The end of 2012 brought us back to the States for our first furlough since arriving in Singapore. We arrived safely on U.S. soil on November 4 after a non-eventful but very long 25-hr trip. Our hop across the world took us from Singapore to Seoul to Dallas … and finally to the beautiful faces of some of our children and grandchildren in Lubbock, Texas. For those of you who asked for details of our travels … here is an account of our crazy but wonderful trip home. For those of you who could do without them, feel free to leap to the end.
[November 4] ~ We hit the ground running from the moment we arrived. We got there just in time for Penny to join our daughter, Lacey, on her bridal shoot. Though her momma/photographer was not in charge, she was graciously allowed to grab a few lovely shots from the sidelines.
The next few days brought a little rest to conquer jet-lag, some special time with our son, Jared (and his sweet girlfriend), our daughter, Lacey, and son-in-law to be, Aaron, lots of snuggle time with the grand-girls, a beautiful bridal shower … and attendance at the Sunset International Bible Institute “50th Anniversary” Celebration. We were blessed to see a few old friends and to be encouraged by many of the men we hold dear as mentors and fellow workers in the Kingdom.
[November 12] ~ We left Lubbock in our little rental car to begin our some 4000 mile trek of reporting and visiting. Our first stop was Granbury and the Dallas/ Ft Worth area, where we enjoyed a great time with precious friends, saw various doctors and the dentist, took care of all kinds of ‘business’, were blessed by a lovely fellowship in our honor, met with the mission’s committees of our supporting congregations at Legacy Church of Christ and Keller Church of Christ … and spent a lovely Lord’s day with our sponsoring congregation at Saturn Road Church of Christ.
[November 19] ~ Off to Bryant, Arkansas, a town where we ministered several years ago. We spent a couple of days with special friends and several of our old church friends/supporters dropped by for a visit. We enjoyed lovely fellowship, constant encouragement, much laughter and lots of yummy home cooking! While there, Penny was honored to do a 1-yr birthday photo shoot for precious Jacob Dustin (who was named in honor of our late son, Dustin). We sure missed seeing some of our special people there but it was a wonderful visit. Can’t wait to do it again!
[November 21] ~ Headed east via Memphis, stopped at Cracker Barrel to lunch with an old friend and then onto Dickson, Tennessee, where our youngest daughter, Kayli was waiting to meet us. We spent the Thanksgiving holidays with her and our oldest daughter, Courtney, hubby Adrian and 3 precious, rambunctious grand-boys. We stuffed in lots of hugs, giggles, photo taking, vision sharing, antique-shop hopping … and of course, the eating of more-than-we-needed traditional holiday food. Our time there wasn’t long enough!
[November 26] ~ Traveled south to Alabama for a visit with great friends and fellow workers in the Kingdom and to share our Singapore story with our supporters at the Summerdale Church of Christ.
[November 29] ~ Off (with a chest cold coming on) to Louisiana to spend a few days with our daughter, Amber, hubby Joel, and the last 4 grand-babies that we had not yet wrapped our arms around. We stopped in New Orleans to have lunch with Penny’s mom, little sister, and nephew … and to visit with her dad at the nursing home before going onto Sulphur. We stuffed in oodles of hugs and giggles there too, a lunch with a special friend, a mother/daughter play day, a birthday ice cream party for Penny, an attempt at a boy’s hunting day, some good Cajun food, and lots of late night talks. Wish there had been more time!
[December 4] ~ Piled 4 adults, 4 grandchildren and gobs of essential wedding paraphernalia into two vehicles and began our 12-hr journey back to Lubbock for THE BIG DAY. We met up there with the rest of the Kendall Klan and let’s just say … craziness ensued. The next few days were spent in the rush and excitement of wedding preparations (with many of us trying to push through the illness that was running rampant through all the families).
[December 8] ~ When the WEDDING day arrived, the bride was lovelier than ever, the weather was perfect, the decorations were simply beautiful, the ceremony (performed by her daddy) was touching and sweet, and the reception was festive and full of joy. God poured grace on all of our weary bodies and when it was over, our daughter had a new husband, we had a new family-in-love … and we were blessed.
[The Rest of the Story] ~ The day after the wedding, bronchitis and the flu officially won the battle. What happened for several days after that is a bit of a blur. There are vague memories of being wrapped in blankets, clutching boxes of tissue, sipping chicken soup, taking lots and lots of pills … and whining, a lot of whining! Strep throat and two different strains of the flu systematically claimed almost all of the family that had been together. We would later come to refer to this time as the‘seriously, the worst we’ve ever felt’ period. We’re all just glad we lived through it!
Photo Credit: Amanda Grace Photography
Unfortunately, our plans to do more travel after the wedding had to be cancelled because of our illness and we stayed at our daughter’s house in Lubbock for the duration of our time in the States. Our time there, though much of it spent feeling icky, was such a gift. We had a wonderful, quiet Christmas with those we love and made our traditional holiday goodies together. We were blessed with more family time and grand-girl time than we thought we’d have. We enjoyed being together and getting to know the Bell family; the new extension of our crazy bunch (though it could be that they are as crazy as we are). We laughed and played (and played practical jokes on each other), gave lots of hugs and spoke words of encouragement, shared memories and made new ones. God has a way of blessing even the most inconvenient of circumstances.
We once read that “HOME IS WHERE YOUR PEOPLE ARE” and that couldn’t be more true for us. We’ve been to and lived in many places and in each one, have left people that are dear to our hearts. These last two months, we’ve been blessed to have gone home to the States and are so thankful for the time we had with our dear ones there; our family and so many of you. For those of you that we missed on our travels (or not-travels), we are surely sorry. We pray that God will make a way to see you soon.
In the meantime, we are thankful to have come home to Singapore and to be with our dear ones here. We can’t wait to see what God has in store for us all!