Danny hugged me fiercely and wouldn’t let go. We were leaving for a month-long trip to America, and he was having a hard time saying goodbye.
Danny is our youngest at 11. All the kids came to us starved for affection. Even those who have parents haven’t had many hugs or kisses, because the hill tribe culture is reserved and non-demonstrative. It’s as if they came to us with empty cups that never seem to fill up. Danny has always been the neediest. He clings the tightest and asks the most from us. When we broke the news that we had to go back to the USA to get our visas renewed, he was upset. Every night at family devotions his prayer request has been, “Pray Grandma and Grandpa not go America.”
That’s not a request God chose to answer, though, and we are on our way. Right now we are at the airport in Korea with a 12-hour layover. Please pray for our kids at home. Lek and Jum are staying with them, as are our cook, Ika, and her husband Asa. I know they will be well cared for – but I can’t help but worry about them. Paul feels the same torn emotions. Leaving the children, the preachers’ training that is gaining momentum, and the struggling churches is difficult.
We are looking forward to seeing our friends and family in the US, though. Our first stop will be at daughter Beth’s home in Seattle. We haven’t seen our grandchildren, Sylvia and Jesse, in more than a year and we are looking forward to getting there and collecting some hugs.
Next up is a visit to daughter Becky and her family. We saw them in March when they came to Thailand to help with the mission work, but that seems like a long time ago now. The hill tribes folks are still talking about how quickly and painlessly Andrew did their dental work. Most had never been to a dentist before and got into the dental chair with great trepidation. They were so pleased with the results.
They were the first (and only so far) of our family to visit us in Thailand. I thought Molly’s take on our three Walls grandsons was interesting: “Jeremiah is funny and Henry is cute, but Justin is like Grandpa.” I think we will all be happy if Justin grows up to be a man like his grandfather!
We will be at Becky and Andrew’s church in Sun River next Sunday. The folks there have been faithful and generous supporters and we are looking forward to being with them.
Then it will be on to Oklahoma and a visit with son Peter and his family. His three children are younger and last year we spent lots of time playing tea party, pet shop, veterinarian clinic, etc. I’m sure Izzi, Caden, and Minnie have grown and changed, too, but I hope we can still play “pretend.”
We will be at Sherwood on Sunday, August 7. Since they have their services in the afternoon at 1 o’clock, we hope family and friends who attend other churches in the area will be able to join us. Paul will be speaking and showing pictures of the work in Thailand and then we will be meeting at Mazzio’s in Newcastle for a fellowship afterwards. We have such a short time in the area, so we are hoping to see lots of folks in a short time.
On Tuesday we will travel on to Tulsa. My mom lives there now, and Paul’s mom is nearby. We are certainly looking forward to seeing them! We have lots of friends and family there, too, and we tried to figure out how to catch everybody in those few days. We decided to hang out at Fulton’s Pies and Pies (200 W. Kenosha St. in Broken Arrow) at 7 o’clock on Tuesday, August 9. We hope our friends and family will stop by for a come-and-go fellowship. Our friends, Beaux Fulton and Jeana Fulton Kimball own the restaurant, and every picture of pies on Facebook makes me want to come sample them. I’m glad we will finally get a chance to do that!
Paul will be speaking and presenting the work at Coweeta Baptist Church on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m.
We will be in the air again on Friday as we head to the Cincinnati area to visit with son Paul and his family. Can’t wait to see them. Boarding time is nearing and our 12 hour flight to Seattle is ahead of us. More on our trip and schedule for the last half of our journey later. Please pray for traveling mercies for us and for extra protection and blessing on the ones we love in Thailand.