Thursday, November 21, 2013

So close.... Yet so far away...

Sooooo for some reason the "Hall and Oates" lyrics "So close... yet so far away.. (yeah we're livin' in a dream world!)" have been running through my head today!! I am not advocating the singers, the song or anything about it haha But the lyrics fit my day perfectly!!!!!!

I am about to embark on a venting session about my beloved Ecuador! I know I rave about the ministry, the food, the culture, the people and it's all true.. HOWEVER!!!! Sometimes the frustration of living in a developing country just makes me want to SCREAM!!! hahaha

Sooo the day was pretty normal, everything going as planned and then!! I received the LONG-AWAITED phone call announcing the delivery of my furniture!! YIPPEEEEE!!! Oh how exciting it was as the truck pulled up in front of my house! I should have know it was oh-too-good-to-be-true...

As the very nice men carefully pulled my furniture off the truck, to my grave horror I realized "IT"S ALL WRONG!!" Waaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh....

As many of you know, I have my own weird sense of style.. most of it being black and white. hahaha SO, as most of the living room suites come in 3-4 pieces, including a couch, a love seat, and 2 chairs, I decided to mix it up a bit and order 2 pieces of furniture completely black and 2 pieces of furniture completely white.  Putting aside your personal opinions as to if that will be nice or not (haha)... just answer me this question:  IS THAT SOOOO HARD TO UNDERSTAND? hahahaha 2 white, 2 black!!! It was clearly written on the order form that the nice man filled out.  And it wasn't our spanish haha We took a ecuadorian brother with us when we ordered it just to make sure there was no confusion! hahahaha

SOOOO what came off the truck???? 4 pieces of furniture, each with the bottom part of the furniture black and the top part white!!! WHAT!! They all looked like big, giant OREO cookies with the top missing!! Oh no no no this is not going to work!!!  I actually cried hahaha I know, it's a bit dramatic but WHAT A LETDOWN!!! haha

So... now you see.. as the very nice men loaded my furniture back onto the truck promising that they will remake mine to my specifications (which of course means another 2 or 3 or 12 weeks!!! hahaha) The lyrics for the song popped into my head... "sooooo close, yet so far away... yeah we're living in a dream world...."

ARGH!!!! Thanks for letting me vent!! hahaha

I will write soon with some great, encouraging, wonderful experiences of good 'ole ecuador! haha but, TONIGHT, as I sit here with a comforting glass of wine in my hand looking at my STILL empty living room, TONIGHT, Ecuador and I are NOT friends! hahahahahaha

Love you all..

Saturday, November 9, 2013

We're back safe and sound! :-)

Hello everyone! We are back and settling in here in Ecuador! A big thanks to everyone for making it such a
great visit! :-)  I am always a little bit down-in-the-dumps the first days back. But going back out in the ministry always helps me! This time was no exception! 

The sun has been shining! (I even got burnt the first day!)  We are in our tract campaign right now so that of course has eased me into preaching in spanish again (haha) Our bible students were very excited to see us! (Could it be because I bring them some Hershey's chocolate? hahaha) They always think we are never going to come back... funny.  

Specifically my little bible student, Michelle.  I called her a few days ago and asked if I could stop by and say hello and she says, "Thank you sooooo much for calling me! I have missed you sooo much!" So I stopped by (with my chocolate of course haha) and she and her younger brother sit down in the living room with me and proceed to tell me how they are discouraged because their parents haven't been going to the meetings (Michelle and her little brother Wilson, are publishers, but the parents aren't yet).  So we talked for a little bit and I asked them if they would like to go in service with me the next afternoon.  "Of course, hermanita!" Their eyes lit up and I gave them each a tract to read the night before and think about for the preaching the second day.  Well, I stopped by at 3pm to walk with them to the group and they were looking out the window for me! haha We walked to the group in the blazing sun (sorry if it is cold where you are right now haha).  We did territory for about an hour and then I had a return visit, so they went with me on the RV.  Little Wilson, who is about 10, paid such close attention on my return visit, he would look up the READ scriptures ahead of time for me and have them ready to read to the lady.  SOOOO cute.  When my call was done, we decided to walk all the way home instead of take the bus (it was about a 30min walk). So, I suggested that we give tracts to the people walking on the street.  They LOVED it!!! "Hermanita, Is it my turn? Can I give one to this lady?" Sooo cute.  I really didn't have to do to much because they were so excited when they would see someone walking toward us, they would be ready with their tracts in hand! All in all, I think I was more encouraged by the afternoon than they were and we had a WONDERFUL time.  

I asked little Wilson how school was going and he began to tell me about how his teacher wanted to force him to sing the national anthem.  He was nervous about it because she told him that if he didn't, he would receive a failing grade for the day.  So he went home and talked to his sister, Michelle, about it. She says, "Wilson, what is more important? To get 100% for the day? or please Jehovah?" Well, that was that.  He proudly went in the next day and told the teacher that it was more important for him to please his God Jehovah than to get a good grade for the day.  In the end, she didn't fail him, and he didn't have to sing! :-)
Awwwwwww.... so, Jehovah is helping me to get back into the swing of things here in the ministry. And using little kids to do it! haha

We send love to you all and big hugs!! Thanks again for taking such good care of us while we were in the USA!! We miss you all very much!

P.S. On a much more materialistic note (haha) I have ordered my long-awaited furniture for the living room (black and white of course SHOCKING!! haha) We have spent the week painting a few walls... I am SOOO excited! I owe a HUGE thanks to so many of you who over the past year and half have made contributions to my furniture fund!! YIPPEEEE!! I will send pictures when I have it all done! It should be a few weeks yet. They SAID that the furniture will be ready in a week, but by Ecuador standards that could be January... :-/ hahahahahahahaha

Have a great day everyone! :-)
Love, me

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Well hello! :-)

Hello everyone! How are things back home?  I hope you are all getting some warmer weather coming your way finally! 

Just an update on the goings on here in Cuenca.  We are both doing well, although Chad got the flu last week and very lovingly decided to share it with me :-) We are now recovering!

The congregation is good! We have had a few families move out to other congregations and some other congregations move in... all in all a balance!  We are excited to begin our D.C. invitation campaign.  Our convention is the last weekend of this month, here in Cuenca so we don't have to travel too far :-) The English convention is the first weekend in August so YIPPEEEEE! :-)

We have been good and very busy (aren't we all?) haha
The ministry has been great, as usual.  Recently Chad has been able to start studying with some of the husbands of a few of our sisters in the congregation! That is always a nice experience!  It is so great to see how the husbands really progress due to the great example of their wives all of these years!  And as an added bonus, Chad usually receives food because of course the sisters take real good care of him when he is on the study! :-)

I have a good group of bible studies right now.  This one little girl, her name is Michelle (haha) she is 12.  Oh my, what a bible student! She had studied before and got about 3/4 of the way through the Bible Teach book, but then her family moved and she lost touch and just hadn't really had a chance to study for a few months.  Well, they moved into our territory and came to one of or meetings and I sure grabbed a hold of that one fast! :-) The best place to find good studies? At our public talk and WT!!!! haha I make such a bee-line for the new faces they don't even know what hit them! :-) Seriously, you have no idea how many people just show up at a meeting.  Maybe they studied in the past, maybe they are just curious, have received literature somewhere in the past and wanted to see what it's all about!  (Well, I digress) haha 

ANYWAY... about Michelle!  I have had 2 studies with her so far.  So, I asked her how much of the Bible Teach book she has studied and she said up to Chapter 14.  But, she says, "But, please, could we do a review from the beginning to make sure that I didn't forget anything?" haha OF COURSE WE CAN!!!  She has not forgotten anything!  Some things she maybe never learned,,, but when we get to that, well, that is her homework assignment! You should see the excitement in her eyes as she writes down her homework assignment! She LOVES it! For example, the first week, I asked her about the Memorial and if she had attended.  She said yes, one time.  I asked her who partake of the emblems and why and she was so concerned as she told me she didn't remember!  So... the appendix was her homework! Who partake? Why? How many are there? When do we celebrate the Memorial? questions like that.  Also we covered the cross, she knew not to use it, but not sure why.  So I told her the next week I would be one of her classmates, and I wanted her to explain to me why we don't use the cross! :-)
(Bye the way, she gives me homework assignments, too.. like "Hermanita, next week I would like to you review this prophecy with me about Babylon (the one with Cyrus). Could you do that?" OF COURSE!!! haha)

Soooo, week 2 I get there for the study.  And she bought herself a special notebook just for her homework assignments :-). She had written notes about the Memorial and also about the cross.  She gave a little presentation on both topics... I was pretty much amazed at her maturity and knowledge... What can you expect from a "Michelle?" hahahahahahaha So again we continued through the book reviewing.  Her homework assignment this week is 1914 and how we use the bible to get to that date.  I almost felt bad giving it to her because it can be so challenging for some of the students to grasp... but I am sure she will explain it better than I can! :-) She really has been a joy to study with.

Let's see, what else? AHHHH if any of you remember the Criollo family? The ones that live up in the mountains? The 4 kids that study and were progressing and I was studying with the mom, Elena? Well, let me tell you!  Two of the kids are now regular pioneers, the other daughter is a regular auxiliary pioneer and the youngest is still in high school, but progressing very well!  Oh and Elena!!! What a sweetie! After we left their congregation, I turned her over to a very capable sister who took very good care of her.  But that sister also moved away and from there it was just a disaster.  Either the sisters weren't regular with her study, or their schedules didn't match, I am not quite sure, but she basically didn't study for about a year, although she faithfully attended all the meetings.  So about 6 months ago she is sadly telling me all this at the Circuit Assembly and I, as you can imagine, am ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIED that my sweet little Elena has been neglected!!! So, I told her to think about the sisters in her congregation and choose one that she feels comfortable with! She thought about it for 10 minutes and then came up to  me with a name.  I didn't know the sister, so first, I had to ask around to make sure she was good enough for my Elena hahahahaa ANYWAY, this sister had a bible student with her at the assembly, so I was fairly confident that she would take good care of Elena.  

You should have seen the conversation.  Elena, of course, is extremely shy. So she goes with me but is hiding behind me. hahaha I think it went something like this... "Um, hi, you don't know me... My name is Michele.  I used to study with Elena. I think you know her? (As I am trying to pull her out from behind me) She needs someone to study the Bible with her. Would you be willing to take good care of her?" hahahaha And, as anyone would do, she readily accepted, they exchanged information and set up a day for the following week.  Well.... a few months later, not more that 3-4 I run into Elena on the street. She is SOOOOOOO excited! "Michelita (little michele haha) I just last week I enrolled in the TMS and I am now approved as an unbaptized publisher!!" Oh man, what an incredible sense of joy :-) She has since been a householder twice and is also preaching as much as her schedule allows her!  Just thought you would all enjoy that update on that precious little family!

Well, I started out this blog thinking "Whatever am I going to talk about?" hahaha It appears that I had more than I thought! Well, I have to go to work now! Nice chatting with you all! 

Oh and we are coming back for a visit mid-September through October! Hope to see you all! :-)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Welcome to our house! Come on in......!

Hey guys!!! I just had a great idea to get me back on track with blogging! I often think about it, but can't really think of what to talk about. I know, it's hard to believe that I have a shortage of conversational topics. :-)

So, I decided to post some pictures of our house! We have been here for almost a year now I think! I know you are thinking that this is a huge place for just the two of us.. and you are absolutely right.  But, remember that when we moved in here, our family was much bigger! In fact, the first month or two there were 6 of us! The whole James family, and us.  And it was a perfect size! haha  But, as you know, very slowly they have all gone there various ways.  Mark and Beth returned to NZ to help take care of some family issues. BUT!!! a little birdie told me that there are some plans in the works for a future triumphant return!! YAY!! Here's hoping!!  Aaron and Amanda decided that it was time for poor Amanda to move closer to her congregation and the Chinese group.  So, they found a cute apartment much closer and have been enjoying the congregation over there.  

So, here we are, all alone in this big house!! I am not bragging, but maybe trying to convince some of you who are pondering the idea of visiting, or even moving here...our small, humble abode consists of 4 bedrooms, 2 offices/very small bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths.... I took some pictures for you guys...Hopefully it gives you an idea.

On a congregational note, things are going really well.  We have about 120 pubs and 13 pioneers right now.  Quite a few bible students are attending the meetings.  I think we have a few going over questions for baptism on our Special Assembly Day in January.  It seems like every other day Chad is heading out to go over baptism questions with someone! lol  Chad currently has 12? bible studies and I have 8.  But, the number keeps growing!!

They did a very interesting thing here in Cuenca in June.  The branch redivided all of the territories of the congregations.  They made some territories bigger and dissolved some congregations.  Then, they took all of the publisher record cards and just automatically sent you to the congregation that you belonged to!!! It was awesome.  It took some getting used to for many brothers and sisters and, of course, we were sad to see some go.  But we had a HUGE problem with this here in Cuenca.  They growth has been so fast that the congregations divide almost every 2-3 years.  Anyway, what happens is that you then have about 5 congregations meeting in the same KH and so some brothers were just picking the congregation that had a better schedule of meetings according to their jobs.  I think Chad said that we lost about 30 brothers and sisters that did not live in our territory, and we gained about 60!!

The branch sent out a very kind and encouraging letter to all of the congregations prior to the change, with a detailed list of why this adjustment is beneficial, and why it is in our best interests to be obedient.  One of the reasons was to cut back on costs and expenses.  We had 5 congregations meeting in our KH, which, as you can imagine, meant a meeting in the hall everyday of the week.  But they merged us into 3 congregations, which is less use of the hall and also means a larger and stronger elder body in each congregation.  The branch also personally chose the coordinator, the secretary, the service overseer and the WT study conductor!!!  It has been nice to see the brothers be submissive and to see the blessings that have come from the new arrangement.

You never do know.. maybe this is arrangement is coming to a city near you!!! hahaha

Well, that is about what I have for today! Oh, and we did indeed find jobs now.  We are teaching English online for a company called OpenEnglish.  I work 15 hours a week and chad works about 20.  It is a nice job, the students are nice, the management is nice and there are a ton of witnesses who are working there! Mostly need-greaters trying to support themselves also.  But, they don't care where we live, they are very flexible with the schedule and we can work from home!!! So, as always, Jehovah has arranged everything for us and better than we could have imagined!! 

Welcome!! Come on in.....
 As you can see... we unfortunately do not have very much furniture!! lol 
but it makes it a lot easier to set up for the big congregation dance parties!!! 


 So as you come up the stairs we have this open area with 2 bedrooms on the right, 2 bedrooms on the left and the bathroom is straight ahead.
 Master bedroom

 Official guest bedroom

 Not-so-official guest bedroom ;-)

 The 4th bedroom, which is my office!
The commute to work is such a headache!
 The back patio of the house (the kitchen is on the left and an outside room with full bathroom is on the right) 
The outside room is Chad's office/ man cave!
 Chad's man cave!!

Ok, NOW I am done I promise!! haha We send big hugs!!!  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thanks for the gentle nudge Sally! :-)

Well, she is right, it is time for an update. So, yet another post of changes.  Is our life ever going to settle down? :-) Things are going well here.  We are loving the congregation and being back with the friends and in the ministry again here in Cuenca.

We have news!! Do you want the good first or the bad?  The bad? Ok, yeah, let's get that out of the way and move on, eh? haha  Well, our jobs have come to an abrubt end :-( The company we work for has always had a little policy on working outside of the USA, but about a year ago, Chad explained our situation to them and they told him to just keep working until he heard from them. Well, last Tuesday we heard from them....and it appears they have decided to hold to their policy and not renew our contracts because we are living outside of the USA. Soooooo... we are trying not to panic, as Jehovah has always come thru for us before, but it is still a little stressful as you can imagine.  We have enough savings to stay here for another 2 or 3 months, but that is about it, so here's hoping for the best!!! If anyone out there happens to know of any online work that CAN be done outside of the USA, please let us know :-)!!!

Ok, enough of the depressing stuff... on the bright side we have been approved for our Residency visa!! YAY!! We still have to tie up a little bit of paperwork and actually go to the capital for our ID cards to be official,, but yay!! We can stay!! That also means that we are able to work here if we find work, so we are exploring a few options working here with tourists or something.  Any good ideas? Let us know!!!

Also... we are moving.. I know, I know, AGAIN!!!  Well, as everyone in the house is working on a limited budget ;-) we have been considering for a while finding something cheaper. But, we didn't want to just settle either, we still wanted to have a place adequately large so that we could also have a guest room.  About 2 weeks ago, a sister told us about a place near her that was for rent.  We went to look at it and although not nearly as nice as what we have, it still has enough rooms for us to be happy and the best part is... it is $100/month cheaper!! YAY!! We were undecided at the moment... but when news of our job loss arrived, the little things I didn't really like about the house suddenly were not any problem at all!!! :-) And it is a nice house, we will be happy there.  So, the big move will happen the end of the month. Anyone want to come and help us move? haha

The great thing about being forced back into retirement for now is that we are able to get back out in service even more!! Our contract ended on Tuesday.. and it just so happened that night we were starting the visit of our CO, so it really worked out nice that we could go out in service with them all week.  Just from the increase in service that I have put in the last 2 weeks, I have started 3 potential bible studies!! (I just love Ecuador :-)  Anyway, have to tell you what happened to me today... Chad and I were working door-to-door and we see a woman and her daughter approaching us.  I thought they lived at the house where we were knocking, so I asked her that. And she says, "no, we don't live here. But, are you Evangelicals?" I let her know that we were Jehovah's Witnesses and she says, "Ahhh.  Do you teach people the Bible?" Do we ever!!! haha So, I explained that we do and showed her the "Bible Teach" book.  But she gets this worried expression on her face and kind of looks down and says, "but I don't know how to read".  Awwww, cute! I explained that that was no problem, I would love to help her study her Bible.  So, we exchanged info and she explained to me where she lives (I had to control the cringe when she pointed to a house waaaaaaay on the top of the mountain and tells me that is where she lives haha) But, I think Jehovah has been wanting me to test out my mountain climbing skills lately because almost all of my new potential studies are on that same mountain!!! (at the top, of course haha)
Anyway, so we parted ways and Chad and I still have to sit and marvel, although this has happened to me I think 4 times that someone here has approached me and asked for a bible study.. But you just never get used to the thrill!!!  The hilarious thing is that tonight I was redoing my return visit book, adding my new visits and also going thru my old book from 2 years ago before we went to kichwa.  I thought if I saw anyone in there that I would put them in my new book, revisit them and see if I could get their study going again.  Guess who I found in my old book, written down with about 10 attempted return visits to start a study, but I never found her!!!! The same woman from today!!!!! I had only talked to her once, so I didn't recognize her, but there she was in my book!!!  Two years later and SHE made the return visit!! and informally at that!!! hahaha
Ahhhh, it is hard to stay depressed about lack of work when you are out in the ministry!!!!  

Ok, well, sorry there are no photos.. I keep forgetting my camera, but I am going to make a concentrated effort to start carrying it with me in service so I can give you something to look at!!!  I also have pictures of the visit from "the cousins" that I just have to sort through and I will upload. We had a blast with them and miss them terribly!! Thanks guys for such a fun visit!!!

We love you all and miss you terribly!!! Thanks for your patience and for the kind reminders about my lack of blogging!!!! ...

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Well, here we are! Back in good 'ole Cuenca!  Chad came back on October 14 because he had Elder's School scheduled for the 17-21.  And I stayed behind to finish up some work and then returned on the 26th.  So, here we are... trying to get ourselves back into our routine!

We thorougly enjoyed being with our families and seeing all of our friends back in the U.S. and all of you, as always, were so loving, generous, encouraging and supportive. So first things first,,, a big THANK YOU to all of you for a great 4 months and for putting up with us and our crazy lives!

Another BIG thank you to all of you who are still faithfully checking the blog, and haven't given up hope on me yet!!! I hope to not let you down :-(

Ok, soooooo... as the title of this blog states... our lives continually are changing and we are struggling to adjust! haha   I'll try and catch everyone up to speed with as little babbling as possible!!

First, as the majority of you are HUGE Beth's blog fans, you might know that Mark and Beth found a SWEET job/opportunity on the coast about an 8 hour bus ride from here... somewhere between the words "mansion", "pool", "beachfront property", "all-expenses included" and "monthly pay"... it just became TOO good to pass up, especially as it will help the family stay here in Ecuador!  Soooo... unfortunately our long-time roomates flew the coop, but left us with their very cool kids.. so we are not lonely and we still get to make fun of the New Zealand accent whenever we want! haha

How are we all doing together? We miss Mark and Beth terribly... but, as far as replacements go, Amanda and Aaron are about as perfect as it gets... we take turns cooking.. yes, even the boys have their nights to cook and let me tell you.. they are about the BEST male "flatmates" (as they say in NZ) as you can get!! Their food is delicious!! We take turns shopping, each have our own cleaning assignments.. some of us do a little better about that than em.. but ANYWAY...hahaha... we are having a great time!! Ok, so that is BIG change number one...

Big change number 2.... We are both working now!  and let me tell you, I am ready to retire! haha No, actually we are very thankful to have both found work as it enables us to support ourselves here.  Many of you know that Chad has been working over the internet doing customer service for about a year now.. so this last time back in the states, I got myself all set up and trained and now do the same thing.  He is currently working 2 part-time jobs until the end of December just to save a little bit of money and solidify his new job before he gives up the old one.  I work about 15 hours a week.. so not a bad deal at all compared to the crazy hours we always worked in the USA!! But, even so, (and I know this sounds like whining to all of you hard working brothers and sisters back in the USA) it is an adjustment to not be able to do what you want when you want to!! But, I like working, and so once the nervousness and stress of a new job wears off, I will be just fine....  Onto Big change number 3....

Those of you who follow Beth's blog know about all of the changes with our visas here in Ecuador!  And for that small group of you who don't know, long story short, we are no longer able to have the Missionary visa that we have had all of this time, so we had to find another visa, all of which involved a substantial amount of money which we do not have (obviously haha)  Soooo... initially we were panicking about even being able to come back here again.  But, as I said to Chad the other day.... "shame on us for not just knowing that Jehovah would find a way for us". I always joked about a large sum of money falling out of the sky.. and that is practically exactly what happened!!! Well, not money for us exactly.. BUT, a VERY kind couple, with a heart of gold, graciously offered to allow us to invest some of their money in our name here in Ecuador, which allows us to apply for the investment visa here.  And actually, it is a better visa, because we are allowed to work here, if we so decided.  So.. we are in the middle of the paperwork,, and hoping and praying that this all works out for us.... so, here's hoping!!!!

Now for Big Change number 4... there is no easy way to say it.. so here it is... we are back in Spanish.  NOT an easy decision for us.. especially as we feel like complete losers.. but with our current change in circumstances (see big changes numbers 2 & 3) we really feel like we wouldn't be able to give Kichwa that time necessary to be of any help at all.  And, on top of that, when Chad got here for his elder's school, he spoke with many of the brothers, all of whom stressed the HUGE need there is in Arenal Spanish, especially since they were losing their very precious Mark as an elder.  And, another elder had just moved into Kichwa, making Kichwa a cong. of 30 pubs, 25 of which are pioneers, and having 2 elders without Chad.. Arenal Spanish, a congregation of 80 pubs and only one elder... Well, it just seemed to Chad that Jehovah was leading him back to Spanish, for now anyway.. you never do know.  So, although to be honest, I DO NOT miss the dangerous preaching in the markets... I do miss the brothers and sisters and the return visits and bible students that I had in Kichwa.  But, on a positive note, we are back with the brothers and sisters that we were with originally after coming here, and so it is like being back with the family again and they have welcomed us with open-arms.. they are just so loving.  So, there is that big piece of news.

 Well, that is about it I think.. now you are all aware of the life and times of Chad and Michele.  As we start to get back into our routine of service, I am sure I will have plenty of great experiences to share! We are, after all, in Ecuador right? 

We miss you all already... thanks for your patience with my blogging (or lack thereof).  Hope things are going well for you all....

Friday, July 8, 2011

Our Quarterly Post hehehehe ;-)

It's that time again folks.  Yep, that is right.  We are still alive and kick'n.  Matt B. informed us that it is time for our quarterly blog.  Did three months go by already?  Imaginate! No me digas!  All on our watches are stuck on Ecuador time.  We can't tell if it has been a day, a month or a year.(shh!! don't tell anyone that there is absolutely no difference in the time between there and here)
We have been enjoying our time back here in the states.  It is incredible to be able to comment in the meetings without an hour of preparation for one comment.  I gave a talk in English last week.  Wow, was that a relief.  I actually gave a talk I didn't have to read from a manuscript.  We have been super busy studying our kichwa, making sure that when we go back, we will be fluent.(not!)(not studying, not going to be fluent) hehe
Seriously though, we really miss everyone in Ecuador.  We love seeing everyone here, but we are ready to go back.  There are only a handful of people we still want to see here before we are ready.  Currently we are staying with Michele's Mom and Dad.  They have been great to us and very helpful. (There was a case of Lancaster Brewing Company variety pack, Cracker barrel cheese, etc. here waiting for us, that is what I mean by "they have been great to us" :-)  No doubt, my Mom and Dad are a little jealous that we are spending more time here, but we have been going up there a least one a month for a couple days (they also have been taking very good care of us.  banana cake, Yuengling, etc.)
Due to the crazy work schedule, we had to split up the District Convention in three parts.  We went to my Mom and Dad's Saturday.  That was great, we got to see lots of old friends(I didn't remember them being so old, but then again, the mirrors here have been altering my reflection, too) and family.  We spent the evening on Friday with Phil and Trish and some friends, so that was a treat.  We went to Alan and Bev's Friday of the convention.  And we are going to the Sunday of the Spanish this weekend.  We are looking forward to seeing lots of hermanos y hermanas from our old spanish circuit.
Apparently, we forgot our camera at the convention.  So here are a few unrelated pictures of some our our friends.
You know this guy, right?

Aggidio, Phil and I/could be Matt, James and I(I can't make out the other two, but boy am I good-looking.

I just love our friends!!

We also spent day on Monday building a deck for Mom and Dad.  
Please note that there were lots of Indians and not enough chiefs.
 These are the only pictures I could find with James Lamey standing around.(He is so lazy)

 It is a little more apparent who the chief is here.

Without the chief, ???????????????
Please notice the key placement of the lumber to cover my newly acquired belly. hehe

Michele make friends everywhere.
Finished product, hehehe