Back to the States

Arriving at Philadelphia airport

Arriving at Philadelphia airport on August 2nd (just a wee bit of luggage!)

Welcome to our new blog!  Here’s a posting of an update written earlier this month.

Dear Loved Ones,

First of all, we want to say thank you so much for the very warm welcome we have received from so many of you through e-mails, phone calls and a few of you face to face already.  We have been here in the U.S. for less than a week and have been pretty busy.  We have had people in our new home every day!  Our first few nights we were waking up at odd hours but the last couple have been more normal so although I still feel a bit loopy, I think we are heading towards getting back into a normal schedule.

Some of you have asked some questions with regards to the airplane accident we told you about.  The pilot who was killed was Frank Toews.  We did not know him personally but many of our friends and family did.  His wife’s name is Tiffany and they have 4 children.  We also just learned that Ryan Williams, the other AIM missionary who initially survived the crash just went home to be with Lord after being flown down to South Africa for further care.  His wife is Dawn and they also have 4 children.  There will be a memorial for Frank in Nairobi next Tuesday.  Please pray for these dear and hurting families as the Lord reminds you.  And for us, we ache for them.

Well, we have been feeling quite overwhelmed with being back in the developed world but so far have not had any major “moments”.  I did almost burst into tears when I went to get my drivers license and they asked me for the last 4 digits of my social security number.  I panicked and went blank, felt myself choke up but got my mind scrambling and came up with the right numbers.  Haven’t had to retrieve that information for a LONG time so I guess I did okay.  It was incredibly efficient but also very impersonal compared to the same process in TZ which I went through there just a couple months ago.

On our first night in our new home, we realized that there was indeed central air conditioning so I closed all the windows again and Jon turned it on.  During the night (at one of those odd hours when I was awake but should have been sleeping) I thought I smelled heat but brushed the thought aside.  Next morning I was sweeping up down by the heater and told Jon it felt like there was warm air coming out.  Sure enough, somehow we had managed to be heating and cooling the house down at the same time.  Jon joked that it was no wonder his feet were hot and his head was cold.  Don’t know if that was a true missionary blooper or if there is something funny about the wiring in the system but in any case, it was a good thing we got that sorted out right away. 🙂

Here are a few of the things that have caught our attention here now that we’re back in the good ‘ole USofA……

lots and lots of soft, manicured grass, everything is green and lush, soft carpets, our feet are still clean at the end of the day, all the cars look so new and shiny, tall trees, smooth roads, squirrels, sweet corn (both in the fields and on our plates 😀 ), and other delicious summer produce, pressurized water flowing out of the taps (which we can drink from!) and it gets HOT at the slightest adjustment of the faucet…..

lots and lots of cars around, and plenty of neighbors but they don’t come to your door, lots of people at the store but they don’t greet you like they would in Tanzania, most people seem to be in a hurry, lots of mirrors everywhere, hand held scanners (that look like something out of Star Trek) at the grocery store, lots of advertising, everything covered in plastic…..

the ability to condition our air (A/C, HEPA filters), our water (water softeners), our soil (synthetic fertilizers), our food (preservatives, hormones) and our hair!
the ability to do a complete grocery shopping run-banking transaction-and fill up your car with fuel without any human to human interaction whatsoever.

The kids have been particularly fascinated by: escalators and elevators at the airport, automatic car doors, automatic garage doors, automatic store doors, the garbage truck, and the vacuum cleaner (which terrifies Rachel).

It’s nice to hear the same familiar voices on the local Christian radio station here, and though a lot of the songs are new to us (and sound great!), we still recognize some ‘oldies’ of a few years back.
Thank you for all your prayers and support, we’re looking forward to visiting many of you, re-connecting with our home church and other churches in PA.  In case you were wondering, we are still fully supported by you through Africa Inland Mission and continue to depend on your faithful giving.
We’re looking forward to getting involved in ministry here and we’re scheduled for a number of conferences and speaking engagements this Fall.  Jon is looking for some part time doctor work to keep his skills up, and we’re getting things in line for the boys to start school at the end of the month.  We learned that the Christian school they’ll be attending has their Kindergarten through 2nd grade classes in the new building at our home church right across the street.  It’ll be such a blessing to be able to just walk the boys to school.  Please see our new contact information below.

By His relentless grace,

Melissa for all of us

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