"For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God." (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Great Frozen North

We got home from our trip to Quebec after supper Saturday evening, May 8th. We were tired, but we’d planned ourselves a fairly busy weekend! Sunday was Mother’s Day and also baby dedication Sunday at our home church. Our youngest son, Joel, is already two years old, but since he was born during our first term in Burkina Faso, we’d not yet had a chance to dedicate him to the Lord (they don’t practice this tradition in our local African church). We were reminded of the baby dedication service we’d taken part in 4 years earlier when we had our older son, Caleb, dedicated at our home church. He was only 3 months old at the time, and made quite a scene screaming his lungs out the whole time we were up front. Fortunately, our experience with Joel went much more smoothly and uneventfully. We enjoyed having our immediate family on both sides over for lunch and some visiting after church, and Caleb & Joel enjoyed hanging out with their cousins later in the afternoon. Monday we finally got a full day to rest (unless you count doing laundry as non-restful) and Tuesday morning we were ready to go at it again, this time headed for Ontario!
First stop on our trip to Ontario was in Fonda, NY, not too far from Albany. Dale’s cousin David Patterson and his wife, Karen and sons Daniel and Andrew live there and they welcomed us warmly. As children, Dale never really got the chance to get to know his Patterson cousins quite as well as his Johnsons cousins, so we really enjoyed this opportunity to get to know David and his family a little better. Dale commented later that it was fun to see that he and his cousin likely have a similar sense of humor and disposition.:) And we are so grateful for these faithful prayer partners! Caleb & Joel loved playing with Daniel and Andrew’s toys…plenty of cars and other boy toys here! And then Caleb discovered the battery-powered Gator and 4-wheeler and he was in heaven, blissfully driving round and round in circles in their front driveway, while Joel dug holes in the sandbox in their backyard.
Our next stop was in Ithaca, NY to visit college friends Phil and Angela Sorensen. What a beautiful area! If I would have realized what a pretty area it was, I think we might have planned a longer stop! Instead, we enjoyed some great fellowship with Phil and Angela, a walk around the Cornell University Arboretum, a scrumptious breakfast made by Angela, and a beautiful drive through some of the nearby state parks as we headed to our next destination the next morning.
Thursday’s final destination was Burlington, Ontario, but we planned a short stop at Niagara Falls so that Caleb & Joel could see them. The weather wasn’t really cooperating. It was a bit cool and rainy, so we weren’t sure that we’d get to do much at the falls. When we arrived in the Niagara Falls area, we tried to find a McDonald’s with a PlayPlace for the boys to unwind a little. We were running late, though, so rather than wander around looking for said place, we opted to just eat at the first place we found. Thinking we knew where we were, we picked our own way towards the falls after our meal, but after 15-20 minutes of driving around, realized we’d been driving in the wrong direction and were almost in Buffalo. Oops! ‘Til we got ourselves turned around and headed in the correct direction, we’d lost a lot of time and ended up arriving at the falls around 4 in the afternoon. It was easy to feel frustrated, but we chose to look on the bright side: Joel got an afternoon nap in (which he needed) while we were driving around, and by the time we actually parked, the rain had finally stopped. So we enjoyed a short 1.5 hour “tour” of the falls, which gave us just enough time to ride the Maid of the Mist. So we didn’t get the family outing we had been hoping for, but the boys really enjoyed their quick visit of Niagara Falls nonetheless.
Our late tour of the waterfalls meant we were also late arriving in Burlington, Ontario to visit friends Danny Dartnell, Christine Braun and Kristin (DeBoer) Miedema – all friends we made while serving together in Burkina Faso. We were given an extra special treat when Danny’s mother, Leanne, was also able to join us as she happened to be spending that week in Canada visiting her ailing father. It was like being with family again. There’s nothing in the world like getting together with fellow missionaries who have served alongside you. As much as we love our friends and family here in the US and are grateful for their encouragement and support, nothing can substitute for “having been there”. It is why we always encourage you to come for a visit…we want so much to share this part of our lives with you! So we had a wonderful time catching up and swapping stories with our extended missionary family. The evening was too short and we had to part way too soon, but it was SO worth the drive to Canada to spend those few hours of fellowship.
Friday was our last day on the road for this trip. It was an ambitious day of travel. We left Ontario later than we’d meant to, as usual, and got hung up at the border crossing, so our original plan of being in Warren, Pa by lunchtime was not feasible. But we couldn’t miss out on the chance to see our friend Linn Murray and to meet her husband, John. The boys enjoyed the chance to run around the park where we had a picnic lunch. Caleb managed to fall into the creek at the park, and then thought it was funny to run around the park streaking. Oh, well. I guess we left our impression on that part of the world.
A two-hour stop is way too short, but we’d made plans to visit Tara Alberth, who lived about an hour away, and we couldn’t miss out on that visit! Tara graciously adjusted her plans as we were running two hours behind schedule. We were glad to have the chance to meet her husband David, and then just spend some time catching up after 10 years! We were appalled that it had been so long and ashamed that we’d allow that to happen! Just before we left, Tara took us down the road to a look farm that had llamas, billy goats, and a donkey. Caleb and Joel LOVED seeing the animals. What a peaceful, gorgeous area…
We got home late Friday night, but we felt good about the people we were able to reconnect with. I have to echo my sentiment from the last post: the Lord has really blessed us with some great friendships in our lifetime. We’ve all had different paths, struggles, joys, blessings, etc, but He is faithful! We care about you all and pray for you!


  1. Sounds like an amazing trip, I hope God continues to bless your travels! Love the photos and am so impressed that you are able to continue blogging, even with all that traveling and kids, whew! Enjoy the west!

  2. I found your website!! lol now i can see pictures of the little ones and keep updated on where the heck you guys are! Next time you guys have to take me around the world in 30 days ;)


    Ps. Hi Joel and Caleb cant wait to see you guys again! We are gonna have so much fun at the cabin.