July 6, 2011

And the Summer Adventures Begin

Wow! Where has the time gone? Summer officially started here when the kids got off school 20 days ago and it’s been a blur. A good blur, but a blur nonetheless.

We started off our summer preparing for our church's annual Dominican Republic mission trip. This year just my husband and kids were going. The team of 23 men, women and children met in our church parking lot on June 22nd at 3:30am and set off to Santo Domingo for ten days.

It was a fabulous trip for everyone! Each day they made tremendous progress on the worksite (a school/church/medical clinic/water treatment facility)—the same project we’ve been working on for the past three years.

The “old-timers” on the team (including my family) were thrilled to reunite with their Dominican friends and the newbies were old-timers in no time at all. As has come to be the norm for these trips, language and cultural differences didn’t stop Dominicans and Americans from becoming one happy family.

Dan kept us all posted with a blog he wrote—as the internet connection allowed. If you haven’t read it yet and want a look at a wonderful short-term mission experience, check it out (www.woodsidemissionaries.blogspot.com).

God was so evidently at work in it all—the friendships, the work, the worship, the fellowship. As has come to be expected on these trips, God knit together the hearts of His children and used the many experiences to touch so many so deeply. Lives will be forever changed.

During the final night’s worship/goodbye service American and Dominicans joined as family for one last time—until next year. Members from the team were invited to share their testimony and I’ve been told by many who were there that my daughter shared a testimony that was eloquent, emotional and had everyone in the place crying.

To see both of my children blossom and bloom on this trip made my mama heart grow ten sizes. I thank God for His goodness and for answered prayers.

Since the ten days that my family was away was a bit too many days to be home alone, I headed to Florida to visit my sister for a week.What a treat to enjoy so much one-on-one time together. We rested, we played, we talked, we worked a little and boy oh boy did we eat! And then I came home and spent three glorious days (literally the weather was spectacular) home alone.

As I read each update from the DR I questioned my decision to stay behind. But as the days of the trip progressed I felt that God had us all right where He wanted us.

The missionaries returned to a heroes’ welcome--happy and full of stories (and dirty laundry)—softly landing into life with a picnic at our house. What a blessing it was to be with them all and share in the glow of their experience!

While life has been full lately, I sadly haven’t written anything at all! I have, however, been observing, processing and storing up bits for later. We’ll see what comes out the other side.

For now it’s on to our next adventure—hosting an exchange student from Spain who arrived this afternoon. She’s with a group of students from Spain who are here to immerse themselves in English and visit the local sights. Dan and I immediately declared her delightful, and the kids are already planning to visit her at her home in Valencia! Despite it being 1:00am Spain time, and she’s likely weary from traveling, she happily agreed to go with my daughter to a youth group Bible study this evening.

I am excited for this experience—for what we might learn from our guest and for what we might teach her. While much of her time is scheduled, I imagine we’ll show her sights in the area and experience things we’ve always wanted to do and never have. If you’re from the Philadelphia area, do you have any suggestions?

What adventures do you have planned for the summer?


Kc said...

I really enjoy your blog! I hardly talk to Dan anymore, but I feel like I can stay in touch when I read what's going on with you and your family. Thank you for sharing.

Your life seems full and that makes me happy! All the best. Karen

Jodie said...

Hi Kelli, I also really enjoy reading your blog. (your door looks great!) I'm in Minnesota, but, my husband's sister & family live in Doylestown, PA. When we were out visiting we took a train from NJ to NY for the day - awesome experience! Some of our other outings included a flee market in 95+heat/humidity; having lunch in the quaint town of Hope; going to see where Washington crossed the Delaware. We wanted to get into Philly for more sites, but ran out of time. PA is beautiful. This summer, our adventures include hosting the Alpha Course in our home as an outreach to our neighbors & friends. We are in the midst of trying to keep our home, however, we felt the Lord still wanted us to step out in faith for this, so, we are excited to see what will happen and the lives that will be transformed. How fun - hosting an exchange student...lot's of adventures await you & your family. Enjoy your summer.

Sue J. said...

Glad the time with your sister was so enjoyable and that it didn't hurt too much to be away from the rest of your bunch. How wonderful to be on the receiving end of their stories--even the dirty laundry! I think I would be excited!!

My niece is preparing to head off to Guatemala next week for a mission. Her first trip. Praying for a trip experience much like what your family has had. God can do amazing things (even when you aren't there!).

We're home, too, now, and settling into summer school and the occasional camp. Hoping to be back to regular blogging, too. Downtime is good....

Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, so neat that you got to spend a week with your sister. I'm getting to spend a couple of days with all of my sisters this weekend. Very excited since I only get to see my sis from Arizona about once a year.

Later this month, we're also getting to vacation with both of our daughters and their husbands for a whole week. Am really looking forward to that since our visits always seem to short.

Blessings to you and your family as you host the student from Spain!

Kelly Combs said...

I haven't been over to visit in a while, and you've "redecorated" your blog. I like it.

I'm glad you had a nice time with your sister. And your family is all safe & sound.

Enjoyed catching up. Be blessed!

Sassy Granny ... said...

I always appreciate the snippets of life you share. You are one busy lady; and in the best of senses! I do believe you've got the heart of an evangelist ...

I'm so thankful to hear about your children's devotion. How refreshing in an age where whacky video games, social media & texting often rule the hearts of our young people.


tiffany @ tea w tiffany said...

I love peeking in on you. I'm thrilled to hear about your mommy heart growing as you watch your children blossom. Thankful you are living a life of love and faith. It's a beautiful witness to our Lord.

Thanks for sharing here.

I'm not doing too many big adventures here this summer. Going to She Speaks in a couple weeks. I have a part-time job for the first time in many years. That will help pay for my son's college. So there's been a shift in direction on my end. I struggled at first, but I have to believe God knows best.


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

My summer adventure?


My kids have been out since mid-May/ the college boys as well. I'm mostly over it by now:)

Seriously, next adventure is She Speaks in less than two weeks, and while I'm greatly looking foward to connecting with so many new friends, I'm ready for the "prep work" to be behind me.

Thanks for sharing your summer with us. Like the new look of your blog.