Our entire ground team (except the Straders who are still in Tanzania) headed to the states the third week of February. Ashley came to the States for the birth of her first niece, Clayton and Lindsey to see family and our church, and our family to teach at the World Missions Seminar. We all flew as far as Dallas together then went our separate ways.
Our family flew on to Little Rock where Ben (our close friend, member or our church, and chariman of our EKM Committee) came to pick us up in the church van. We drove to Monticello to the Holiday INN where the church put us up for the weekend. Our normal place to stay with Mr. Richard and Mrs. Doris Akin was taken by Ryan & Rebecca Copico and company. I guess it was ok since Rebeka is the Akin's Granddaughter and they are building a house... I suppose it would have been awkard to ask them to leave for our sake. : ) We did miss staying with the Akin's but the two rooms at the Holiday Inn were nice and the Akin's came and had breakfast with us our first morning in Monticello. It was a great surprise!
We had a great weekend with our church family. The church had a special time of celebration for Clayton and Lindsey in the AM service. Ryan did an interview with Clayton and Lindsey as a part of the worship service which gave the church a chance to hear how they are doing and where they are up to this point. Brother Chad also challenged the church to raise the remaining $10,000 for Clayton and Lindsey's Land Rover funds to send back with them. The church did raise the funds and even a little extra! It was so awesome to see Clayton and Lindsey on the stage together and know all that God has done. They are an amazing couple.
We were also so surprised to have Ben and Anne Fisher in services as well. They came down to Arkansas for the World Missions Seminar and decided to visit Pauline while they were in. They are seeking the Lord and taking steps to pursue the Lord's call on their lives. Please continue to pray for them as they make preparations.
In the evening service Brother Chad had Clayton and I give an over all report of where the work is and our future plans. It was a great first Sunday! We love our church, they are so amazing. Our family loved getting to just be in the worship services and be fed.
While we were in Monticello we also did some shopping for some warmer clothes. Thankfully Stage had a 50% off of the 50% winter clearance and we got an additional 30% off coupon from one of the ladies from church. We bought nearly all the winter clothes we needed for a little bit of money. Our pastor Brother Chad and Mrs. Julie bought everyone winter coats so we were ready when the snow and ice hit later in the week.
Monday we headed to Little Rock to stay with Mike and Jeanean Wilson. The weather was horrible. It was icy and snowing so we had to take it easy all the way to Little Rock. Thankfully we made it with no problem to Mike and Jeanean's. Mike and Jeanean are always so good to our family and take care of us anytime we are passing through. Jeanean spoils us all and especially the kids! We are always at home with them!
The kids loved all the snow and ice and spent a lot of time out in it while it lasted. Jeanean managed to get some sleds and snow gear that made the snow fun even better. The kids made a snowman and everything. We did not expect to see snow in Little Rock but we were glad that we did!
Kenya and I spent the rest of the week working along side Lynn and Brenda to get the final details of the World Missions Seminar put together. We came in a week before the seminar specifically to see how everything is done and assist in anyway we could. Lynn and Brenda really have an amazing team. Jamie, Cheri, Jeanean, Jeff, Walter, Mrs. Mattie, and the entire staff at Faith have the seminar and Pulse down to a science. We jumped in where we could and tried to take it all in. Lynn and Brenda shared with us all the details and where things were. It was good to see the process and flow of things.
While we were in Little Rock Ms. Sadie came to see us also! She drove up one afternoon all the way from Arkadelphia to have supper with us and visit. We love Sadie and miss having her with us. We enjoyed catching up with her and hearing how things were going for her.
At the end of the week we headed back to Monticello for the weekend to be with our church. Brother Chad asked me to preach both services and there was an afternoon Fish Fry Fellowship in our honor. The service was awesome and the fellowship dinner was amazing. During the Fish Fry Fellowship Brother Chad had me share a little then we had special prayer for the churches, all the EKM missionaries, the unreached people groups we are focusing on, and our family. It was a sweet time of prayer as each table of Pauliners was praying for a specific area of the ministry. We were blessed above measure. Our cup was overflowing when we left the church on Sunday!