Friday, September 20, 2013

A Rainy Night in Florence, Alabama

I posted some pictures last time of the antique barn where we were parked in Spring Hill, TN.   The barn is a museum of old farm equipment that goes back to the 1800’s when the Rippavilla Plantation was in operation.  I wanted to post this antique hearse that is in that museum.  I have never seen anything like this.  I think you’ll find it interesting.   I hope you don't think this is too morbid for me to start off my blog with these pictures.
After a long and frustrating day today, the gentle raindrops on the roof of the RV are actually very soothing.  I began the day on the computer to try to catch up a lot of backlog of work.  I took a few breaks, doing laundry and dishes.  There were interruptions the rest of the day.  My printer needed ink and when I opened a new packet, the black cartridge was not the right size even though it was the correct number for the printer.  So, I scrapped the projects that needed to be printed. 
We have found the most difficult part of our traveling is getting the car on the trailer and securing it for travel.  We always have to unhitch the trailer and move it to an out-of-the-way place.   Ron decided to trade in the Honda because it cannot be pulled with all four wheels down.  We spent all day last Saturday looking for a used car that would work with a hitch.  The very last place we went after a long day, had a 2009 Nissan Versa that was perfect.  We got $48 back from trading in the 2009 Honda (but the Honda had 20,000 more miles than the Nissan). 

I have not driven a stick shift in a few years but I picked up easily with this little car that has 6 speeds.  It was a bit weird to go into so many different shifts but I made it without going into the wrong gear.  It's very obvious when you do that if you've ever driven a straight shift car. 
Yesterday, we took the car to a place to get the hitch put on and today in the middle of my work, they called to bring the RV in.  So, we put things away securely and spent two hours completing the project but now we can pull the little Nissan more safely than putting the Honda on a dolly.  
On Monday, we drove to Red Bay, AL (about one hour south of Florence) to have a few necessary things repaired on the RV.   We expected to be there most of the week because they are always so busy.  Ron had me drive the Nissan (without the hitch on it) so we’d have a car to come back to Muscle Shoals for the Wednesday night service.   We were fortunate to get the work done on the RV Tuesday which allowed us the opportunity to come back to our friend’s back yard on Wednesday morning.

We’ve been parked here a week at the beautiful home of Jan and B.J. Kennedy.  Their lovely home is on a hillside overlooking the river. We hear barges going up and down the river but the RV is parked in the backyard, away from the beautiful view. 

We have enjoyed being with our friends so much.   

Jan Kennedy, (me) and Polly Alexander in the picture above.

Martha Cagle, (me) and Helen Miles in the second picture. 

On Friday of last week, these four beautiful ladies (my dearest friends from the 1960’s, when we lived in Florence) took me to lunch.  We had such a good time catching up.  You know you have close friends when you can go long periods of time apart and then when you see each other again, you have so much in common and much to tell each other.  We pick up right where we left off the last time we met.  I look forward to the trip through Florence each year.
Ron spoke at three churches in this area.   Yesterday, we took a break and visited with Bill, Barbara and Marla Wynne.  They lived down the street from us from 1966 to 1969.  Talking with them brought back many wonderful memories of those years when our children were small and playing together.  We also had a delightful visit with Mary Alice and Jack Wilhelm, friends for many years. 
We leave tomorrow, Saturday, September 21, to go to Huntsville.  We are supposed to park at Red Stone Arsenal if it works out with our sponsor for staying there.  We look forward to seeing more good friends in Huntsville this weekend. 

Leigh Ann and Ellen Mao made a happy  trip to China.  Leigh Ann got back to Georgia Monday night.  She got to spend about a week with Ronald and Gigi.  She and Gigi had not met so it was a treat for both of them.  They enjoyed some meals out together and had rooms across the hall from each other at the hotel.  After Leigh Ann left for Shanghai, Gigi wrote and said, “I miss her already but I pretend that she’s still here and will knock on our door any minute now.”   (In this first picture, Ellen is on the left, then Leigh Ann and Gigi. ) 

Ronald and Gigi have just arrived in Tanjay, Philippines.   Gigi’s VISA was up again so she had to go back.  Ronald’s yearly VISA will expire in October.  From the Philippines, he’ll send it to Leigh Ann by FedEx and apply for another VISA for China.  Their second anniversary is on September 24th so they will have a few days together to celebrate this happy occasion.  They have been apart almost as much as they’ve been together these two years.  Going in and out of China on VISA’s is not an easy task. 
Ron and I will have to find our passports and get a VISA soon.  It looks like we will need to make a trip to China the last two weeks of November.  We complete our travels, reporting to churches, by the middle of November.  We closed one orphanage where the buildings were too old to repair and with the government picking up the support for the children we have cared for at that location.   We have a sponsor willing to fund another one to replace the NCCC care center but we have no one that can really search out a new location and negotiate with the government.  It’s important to be sure we locate where there is government cooperation.  We also have to be sure there are enough poor orphaned children that need a home as well as finding a building that is sound enough and economically feasible to renovate.  Ron is about the only person that can handle this entire project and finalize the selection of a location.
We need to go to China before winter sets in.  November will be cool but not bad.  January and February, like in the U.S., are the really cold months.
Thanks to everyone for your interest in our work, your love and concern for us and the many ways you encourage and help us.  We have been so blessed with many good people willing to help us.  It’s a team effort.  We could not accomplish all of this without our supporters and without God’s blessings.
Until I can write again, take care and thank you!



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