Thursday, June 18, 2009

Furlough - May 24th through the 30th, 2009

Sunday, 24th May, 2009 – Today is our 24th Wedding Anniversary
I taught the teens in Sunday School at Shasta Baptist Church (about 40 of them) on Why I Do What I Do, and Love It. The teens were great. Afterward, I preached in the Teen Church on the Missionary’s Wish – and the altar was full!
In the afternoon, Pastor Johnson, his wife, and Bro Evans and his wife took Nita and I out to Olive Garden for lunch. Had a good time of fellowship. Then went to Starbucks to get online and we talked for almost an hour with Claudio and Despina. Just tried to encourage them. They are so awesome of a family who are handling some big burdens by God’s great grace!
After that, we got delayed at the nearby Mall, and got very behind! We finally arrived at the church at 5:40, just 20 mins before church began and quickly set up my display table and went over my message. Joshua and Sarah spent the afternoon at the Switzer home, and then Joshua went with some of the guys swimming over at the Smith’s home.
I preached this evening on “Something for My Grandkids!” It went very well, and the pastor took us on for support right after the message and invitation were finished! We were flabbergasted!
We are all wrecked tired, and not excited about travelling 8 hours down to Lancaster to pick up Ruth, and then the travelling afterward toward the Arizona border. Oh well.
It was a great number of days here in Redding.

Monday, 25th May, 2009
Travelled down from Redding to Lancaster. Boy did it get warmer the further south we drove. We arrived at West Coast Baptist College in Lancaster at 8pm, and picked up Ruth, and then drove around looking for a hotel that would provide a roll-away bed, and the Comfort Inn worked out great. We knew we just could not go any further towards Arizona tonight. Very tired!

Tuesday, 26th May, 2009
Headed east for Phoenix! The terrain changes dramatically as we travel, and becomes a REAL desert! We didn’t arrive at Chuck and Alaine’s until about 9pm after eating at the Olive Garden, and then dropping Ruth off at the Minerva’s. She will be staying there throughout the summer, working at a local school in the library organizing books all summer long!
We arrived at the North Valley Baptist Church’s Missionary Apartment at about 11pm. Met Pastor Loveless, and plan on meeting with him for lunch tomorrow.

Wednesday, 27th May, 2009
Kind of a catch-up day today. I went to lunch with Pastor Loveless and his associate pastor, Paul, at a BBQ restaurant and we had fried ochre! Amen! Good fellowship! After that, I went to meet Pastor Minerva at a Starbucks, just to find out more about him. I was blessed. Ruth will be staying in his home for the Summer, and I think she will be fine!
In the evening, we were at North Valley Baptist Church, and I showed my DVD presentation, and then preached on Doing Our Father’s Business. It went very well. The pastor gave me a love offering of $150.
Sarah was allowed to have Katlin stay overnight with us which was fun for her.
We also all went over to the Dicken’s home to have a cake and sort of party for Ruth’s 19th birthday! Another family came over who have 10 kids, so altogether, there were 31 people over at the house, plus one friend!
I took Ruth back down to Pastor Minerva’s (30 minute drive), and on my way back got stuck I traffic for nearly an house just 1 ½ mile from the exit to the church.

Thursday, 28th May, 2009 – Trip to Grand Canyon
I took Sarah to find a doctor who would look at her hands and her feet because they are peeling real bad! Two and a half hours later, I found a place that would take a new patient just one time, and for $112, we were tod it was just a bad case of Athlete’s Foot! We didn’t get on the way to Grand Canyon until about 11am.
I went to the Chase Bank to cash the check from North Valley Baptist Church, and it took nearly 30 minutes, and $6 to cash it! Oh well.
Charles Dicken is driving, and there are 14 people in his 15 passenger van travelling today! We probably won’t be back in Phoenix until about 10pm!
The Grand Canyon is absolutely magnificent! It is so massive and awesome in sight! I don’t think my kids perceive how big and complex it all is. It is beautiful! We must have stopped about 10 times, and then had a dinner at a cafeteria type of restaurant right off the edge of the canyon. We were there for the sunset!
We arrived back at Midnight! Whew! What a full, full day!
Tomorrow we have to get going east towards Texas
Make sure you check out the pictures on our personal website

Friday, 29th May – Heading through New Mexico
Today we got going at about 10am and had to drive over to Chuck and Alaine’s to drop off a few things that had been left in car.
We then headed south to Interstate 10, and then east to Las Cruces.
The land was so beautiful, with loads of unique mountains. The drive is SO pleasant, and even though we drove 8 hours, it was easy.
We stopped at a road side stand that sold Fireworks and Indian stuff. It was way cool. We bought a big pack of fireworks for Joshua, and a turquoise ring for Sarah.
I did not want to stay over night in El Paso, so we stopped in Las Cruces.

Saturday, 30th May
We left Las Cruces, thinking we would be able to make it all the way to Brady, Texas, when in Fort Stockton, we stopped for some lunch at Pizza Hut, and a massive rainstorm opened up the heavens! There was some serious rain and flooding! We waited for an hour, and then decided to make a break for the highway. But, as we started the car, it ran very poorly, roughly.
The check engine light was on, and NAPA Auto Parts store across the road advertised a free check on what it meant, so we stopped.
He said the computer said our gas cap was missing (which was right, since Tuesday), and that there was a misfire in two of the cylinders.
I bought another gas cap, and he reset the computer in the car and we drove off. It still wasn’t running right, but he said, give it 15 minutes.
I drove as far as Ozona, and stopped at an Exxon.
We found out the problem was not going to be easy to figure out, and would have to stay until Monday morning.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Furlough May 17 - May 23

Sunday 17th May – in Fresno
Arrived at Faith Baptist Church at 9.30am and set up. Trying out the Digital projector for the first time officially. Forgot about sound so had to set the microphone on my laptop’s speakers – did okay, but not great.
Taught Sunday School by showing our presentation and then answering over a dozen questions. Bro Tony, Dina and Gina from IRELAND were with us still.
Preached the Main Service. Preached on the Value of Your Missionaries. It went well.
Ate leftovers from the Rehearsal dinner! Mmmmm.
Ruth went with Gina on down to Lancaster today. She will stay with Gina for the next several days until Gina leaves at the weekend.
Traveled 2 ½ hours north to Lodi to preach at Faith Baptist Church, pastured by Mel Taylor. A new church, but with some awesome people. Showed slides and preached on The Missionary’s Wish. It went great!

Monday, 18th May – in Fresno
Shopping at first. I got some things done getting back organised – I haven’t gone through our papers and suitcases since we arrived!
I still have to clean out the car.
Joel rand and told us that Liz was in labour! Around 3pm our time she had a healthy beautiful baby boy!
Joel got online later and uploaded some pictures to Picasa. We let a bunch of people know via Facebook and our website!
Got to take Bro and Mrs. Miller to Dinner at a place called Carrows. Great food, and great fellowship.
Downloaded the video of the wedding off of the Hi8 video recorder into MovieMaker. Kind of disappointed because it is very brief and incomplete. Oh well! It is something.
After that we went to their home and Nita first got to spend some serious good time with Lisa Miller, and then we all got to have a good time of heart-to-heart talking and Bro Chuck and Liz were great! What a blessing to have them not only as brother and sister in Christ, but part of our extended family!

Tuesday, 19th May – Travelling to Sequoia National Forest near Fresno
Bought Ruth a new AT&T phone since hers had broke months ago, and she was using her Ireland mobile, and it was working terrible. She was happy!
Ruth and Gina were heading back down to Lancaster/Palmdale.
Bro Tony and Dina were heading up to San Francisco on the rest of their two week tour
We then finally got going, and headed east toward the Sierra High Mountains and the Sequoia National Park to look at the giant Redwoods, and WOW were they magnificent!

Wednesday, 20th May – Leaving Fresno and going north
Took Mom to the Fresno Bus Station at 5.30am. We were so glad she came! She won’t be home until Friday.
Finally got away from the hotel at 11.30am and headed over to Faith Baptist Church to meet up once more with Bro Chuck and Lisa. Nita showed Lisa Sharon’s Graduation picture Album and we took Sharon’s remaining luggage in.
We then headed north expecting to arrive at Colusa to be with Bro Buddy but decided to head into San Francisco – and it was well worth it!
San Francisco was beautiful. Phoned Sharon and we met at Pier 39 and walked around and ate Corn Dogs and took pictures!
Finally headed on further north to Colusa, but arrived at around 11pm. Quite but old little town.

Thursday, 21st May
I discovered a mouse in our room at 1.30am, so the woman moved us to a better room which was nice!
We got up a little late, but got on our way to Redding to meet Carol Verardo and her family at the church. We arrived at 10am, and unloaded the car, and then we all piled into my car and traveled north. Met Carol’s husband, Gerry, and Jenny, her daughter hasn’t changed a bit since Youth Camp!
Halfway along the trip I asked Gerry to drive and what a blessing of a break!
Stopped at several places along the trip to take pictures of some beautiful views. Ended up at the Pacific Ocean – the beach was absolutely freezing because of the cold wind coming across from the water! We then went on North to Crescent City where Gerry used to live since his grandfather was there. Carol booked two rooms by the sea shore with balconys that open to the beach front! It was kind of cold though, but the water was rocky and beautiful. We went out to eat at a seafood restaurant and ate very well.

Friday, 22nd May, 2009
Got up early, ate breakfast with the Verardos and then headed out to a beach to go looking for some fresh sand-dollar shells. Found only one, and it is not in great shape, but at least we got one. Then we headed northwest into Oregon. Beautiful trek through the remainder of the Redwood forest. Oregon was more sparse and has what is called a high desert look. We traveled at about 3,000 - 4,000 feet for quite a while until we got to Medford where we stopped at a Bowling Alley tomplay a couple of lanes of bowling with Jenny for her birthday. After that we headed back south to Mount Shasta! Beautiful day!

Saturday, 23rd May, 2009
Went to soul-winning at Shasta Baptist Church this morning at 9.30am. I got to go out with Ford Bishop, and for 2 ½ hours we had a great time! Bro Bishop is a great man of faith and burden about souls! He had no problem witnessing and telling folks how to get saved! Almost everyone we talked to were extremely attentive. The first man was in the worldwide church of God, and lost as a goose. Still holding to keeping the law and the Sabbath for salvation, and that he could lose it. I tried to give him some important truths to settle. Gave him much to ponder!
At 3pm, we went over to the Verardos for a Bar-B-Q and for Jenny’s birthday. We got to eat venison, and it was exquisite. Josh got to ride a four-wheeler, and we ate well! About 50-60 people were there including Matt, Mark, and the pastor and his wife.

Furlough, May 10 - May 16

Sunday, 10th May
Got up very early and started working on my message notes. I will have to be ready to speak twice today, and will only have this morning to prepare.
Got to Lancaster Baptist Church and went to the 8.30am Church service. Pastor Chappell preached great on Hope for the Family.
Joshua and Sarah then headed off to Sunday School, while Sharon and Luke took us to the Class that I would be teaching. There were about 28 people in the class, all married. I taught on “Why I Do What I Do… And Love It!” I had liberty and it seemed to be a blessing.
After that, we all went to Sizzlers for lunch and then dropped Sharon and Luke back at the college while we hurriedly left for San Diego with Ruth.
The GPS took us around Los Angeles again, and this time it was even better. No traffic at all!
We arrived about 4.30pm, and went to Walmart to get a few things.
We arrived at Bible Missionary Fellowship at 5.30pm and met the pastor’s son, Ben.
We had a great church meeting, and the people were awesome!

Monday, 11th May

Tuesday, 12th May
I am still waking up way too early! Woke up at 5am. Ugh.
Reading a book with Nita called Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs.
Mainly doing shopping with Ruth and Sharon for the wedding, and for stuff we will need for our trip as we travel further east after all this is over.

Wednesday, 13th May
Got to West Coast at 8.30am and could not find any place to sit for the graduation! Finally found an entire row saved by the Millers! Praise God!
The graduation ceremony was awesome!

Thursday, 14th May
Went with Luke, Joel Rockey, Joshua, and my Joshua to get suits. I bought Joshua a nice suit and shirt and tie for $119.
Then went to the church to decorate. I was useless, so I went back to the hotel to do some reading.
I still have to make some contacts and try and fill some dates with meetings.
Then we went over to the Millers for dinner. I helped Chuck work on Luke’s car. We had Pizza from Costco and then waited for Luke and Sharon to arrive. They went looking for places to take wedding photos.
We went over the order of ceremony ideas that they had.
It was getting late, so we finally left to go back to the Hotel.

Friday, 15th May
Took Sharon for last minute shopping at Macy’s
We had the Wedding Rehearsal, which was nervous, but went well.
Rehearsal Dinner at a great restaurant in downtown Fresno. We ate great Pasta and at least 20 people at the dinner.

Saturday – Wedding Day!
Wedding preparations are happening fast and furious! I am still not sure of what message the Lord wants me to preach. I wish I had more time to work on the ideas I have for a new wedding message – but alas, that will have to be for another day!
Sharon is beautiful, and everything finally is coming together!
I tried to get Live Streaming to work, but it just won’t send out the video feed. I tried everything I could think of and read about on the internet.
Settled on just using Skype. So, John, Bill and Geraldine, Bro Hutton say it live.
I will send the video via DVD when I get a copy of it.
The wedding was supernatural! God is SO good!

Furlough Blog May 7 - May 10

Thursday, 7th May, 2009
I am sitting in the London Heathrow airport with my wife Nita, and two of our children, Joshua and Sarah. We have been very impressed with Terminal 5 in London! It is a new terminal and is very easy to get around to and through.
The last thing I remember doing last night was setting my alarm clock last night for 3:35am and then turning over and going to sleep.
The next morning at 4:50am, we heard John calling us. We had overslept! Ugh! I remember this happening to someone on a movie once (Home Alone, I believe), and we frantically bolted and got ready! We left the house at about 5:35, and got to the airport at 5:45am.
Bro Dan and Kathy were already there waiting for us at the Cork airport! Amen!
We had a brief time of fellowship at the airport, and the Bro Dan prayed for us, and off we headed through security!
When we were leaving Cork, can you believe that I accidently got into the wrong crowd in line for the Malaga flight (which was right next to the gate for London, and we got through the gate and actually got on the plane before one of the ladies noticed that we were getting onto the wrong flight! Oh boy!
We went back into the terminal and kind of embarrassingly sat down (no one could tell what had happened, and we were just relieved to not be heading for Malaga)!
When we did get on our flight, it was delayed for about 30 minutes before take-off, and then it was delayed in the air over London for about another 15 minutes.
But, we landed, safe and sound!
We are all sitting on the hard floor next to a power-point so that I can keep my laptop plugged in for maximum usage on this flight.
It looks like the flight is going to be packed. Drat. Oh well. 11 hours in a packed airplane is not so bad (what am I saying?)!
I will need to work on my preaching messages during this flight for Sunday morning, and Sunday evening.
The flight WAS indeed packed, but we all were able to sit together!
Eleven hours is a very long time to be cooped up in a plane, but we made it.
We were so tired, but excited! It took quite a whole to get all our luggage, but we did, thankfully!
After that, we went through immigration, and the man wrong a wrong number on out card, and we were turned back and made to go through another line. It was very frustrating, and slow, and we were getting worried about how long this was all going to take.
Finally, a man took the card, looked everything up on the computer and said te original guy must have been sleeping. Everything was now okay.
We went outside and waited for our Thrifty Car Rental Bus to take us to the cars.
The car we got was beautiful. It was some kind of a Jeep, and it was great to drive.
I can’t wait to find out what the Ford Expedition drives like.
It took an absolute eternity to get halfway out of Los Angeles because of all the stop and slowly go traffic! I had to stop and sleep for about an hour because I was getting dangerously tired while driving.
When I woke up, we then drove about 45 more minutes to Oceanside, and found the Hotel. It was a nice hotel, and we were all in bed and asleep by 9:45pm, California time! We have been up and travelling now for 25 hours!

Friday, 8th May, 2009
Woke up at 2.30am, and then at 5.30am. Finally got out of bed at 6.30 and started working on emails and planning for the day.
Had a great continental breakfast with the kids.
Talked to John via Skype.
Talked to Sharon and found out Mom was for sure coming to the wedding.
We went to a local shopping Mall and Joshua and I left the girls to do their shopping while we went to find a Phone Store. We ended up at and AT&T shop, and I bought a Go phone ($49) and $100 credit.
Nita, Sarah and Joshua all got shoes.
We then went and tried to find the place where the car dealer worked to look at the Ford Expedition. It took quite a bit of to’ing and fro’ing, but we found the place. We loved the car. We had to go to Rob’s home (what a house!) to get the paper work. From there, we dropped Nita and the kids at a local shopping mall while I drove the Rental Car down to San Diego. It was not too bad getting down there with the traffic, and I made it by 5pm. The cost for the Rental was $200 because of the Drop-off charge ($60) which I thought was included all along!
Anyway, I am sitting in the taxi being driven back up to San Marcus!
What a day – loads of stress just trying to figure out how to do everything without being milked dry by all the costs.
We still have to get some clothes for the kids.
After I pick up Nita and the kids, we will head up to Lancaster.
Our accommodation is in Palmdale, but after that, Sharon said this morning that we should be able to stay at a friend's home! Praise God!
I have to phone Bro Buddy to see if we can still stay at his place when we are in Hot Springs!
The weather has been beautiful! The mornings are cloudy but the afternoon is absolutely perfect temperature with a light wind – incredible!

Saturday, 9th May
We finally decided to pick up the girls and head to Disneyland in Los Angeles. I was len the use of a GPS unit, and it took us a round-about way through the mountains. Good check out of the car – up and down hills – not great on petrol for sure, but a strong engine.
Finally arrived with a few delays, and it was massive. Far too massive! There is absolutely no way anyone could enjoy the theme park in less than three days! We started walking around and found out Nico and another guy from West Coast named Brett had come to Disneyland and decided not to come in. We talked them into coming, and had a blast.
So many of the rides had 1 hour wait lines, but we found out about Fast Pass, and were able to bypass one ride’s long lines – the Indiana Jones ride.
It was hot, but nice weather.
Very tiring day. Tomorrow, I teach in an adult Sunday School class. I am nervous.