"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)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Where in the World are the Johnsons?

So, I think we must be some of the world's worst bloggers, considering we only update this place every couple of weeks. I always have better intentions than that, but lately life just seems to be spinning by in a blur and it's all I can do to keep my two feet on the ground! Anyway, I do apologize for the lack of communication of late. I think we're about two months behind sending out a prayer letter and also a bit late with our usual quarterly newsletter. We will catch you up soon, we promise!
On the plus side, we have been enjoying catching you up by visiting many of you over the last several months. The months of March and April were some of our busiest for visiting our partner churches and meeting with many of our prayer partners, supporters and friends. This month, May, is our most travel-intensive month during our 8-month home assignment. We spent the first two weeks taking two one-week trips to Canada: one up through New England to Quebec, and one up through New York to Ontario. Now we are in the beginning stages of a 4-week roundabout trip to Colorado and back. If you're shaking your head and muttering to yourself that we must be crazy doing all this travelling with two little boys, well, all I can say is: you should've already know that! If we were crazy enough to get on an airplane and move to Africa in the first place...:)
We had fun updating you with pictures and stories about the different places we visited when we were in Europe, so I think I will try and do the same now as we travel around the US. We are making many more stops, though, so our opportunities to hop online are a little more limited and our schedule a little more intense. I should have really started writing about the travels two weeks ago when they started, but I didn't think of it then. So, I'll take this occasion to bring you up to speed.
After a very intense, but encouraging week-long missions festival at Church of the Open Door in York, Pa, we had a week off to gear ourselves up for all of our travels. We spent a lot of time cleaning house that week (because that's what you do before you travel, right?) and then stayed up late packing Saturday night, May 1st (because you always wait 'til the last minute to pack, right?), and finally, Sunday morning, May 2nd started our big adventure. We drove to the Evangelical Free Church of Hershey (about 30 minutes from our house) to participate in a Missions Sunday, enjoyed a nice luncheon after church, and then hit the highway, headed for Brooklyn, New York where Dale's cousin, Ryan, his wife Andrea, and their son Caden live. It was so fun to catch up with them again after all these years and to meet their little guy...the last time we visited them in Brooklyn, Caleb was still in the womb!
Our visit in Brooklyn was way too short, but, alas, our itinerary was set and so we had to move on. Too many good people to see, too little time! We ended up driving through the city on our way up to Peabody, Ma to visit college friends Matt & Becky Brown. Not the easiest route to take, but Caleb LOVED seeing all the bridges (and wanted us to go over every single one of them, of course!). I was a bit awed to realize again exactly how large this city is. After being in Paris last winter and seeing that grand city, it gave me a new perspective looking at this city that I've often taken for granted, having lived close enough to it, visited it several times before, and realizing it's rank as one of the larger and most famous cities in the world. Many places we go now, we can't help but think, "what would our Burkinabe friends think of this?"
Our trek through the Big Apple left us running quite late to see the Browns and so our stop to see them was quite short. We only ended up being able to spend a little over an hour with them. But how fun to see them healthy, smiling, and with two beautiful children. The visit may have been short, but meeting up with friends we've lost touch with over the years and seeing them with their families and in their normal home lives reminds us again of how we are alike: we may live in two different continents, but we, too, have two young, energetic children...we laugh at similar things and worry about making dinner...we find meaning in service and are committed to the church...and we love and serve the same God!
[caption id="attachment_587" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="We stopped at a McDonalds near Hartford, Ct on our way to see the Browns in Ma. Too many McDonalds lunches of late!!!"][/caption]
We left Peabody in haste, knowing we were keeping our hosts in Derry, NH waiting. Matt and Amy Morrison had put together a barbecue, where we were surprised to find friends Ryan & Katie Keith (Forgotten Voices International) and Laurel Cacace! A reminder again of the Lord's goodness to us in bringing such great people into our lives...they'd driven 45 minutes - 1.5 hours to come join us. How sweet! Our boys really enjoyed hanging out at the Morrison household...their boys are nearly the same age as ours and they've got a lot of great boy toys and a nice playground. It was hard to pull the boys away from all the fun the next morning as we took our last leg north for this particular trip: Quebec City, Canada.
[caption id="attachment_589" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Josh & Jake Morrisson and Joel & Caleb Johnson"][/caption]
You may remember that we spent our first 6 months as missionaries living in the province of Quebec, learning the French language before we headed to Burkina Faso for our first overseas term. During our time at language school, we were taken on a field trip to Quebec City to learn a little bit about the history and culture of the region. I'm sure it would have been a very interesting visit, but all we could remember was that it was COLD! It was early February and the temperatures the day of our trip were somewhere near -30 degrees Farenheit! A few pictures we managed to snap with the camera told us that the city was probably worth seeing again someday, but we vowed we'd not do it again until we had a chance to do so in warmer weather! Well, we had our chance now, and the weather cooperated so that we could truly enjoying seeing Quebec City again, one of the oldest cities in the new World. Located on the St Laurence River, the old city still has many buildings that have been restored from the original 1600 structures. The highlight for the boys was the ferry boat ride we took to cross the river and back. We even got to see a big freighter boat, newly arrived from Europe (Greece, possibly?) being pushed up the river by a tugboat.
Of course, sightseeing and history were not the only or even first reason we chose to visit Quebec City. My cousin, Cindy Heiner and her husband Jonathan are living there, with their baby son Daniel. What a treat to spend two days with this, the closest of my cousins throughout my childhood, and to meet her little guy. What a health (read "chubby") and happy little guy. Even Caleb couldn't help but be charmed by him, talking often of his "baby cousin" even after we had to leave them.
Our return trip saw us stopping in Sherbrooke, Quebec for a night. This was the town where we did language school three years ago at a Word of Life school that also runs a language school specifically for missionaries. It was fun to see the school again and to catch up with the Normandin family, members of the church we attended while in language school who were very welcoming and helpful during those 6 months. I also had a wonderful tete-a-tete with my Bible reading partner, Izabelle Perrier. What potential this young woman has and I'm so grateful that she still calls me friend after all these years! I do hope that we get to see her in Burkina some day, even if it's only for a visit! Before leaving Sherbrooke we couldn't help but stop at our two favorite bookstores to stock up on more Christian and children's books in French and a few CDs, too! It'll be really fun to have these materials when we get back to Burkina in a few months.
Our final stop on our way home was in Connecticut. We spent a night with college friends Brad and Sarah Field and enjoyed meeting and getting to know their two adorable daughters. Caleb and Joel didn't even mind playing with all the girl toys, jumping right in to the princess dress-up play, "glass slippers", princess skirts, aprons and all! We also enjoyed lunch with Kelly Keiper the following day, getting a chance to catch up on the last few years of her life and meet her beau.
We finally returned home physically tired, but emotionally charged up after so many fun encounters with people who have meant so much to us over the years. The Lord be praised for His goodness to us. It is hard to say goodbye, but we can't complain to much...we are rich to know and have known so many quality people! And to have this opportunity to go back and make contact with some of them again, even if it's just a short "hello" is a real treasure. Thank you all for the important roles you play in our lives! We love you all!
It's late and this is long. I'll try and write up a summary of our trip to Ontario tomorrow.:)

No comments:

Post a Comment