Returning to the US

Day 62, Tuesday, June 25 -The OBCC group finished the house for Brenda. We helped the women pick up furniture and decorations they had purchased for the young couple – more than one pickup full, which required the assistance of Mike driving the USS Puente (a very LOUD (visually) one-ton dually that was donated to Puente along with the puppet trailer). After the last bit of painting was done and semi-dry, the women went to work decorating and making the house a home. They set up beds, hung pictures, and filled a storage cabinet with food and supplies. In the meantime, Brenda and Sarah served us from a taco stand right in their driveway, and it was delicious! All the while, Brenda kept trying to sneak a peak at her new home, so several of us worked to block her view. Directly after lunch, my stomach started to do summersaults, making me fear that I had accidentally ingested wheat (most of the time the corn tortillas are safe, but sometimes they use flour as well, and I had failed to verify today). So, we grabbed the kids and headed back to the base so I could do some damage control, effectively missing the dedication and presentation of the house. What a party pooper! However, I was successful at warding off any obvious side affects, which allowed us to be treated to one of our last Mexican meals, complements of Puente, with Toni, Dave, and Erica. We discussed our time in Mexico, what we had learned, and how it had impacted our lives. Yet another great day.

Day 63 – We took the OBCC group to Fernando’s rehab, Fountain of Hope, in the morning and enjoyed a time of worship together. Matt Veal had prepared something to share with the men, but the Holy Spirit moved in a different direction. We were able to hear of struggles and success stories from several people from the rehab as well as the OBCC group, and our time together ended with a commitment to be alcohol and drug free, expressed by walking over a rope and then burning it, followed by powerful prayer.

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We ate our last fish tacos at Tacos Angel, enjoying a last meal with Marcial.

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In the afternoon, we headed to Casa Hogar Sion, where I was able to see the completed concrete project for the first time. They had already arranged for a group to add a shade over the slab, which is to be completed sometime next week. It will be the perfect place to play.

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Jacin was surprised to see Juanito (of Juan and Alma) there, and he was crying and had his head wrapped. We found out the orphanage helps with his schooling transportation, and after school as he was playing with the kids before going home, he was struck in the head with a swing. He seemed disoriented, which concerned us, so Jacin got permission to take him home early, with the help of Marcial to translate.

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Jacin made a quick stop at the Calimax (essentially a Safeway) up the hill from Juan and Alma’s house to let Juanito buy a soda and pick out some ice cream (the common cure for possible concussion), and Juanito’s eyes grew wide as he tried to take it all in. Marcial told Jacin that he had never been there before, and neither had his mother. Marcial told Juanito that he could get the treats, but to be careful not to grow to like any of it too much, because he would likely not get them again any time soon. This was yet another reality check for us, to see just how easy we have it compared to his family and how much we take even ice cream for granted. At Juanito’s house, Jacin was pleasantly surprised to find little Enoch in the doorway baby jumper we had bought for him at a street shop a few days before, as well as their family pictures on the wall.

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After dinner at the base, we headed to Cruising for Jesus to deliver some bread from Panera and to see the finished sink project. It turned out so well! We headed to the Cruising church for our last service with them, and bought a few hats to support their upcoming car show outreach (with the benefit of a few memoirs for us!). We said our last good-byes to Pastor Robert, Carlos, and Hairo, all of whom we had grown close to through our various trips with them as translators.

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Day 64 – We enjoyed our last meal with our OBCC family and prepared to leave. Many tears were shed as we sent them off, and then said our good-byes to Marcial and Amalia.

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It is so difficult to keep saying good-bye to people who truly have become family. We enjoyed our shortest border crossing yet – only 30 minutes! We headed to the RV in El Cahon, unpacked in the unrelenting heat, and decided to head out to have lunch and do a small bit of shopping while the RV cooled down. Afterwards, we enjoyed a swim with the kids at the RV park and talk to a few of the “residents” there.

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Our plan was to stay the night, but we decided it would be best to start driving towards Prescott that evening to avoid as much of the scorching southern Arizona sun as possible. As we were hooking up to leave made the lovely discovery that the rear license plate and receiver hitch had been stolen off the RV during its 3-week storage. Welcome back to the US! We made it as far as Quartzite on Interstate 10 and had to call it a night. It was still 93 degrees at 12:30 a.m.!!! Needless to say, we ran the generator in order to run the A/C, or there would be no hope of sleep regardless of how tired we were.

Day 65 – We woke up at 6:30 to 90 degree heat and hit the road. It was an easy drive to Prescott, but upon our arrival we spent the greater part of the day dealing with the stolen license plate and getting ourselves reconnected to everyone everything in the US after being gone for 5 weeks. We were all dragging, so we crashed early after a lovely chicken dinner prepared by Sandy. We all slept in the house because it was still pretty warm by the time we went to bed. Jacin and I had yet to sleep in our own bed! 😦

Day 66, Saturday June 29 – I had ordered from Bountiful Baskets with a 7:00 a.m. pickup, so Jacin and I were up early to drive into town. The volunteer team was so organized that we were able to collect our food 15 minutes early! Afterwards, we ran the truck through a car wash to rid it of its 5 weeks of Mexico dust. Back at the house, Jacin spent the day fixing a few things on the camper and preparing it to plug into to Dad and Sandy’s house, as well as help Dad with a few projects. I had the privilege of working with a new QEST client, a woman (Lou) who had been referred to me in the fall of 2012 who was interested in the work and had heard I may be traveling to her area. I am hopeful to see her a few more times before I leave. In the afternoon, we headed to a neighborhood potluck to thank some of the fire fighters who had helped to contain the recent fire on Granite Mountain, right in Dad and Sandy’s back yard. They had been under mandatory evacuation, and so had packed everything in their house and were ready to leave if the fire got too close. Thankfully it was contained before that happened. Jacin and I got to sleep in the RV in our own bed for the first time in over 5 weeks!!! The kids also got to enjoy their own rooms. Needless to say, we all slept well. 🙂

Day 67 – It was basically a quiet day. We attended church at The Heights with dad and Sandy. We treated dad and Sandy to home cooked steak dinner. Afterwards, we enjoyed a thunderstorm on the back porch for a couple of hours. The storm cooled the air so greatly that we were able to open the windows to the house and RV and fill them both with fresh air. Before heading to bed, however, Jacin saw on the news that there was a fire in Yarnell, and that while we were enjoying the storm, 19 men had died during the constantly changing wind gusts. We were glued to the TV for quite some time before heading to bed. This is a true tragedy for the Prescott community.

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http://www.businessinsider.com/how-19-firefighters-died-in-an-arizona-wildfire-2013-7

Day 68, Monday July 1 – Wow, how can it be July already? Jacin and Dad oiled the wood support beams on the back porch, which required the use of the case loader (grunt grunt). Then they worked to unload a crane that had been attached to a gooseneck trailer for over 20 years. I worked on some bookkeeping while Sandy ran to town to pick up the cousins, Dru and Aaron, which we hadn’t seen in over 3 years. Once they were at the house, the boys spent the rest of the day shooting arrows into bales of hay and catching lizards. After dinner, we were treated to the Oldest Rodeo on Earth, where we caught an impressive show by John Payne, the One Arm Bandit, as he herded two Buffalo onto a flatbed trailer, then onto the roof of the attached horse trailer. We had a lot of fun! Once home, we played the bathroom shuffle game as we attempted to get six bodies ready for bed.

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To be continued…

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