Monday, February 6, 2012

January has been a busy month

After the holidays, we traveled to Houston, Orange, Bay City, Corpus Christi, and some surrounding cities from these larger cities.   When I am too busy to write regularly, it all runs together.  We are moving so often, I could not remember where we were without the postings on my calendar.  Things have been going fine without anything very interesting to report.  We report to churches where we were a year ago and when Ron does not have an appointment, we attend some other churches in the area.  It is interesting to meet new people.  We seem to have the ability to go when they are having potluck (or do they just have potluck often anyway?)   It's been our good fortunte to get some very good meals along with our travels.

We arrived in Bay City, south of Houston on January 11th.  We parked the RV at Riverside Park, a city park.
 The next morning, Lily Zhang our worker from China, came into the Houston airport.  Ron met her at the Houston airport and brought her back to the RV to spend 10 days with us.   We have known Lily for several years and she's worked with Agape in several capacities.  She worked as a teacher at the orphanges, a personal translator for us on two trips and at the last cleft palate medical mission.  Recently, she's come to the U.S. to bring children having surgery in the U.S.   People at Nichols Street in Bay City and Sweeny enjoyed meeting her and asking her questions about China. 

While at the Riverside Park, we enjoyed our walks each afternoon.  A tame duck at the boat dock made friends with Lily and she fed it each day we were there.   The first day we arrived, a beautiful male cardinal took a fancy to our mirrors on the RV.  I hung garbage bags over they and tied them tight so they would blow in the breeze but not blow away.  This didn't bother the cardinal at all.  He then decided to play with mirrors on the car.  When they were covered up, he liked the chrome all around the car.  He often flew into the windows around the RV and sat on the window ledge and watched us inside.  It seemed that he wanted to be part of the family but we did everything we could to shoo him away.  He woke us up at daylight each morning, pecking on the windows, as if it was his duty to get us up.

On January 23rd we arrived on Mustang Island (near Corpus Christi).   It is a Texas park right on the strip of land that is also Padre Island.   When outside, we could hear the roar of the ocean.  We took our afternoon walk on the beach.  I was not able to go every day because my dry eye situation got worse even with goggles on.  The wind was very strong so I stayed inside most of the time we were there.

Lily left on the 27th to go to Rochester, MN to the Mayo Clinic to meet a little 13-month old boy arriving from China.  He is an orphan and has severe heart defects.  As I write this, he will be fasting after midnight tonight and having surgery tomorrow.  Lily will be with him until he's well and ready for the flight attendant to take him back to his grandmother.  The boy's father was murdered before he was born.  His mother deserted him (as they usually do when there's a birth defect).  She left to go elsewhere in hopes of marrying again so he was left with a poor grandmother.  She was not able to accompany him to the U.S.

We also had a beautiful little three year old that had successful heart surgery in San Antonio on Friday.  If  you are on Facebook, you can go to Chinese Agape Foundation page and see this beautiful child that just had surgery. 

We visited churches in Corpus Christi, Portland, Port Aransas and Ingleside the past few weeks.  A member of the church at Port Aransas owns an RV park.  He heard Ron's report on the China work and came up afterwards and told Ron to vacate our spot on Mustang Island and come on down to his place for our last week with free parking.  The next morning, we drove there and took his last spot in the RV park.  He has two lots connecting each other with about 150 spaces.  He also has a motel, with pool and laundry room.  It was so nice of him to give us this great accommodation and save us some money.  Yesterday was our first really nice day in Port Aransas. It was foggy and rainy almost all week. After I closed down the computer about 4 p.m. we went for a walk around the town and on to the beach. I guess we walked 5 miles by the time we got back to the RV. I was so tired. We found enough leftovers so I didn't cook. We went to bed fairly early because I didn't sleep well the night before. I didn't sleep well that night either. I was concerned about the ferry crossing, for one thing. I am just too anxious every time we move. People envy us everywhere we go. At Walmart while getting gas, the lady from the little office came out and talked with me about RV's and said her brother is thinking of doing it full time. The RV parks are full everywhere we go. We walked through the one we were staying at (he has two parks side-by side) and about every state was represented except Alaska and Hawaii. People are permanent, for the winter at least. They have plants and stuff outside around their campers like they have settled in to stay. They are close together and hardly have any room between them.

The Corp of Engineer parks are much better space-wise. Ours was free this past week so it was O.K. but there was a lot of noise with people coming and going, talking, walking barking dog, etc.  He charges $45 per night for these spots. They have water, sewage and electricity for that cost. Some actually had electrical meters so they pay their own electricity if they are long-term. It is almost all old people - many look in their 80's but they drive these rigs all the way from Quebec and northern states. If I was going to hang out somewhere full-time, Port Aransas would be a good place but I think property is very expensive there.  It is an exclusive resort area.   You can see houses of all sizes and types, inexpensive to terribly expensive.  Along the waterfront, there were million dollar houses.  Here's three of the choices:

Better than a tent!

Or cute little houses like this...

Or this one?  
We went across the ferry from Port Aransas to Portland one day for me to go to their ladies' Bible class and have lunch with the ladies.  We also crossed by ferry to go to Ingleside our last Wednesday night in this area. 

Saturday morning, February 4th, we woke early and began preparing to leave.  It was foggy but we wanted to be one of the first on the ferry.  We had seen an RV and many campers crossing on the ferry the other times we took it so we knew we could take our rig across and save about an hour's driving.  Walmart also had cheap gas on the other side.   We were the first ones to board the ferry and the worker directed up all the way to the front with only a few feet to spare.  I just about fainted!   

As I already said, I didn't sleep well the night before thinking about this crossing and to face it like this was breathtaking, to say the least.  We took up almost a whole side of the ferry but they loaded the rest of it with cars and trucks and away we went.  It is a short ride but it crossed the channel where barges come though. 

Ferries run all day back and forth, free of charge.   We also passed large tankers coming to cross on the ferry also.  It employs a lot of workers doing this all day and night with several ferries coming and going all the time.

Arriving on the other side:

Waiting to take off:

We drove on to Alice, TX after we got gas at Walmart.  We had a little rain on us but not much until later that night.  We parked at the Alice Church of Christ parking lot.  We knew from last year that we could get close enough to their building to plug in for the night.  We unhooked the car and trailer and left them on the side of the building.  Then the rain began to come down.  We had heavy thunderstorms all night.  Ron said he got up a couple of times to look out to be sure the car was not under water.  He didn't know if it was draining off or rising in the parking lot.   Folks at church the next morning said they got 3" of rain in their gauges.  It was windy and cold but the rain had ended.  After we completed the morning service, we drove 2-l/2 hours down the Rio Grande Valley to Sunny Glen Children's Home.  We parked here last year and they gave us permission to come again.  We give them a donation in lieu of the parking cost somewhere else.  There's an RV park just on the other side of the orphanage property that extends for at least a mile.  It looks like it's completely full.  It would have to hold a minimum of 200 campers. 

It is cloudy and cool here in San Benita (just north of Brownsville).  You can't go further south than Brownsville.  It's practically on the Mexican border.   I expected it to be warmer but the cold front that produced so much rain north of here, pushed this far south.

We will be in this area a couple of weeks.  I hope I'll have time to post more often in the coming weeks.  We will wind up our work here and go to San Antonio next.  We will be back in Dallas to return to China on March 11th.

Thanks for following our adventures.  Please keep us and the work in your prayers.

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