Well, I hadn’t intended to wait this long for an update, but it’s been hard for me to take time to sit down and write. I was getting by on entirely too much sleep, so much so that my body slapped me with a punishment and gave me a cold sore. That is always a sign that I’ve crashed below my minimum number of hours of sleep. So, I’ve been trying to do better by each night going to bed a little earlier, even if I’d rather be up talking to somebody.
A quick rundown of what we’ve been up to is that we had the privilege of being with our church family both Wednesday evening and Sunday morning. That was a joy, just to soak up the singing and enjoy the teaching and bask in the fellowship. There are few things that compare to the joy church fellowship brings me.
We also spent a few days with Stephanie’s parents and most of her siblings. We had a fairly calm time there, even with the host of nephews and nieces getting reacquainted. I was glad that everyone seemed to get along very well. Steph’s dad took my brothers-in-law and me to visit some elderly neighbors. One man was ninety-three, and two of the ladies were ninety-one, I believe.
We sang for them for maybe twenty minutes to half an hour, then we visited with them a bit. These folks were all cheerful and glad to have us, which was a joy. It was fun to sing with my in-laws while encouraging some lonely people at the same time.
We had a short visit from Lamar and Beulah Saturday afternoon. They did not have much time because they were on the way back to PA, but we did get to catch up a bit. We gave them two suitcases into which we had tried to stuff as many pounds as we could and then gave them an update on the farm. They plan to fly into Cusco on the seventeenth and be there a few days to work on the house and their things.
Sunday afternoon, we had lunch with our pastor and his wife. It was good to catch up with them. I ran a number of questions past JP, and he was kind enough to share some experience and wisdom with me.
Sunday evening, we were able to squeeze in a visit with our friends James and LaShonda. They came up to Strasburg and had pizza supper with us and Andrew’s. I begged some freshly roasted coffee off James, which LaShonda ran out to the interstate for us yesterday. I wanted my family to be able to enjoy it while we’re in Tennessee.
Monday, I spent most of the day with a friend who does landscaping. I’ve helped him in the past, and I always enjoy it. That was the first time I really sweated heavily since heading to Peru, I think. Up in the Andes, we just don’t have the humidity, nor do we push ourselves hard enough to sweat much, given the thin atmosphere. But Virginia is high in humidity and heat. It was delicious to work in the heat again, despite all the bugs–something we do not have in the mountains!
Steph spent the day with the same friend’s wife. The children are delighting in all the new and renewed friendships. It’s fun to see them getting to know one another.
In the late afternoon, I ran down to Harrisonburg to go swimming with a friend. We also had supper together. He offered to take me where I wanted, so I chose Taco Bell. He said he thought it was the first time he’d been there. I am still astonished.
Tuesday morning, I went out to breakfast with a former student of mine. I would love to be able to spend a bit of time with each of my former students while I’m in the States, but there are over thirty of them, and they are scattered about the globe, some of them serving as foreign missionaries, many of them raising families. It brings me great joy to hear about “my children” walking in truth. Blessings to you if you read this. (That almost sounds as if blessings are withheld if you don’t….)
We left for Tennessee mid-morning. The trip was fairly uneventful. Around 1:00 in the afternoon, we stopped so I could take a nap and the others could have lunch. Otherwise, we kept moving pretty well. Later in the afternoon, we stopped to let the children have a bathroom break and to run up a hill to stretch their legs. Everyone did well except for Walter who thinks that carseats are the bane of his existence. Steph ended up riding beside him the last couple hours of the trip to keep him in check.
Four of my brothers live here in Tennessee. We were able to have supper with all of their families last night though my one brother was away doing home care; he is a nurse. My sisters and other brother and my parents are all on the way here today from Florida and Georgia. We should all be together tomorrow. That’s the first time all nine of my siblings will have been together since my youngest brother was married in 2019.
We got to meet the other Willow, my next older brother’s daughter. She was born just a few weeks before our own Willow. She was apparently so shocked to meet someone who shared her name that it set her hair on end.
My oldest brother has a crew of Mexicans working for him, and he has promised them a lunch with me. I guess I’ll get a test of my Spanish today. This evening, I will be giving a talk on Peru to a prayer group from the same brother’s church. It was supposed to be only a few people, but last I heard, we’re getting over fifty people. What all should I tell them?