed to do better than I expected on this last class and didn’t miss a single point. God is good! I’m sure my professor was showing me a little kindness as well, but it is quite a relief as I was wondering if I could even pass a class while on the road and speaking and sharing and living out of a van and suitcases. I don’t think I want to make a habit of it!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Big Pic Day

IMG_5187 IMG_5191 IMG_5198 IMG_5201 IMG_5214 IMG_5216

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Dear Reunion

IMG_5092 IMG_5094 IMG_5096 IMG_5100 IMG_5101 IMG_5114 IMG_5121 IMG_5127 IMG_5137 IMG_5141 IMG_5143 IMG_5179 IMG_5181 IMG_5183

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment