Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kentucky travels

June has been a good month for us but not a tremendously profitable one.  We are on our yearly reporting trip to churches that already support the work.  Ron tries to fit in some new churches along the way to give reports to inform others about what is happening in China.  Summer is not a good time to get appointments because many churches are scheduling summer speakers, having VBS and other activities.   It takes the second’s year visit for most churches to really get interested.  By the second or third visit, we are no longer strangers and the congregation welcomes us much more openly.
We parked at Crowley’s Ridge College in Paragould, AR for about a week.  A couple parked nearby was from Yuma, Arizona.  It was a quiet place and we enjoyed a good visit with Liberty Hill, a congregation that has supported us for many years. We drove on Wednesday night to Jonesboro, AR and had a good visit.  From Paragould, we drove to Troy, TN and spent a wonderful weekend with Jimmy and LeEllen Smith.  We parked directly in their driveway and enjoyed a great visit with them; also with Ron and Jenny from the Troy Church of Christ. We had some wonderful meals and good times there and when the time came to leave on Monday, it was like leaving family members. 

We arrived at the Canal Campground at Grand Rivers, KY on Monday afternoon, June 17th.  


Our friends from Benton, KY were also parked there that week so we had several occasions to get together.

 We visited the Northside congregation in Mayfield on Wednesday night. 

We invited John and Linda Richardson to go to lunch with us on Thursday so we drove to their beautiful home in Mayfield, KY.  Sweet Linda had fixed a delicious lunch for us saying it was easier to talk there than at a restaurant.  That was so true and it was better food too but we didn’t want her to go to the trouble for us.  We stayed with them one weekend a few years ago and fondly remember that good visit.  King, the boy that lived with us for 19 months that came to the U.S. for skin grafts, was with us that weekend, a few years ago. 

On June 22nd, (Ron’s sister’s birthday, we went to Patti’s 1880 Settlement Restaurant in Grand Rivers.  Someone told us last year that when we came back into the area, we needed to be sure to go there.  I asked Rick and Linda Clark, our friends who were also camping at Canal about the restaurant and they highly recommended it.  They went with us and we had a wonderful meal and great time celebrating Ron’s birthday a week early.

On Sunday, we attended Union Hill in Benton, KY (Rick and Linda Clark’s congregation). 
Our reservation was up at Canal on the 24th and we could only find a few days at a nearby campground but nothing was available anywhere through the 4th of July weekend.  Ron has appointments through July 8th so Rick and Linda insisted that we park in their driveway for the duration of our time in this area. 

They had returned home with their camper and said there was still plenty of room so that’s where we are parked now.  We really enjoy being with them but are trying not to be a nuisance. 
Rick and Linda went with us to North Marshall in Calvert City, KY last night.  Linda says we are having dinner at their house Saturday night and then we will drive to Murray, KY to watch fireworks.  That’s Ron’s birthday so he will get to celebrate again. 

We look forward to meeting Donald and Peggy Nims in Glasgow while we are at Bailey’s Point Park for a couple of days after we leave here.  From there, we go to Campbellsville, KY to stay at Smith Ridge from July 11th to July 24th.

Sunday morning, July 14th we will be in Mount Sterling, KY.  We will drive to Nicholasville, just south of Lexington that Sunday afternoon,to visit with our friend, Jocelyne Clark and report to her congregation that night.  Jocelyne is undergoing treatments for breast cancer following surgery a few weeks ago, so we are anxious to see her and give her a hug.  Her birthday is on the 13th so we hope our visit will be encouraging and a joy for her.  It will be for us, no doubt.
There are few lakes and rivers in middle KY so we had trouble finding a park anywhere near Nicholasville.  We will drive back to the park in Campbellsville that night and then the next weekend we have to drive all the way to North Canton, Ohio.   Ron says we will leave the RV in Campbellsville, drive to Cincinnati and spend one night in a motel and drive on in the next day.  We will return part way Sunday night and then on to Campbellsville on Monday, July 22nd.   
We leave Kentucky on July 23rd for Dale Hollow near Nashville, TN.    We will be in the Nashville area about a month. After that, we have many churches in the Columbia, TN area and then churches in Chattanooga and Athens.  
Leigh Ann is going to China with Ellen Mao, a nurse friend of ours from San Jose, CA. 
Leigh Ann DotsonThey planned this trip last year but Leigh Ann cancelled since she was moving into Ronald’s house in June of last year.  I think Ellen is off work from Sept. 5 – 15 so we didn’t want to arrive at Leigh Ann’s house until she’s had time to recover from her trip.  (We will go ahead and visit with churches in North Alabama while she’s in China) and then come back to Woodstock, GA to see her.  Leigh Ann and Ellen are going to visit at Refuge of Grace Christian Care Center in Luxi,China, the orphanage where they both support little girls.  
Ronald needs to repair a water leak in the restrooms at this facility so he says he and Gigi will come back there to do the repairs late August while the children are still visiting relatives for the summer.  Leigh Ann hopes Ronald and Gigi will be there so she can meet and get to know Gigi.   It’s sad that sisters-in-law live on opposite sides of the world and never have had a chance to meet.  Ronald and Gigi will celebrate their second anniversary in September.  Gigi sometimes catches me early in the morning on Facebook.  We chatted a few minutes this morning and it’s always such a joy to get the chance to talk with her.  She said Ronald keeps her laughing and their being together makes living in China bearable.  They have been living out of suitcases and hotel rooms for several months.  Ronald finished the construction on the hospital and then they began visits to the care centers to see what needs to be done at each of them.   They had one train ride that was about 17 hours.  Ron and I were on the train once for that long.  It’s about like the trip going to China to be on an old train that long.  It’s not an easy life when transportation is difficult, especially in a foreign country, the weather is hot and accommodations are below average.  
 A group from Buford, GA went to China for two weeks.  Many teenagers were in the group.  Ten went to John Connor Brown and ten went to Wesley’s House.  Ronald and Gigi were able to go to Wesley’s House for a few days to be with them.  Stan and Connie Burnette were in the group.  Ron and Stan grew up together but I doubt they had seen each other in 30 years.  Stan and Connie have been generous supporters in addition to adopting Addie, a precious little girl that was left at our orphanage when she was born.  Addie has a condition that requires surgery once a year on a joint in her body.  None of her joints moved when she was born.  She went to kindergarten this past year.  She went with them to China and really enjoyed making friends with the Chinese children. 
Connie Burnette (picture above of Addie and Connie in the group going to China) posted on Facebook yesterday that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Even though it’s treatable, the report did not sound good and she’s facing a difficult surgery and treatments for maybe the next year.  I am so glad she made the trip to China before she found out about this problem.  It will consume their lives until she’s well again.  There are so many tests, treatments and follow up visits that it seems there’s no time for anything else. I know she has a lot of family and friends so she will have all the help she needs.  She’ll have lots of prayers, encouragement and support that will be of great benefit.  I don’t know how people face problems in life without this wonderful support system we enjoy with family members (blood relatives as well as brothers and sisters in Christ) that pray for us and help us.

This was a sad week for me because Steve Temple passed away in Brentwood, TN.  Steve was an elder at the Hillsboro congregation.  I worked as church secretary there for a few years while Ron was getting the work started in China.  He was gone long periods of time and I stayed busy with my job at Hillsboro.  I took charge of overseeing things when there was a wedding or funeral to make sure everything was in order at the building.  I spent many weekends working but didn’t mind since Ron was away.  Steve was the elder that I reported to and he was a wonderful boss.  We got along so well.  He was kind, humble and gentle and such a good man.  Everyone loves Mary Ruth too.  She has the same kind of personality so I know they had a wonderful marriage.  I understand that about a year ago they removed l/2 of Steve’s thumb with melanoma but it returned and spread all over his body.  It is a great loss to lose a man so young with many productive years ahead as a good elder of the church.  He will be missed greatly.  His memorial service will be tomorrow, June 28, 2013.  I will remember this each year, a day before Ron’s birthday.  I have only been in contact with Steve on Facebook in recent years, but I will still miss him. 

I tried to post a picture of Steve and Mary Ruth from their Facebook pages but it failed each time. Such a precious couple! 

May God be with you until my urge to post comes up again!

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