In February and March we had the opportunity to travel out east (in the USA) from where we live in Colorado. We travelled by RV, which is a little 1993 Toyota Dolphin that we bought specifically for travelling around to visit family and friends this year. We named her The Chateau Dolphin.
Isn’t she cute? The Chateau broke down three times on this trip, which we’ll tell you a little more about later. She’s doin’ okay, though. She just got back from the fixit shop and is doing much better now.
Our first stop was Oklahoma to visit Merindy’s family there. We celebrated a late Christmas in February with Merindy’s parents and sister, and spent almost two weeks there just visiting and catching up. Merindy’s sister starred in a local playhouse production of “West Side Story.” She did an excellent job playing Maria (which is the star female role, in case you didn’t know). 🙂 All those years of voice training and ballet have really paid off. Maybe we’ll see her on Broadway someday…
Merindy’s mom made us some wonderful meals, and Merindy’s dad helped us change the oil on the RV and check the tires and leveling system. We also helped work a bit on Merindy’s parents’ new house, which will be our furlough place-to-stay-in-the-USA after we reach the mission field in Bangladesh.
After staying in Oklahoma for a couple weeks, we headed eastward for a week of mission training in Pennsylvania. On our travels eastward, The Chateau Dolphin broke down twice. First the distributor cap went out and The Chateau wouldn’t start. God was looking out for us, though, as there was a mobile mechanic in the parking lot where our RV broke down! The second breakdown was at gas station in Tulsa, OK, where we discovered a large leak in the gas tank filling hose. After the Fire Department cleared us for driving, we made our way to Pennsylvania without much more trouble. We were able to get the gas tank filler hose replaced during the week of our mission training, which was wonderful.
On our way eastward, we stayed at a motel in St. Louis, MO. In the morning, Jason went running and found an Italian neighborhood nearby. We spent the morning doing some shopping there and ate at the bakery for lunch.
Our mission training week in Pennsylvania was stupendous! Our mission organization, Interserve USA, is filled with wonderful people who have very big hearts for God and the people around them. Our medical missions will be with Kailakuri Health Care Project in Bangladesh. The goal of our mission organization is to make sure we are well prepared to work there. During our week we got an introduction to all the things we will need to do and learn about before we go to Bangladesh. Our organization has a lot of experience, thankfully. Their medical missions originally started in 1852, ministering to women in India. Since then they have expanded to other countries, like Bangladesh. Hopefully we will be able to use our medical skills to serve the people of Bangladesh in a meaningful way, when we get there.
While we were in Pennsylvania, we also got to do some sightseeing in Philadelphia, which was a lot of fun.
After our week of mission training, we headed to New York to visit one of our missionary friends. Sister Joan is a Maryknoll Missioner who was in Bangladesh since the 1970s. She has worked with disadvantaged women and helped start an elementary school in Bangladesh as well. Sister Joan is amazing!
While in New York we got snowed in. So we got to visit Sister Joan for an extra day while we were there. Sometimes God slows us down for a reason. =-)
Driving on the east coast…
For us midwesterners, driving through the east coast states was quite an experience. Twisting and turning, on ramps and off ramps, winding our way from one location to the next through high-paced traffic. Thank God for GPS. I think we would have missed 90% of our turns if it wasn’t for the GPS directions.
Of course we couldn’t not stop at Niagra Falls…especially when it was on our way to Canada to visit our missions pastor there. Unfortunately the lower level was not open by the time we got there. We did get some pictures and video of the falls from the upper level, though. Pretty spectacular!
From Niagra Falls we headed into Canada to visit Pastor Bernie, our missions pastor. Pastor Bernie used to be our pastor in Colorado, until he got a call to a church in Canada that is closer to his family. We spent time visiting and also got to visit Pastor Bernie’s church in Canada, which has a lot of wonderful people. Many of them speak German! We did a presentation for the church on our mission plans for Bangladesh, and everyone was very interested.
Merindy had her Birthday while we were on our road trip. She wanted to have some fun. So, we went out to eat at a Japanese restaurant and then went to Crazy Pinz!
We had fun bowling…
We also had fun playing ski ball, shooting hoops, playing video games, and making faces in the photo booth…
All in all we had a fun time. =-)
On our travels back home, we got to visit more of Merindy’s family. Jason got to meet some of Merindy’s aunts, uncles, and cousins for the first time. Other family members we had not seen since our wedding. It was good to get back together and get caught up on each other’s lives. On our way through Kansas, The Chateau Dolphin broke down for the third time…poor Chateau. This time she delaminated one of her rear tires while on the highway and knocked off the water drainage plumbing on the back end.
Fortunately for us, God had us break down just about 2 or 3 miles from a small town named Cimarron. He also provided us with someone who stopped on the road to look at our tire and reassured us we could drive on it to the nearest town. In Cimarron, the tire specialist there fixed us up with four brand new rear tires the next morning. God does work miracles!
We got to stay overnight with one of Merindy’s aunts and uncles, who lived not too far away. Spending the night with them was a great experience. Merindy’s uncle is a pastor and we got to hear about and see a lot of the mission work they do right there in Kansas.
Home sweet home…
We finally made it back to Colorado after being gone for one month. Wheew! What a trip! Just in time, too…to finish celebrating Merindy’s Birthday with some cake. =-)