Well, two weeks ago, we threw everything into the van and headed out. It was a bit of a helter-skelter escape in the end. We realized that if we didn’t just GO we might never leave! There are a few things we have left behind because of our rush…but I am writing this from Florida, listening to a thunderstorm, rather than from snowy Winnipeg, so I think we made the right choice.
Heading south was a bit like heading back in time. We passed through winter (in Minnesota Rachel got her wish to play in the snow at least once this year), and day by day watched the leaves on the trees increase in number and take on vibrant fall colours. Finally, a week after we left, we came down out of the hills of Georgia and simultaneously entered Florida and summer. It was pretty bizarre to wake up freezing in a frost-covered boat and be passing palm trees beside the highway in the afternoon!
We have been very blessed by the generosity of my American family and even by some American strangers (a hospitable Georgian pastor and his family who had us over for lunch after church last Sunday). Funny story…we stayed at a hotel last Saturday night and Travis found a Mennonite church in the town we were staying in. So, Sunday morning we took a walk to down town Trenton, hoping to see what Georgian Mennonites were like. We kept circling around the pin on our GPS but could not locate the building. Finally, we took a closer look and realized that Travis had found a Mennonite church in Trenton, OHIO – 6 hours from where we were! So, we joined the First Baptist Church for their service instead.
But back to my family – I am so blessed to have cousins and aunties and uncles who will open their homes and make room in their schedules…even when we are not able to give them exact times or days when we will arrive. And are unsure when we will leave! We filled up any extra space in auntie LaVon and Uncle Neil’s house for the first week in Florida. Right now, the kids and I are staying at my auntie Bonita and uncle Arnie’s house while they head up to Minnesota for a gathering! How crazy are they to leave us in their house with no firm date of when we will leave it?!
The compound where we are staying is a gated retirement community originally only for retired missionaries and pastors. We feel very safe here! I am reminded of the freedom to roam I enjoyed growing up on the SIL mission centre as we walk on the roads between houses and cycle to the pool. They have a weekly chapel service which I attended. It was very meaningful to hear testimonies of thankfulness from people who I know have spent a lifetime serving the Lord.
I’m the kind of person who doesn’t just like to look at things. I want to touch, taste and try whatever comes my way. So, it has been lovely to feel the sand beneath my feet, brave the cool ocean water, try barbecue and other local delicacies, and take a boat tour so we could see alligators up close.
We are enjoying swimming and sight-seeing here in Florida, but do feel a bit like we are living in limbo, waiting to really begin. Travis is spending most of his days and nights out at the boat, which is over an hour awayfrom the rest of us. I really look forward to when the boat is ready to go in the water and we are done making all our set up decisions and purchases.