Monday, March 24, 2014

A Needed Break from the Traveling

We have been at Lake Park in Lewisville since March 8th.  We have enjoyed a break from the constant travels.  Being in one location longer than a week is truly a blessing.  With different life styles, blessings come in different packages.  Little conveniences mean so much.  Never underestimate having a warm place to sleep or a hot shower.  As we walked in the park yesterday on a cold, windy afternoon, we saw several tent campers.  They are not homeless people; they chose to come and pay to camp in tents.  It made me very thankful that I have a warm RV.   

I know I am much more sensitive to these things than most people. 

I am like the man that was robbed.  When the police came, he told them how blessed he was.  They said, “How can you feel so blessed?   Your house was broken into and you were robbed of many possessions.”  The man said he was blessed for many reasons.  He was not harmed.  They could have broken in and beaten him.  He could be lying in a hospital or the morgue.  He said everything that was stolen would be paid for by the insurance company and he was just glad he was not the person that did the robbing.  Otherwise, he would be facing a prison sentence.  So, you see, we can find blessings in things we do not even count as blessings if we will just look for the best side of everything.   Often tragedies and misfortunes set up back for a little while but make us stronger in the long run.   Our travels and work is not easy but I really try hard to find all the treasures in whatever happens. 
When we left China on December 14th, it was already cold and the little children’s hands were cold to the touch.  I kept a warm coat on all day as we visited the care centers.  You can see from this picture of Ron with Ronald and Gigi, that we were wearing coats. 
In the back of my mind I thought that these children would be cold every day and night until spring came.  I always dread the winter months for the children and poor people. 

 It’s too cold for them to take clothes off for a shower.  Even though there are solar panels at the care centers to warm the water, there is no heat in any of the buildings.  They sleep under warm comforters (in their clothes), get up and go to a cold school the next morning.  It is somewhat comforting to know that they have warm clothing and warm bedding, which is much more than they had when living in the countryside.  This is Gigi with some of the pretty girls. 
Here's our picture on our 56th anniversary.  I don't know why Ron's grey shirt looks this way but guess it was the lighting.  The shirt didn't have stripe!    We had a delightful dinner at Red Lobster with Nancy and Millard Smith, our good friends who live on a big ranch in Sanger, TX.  We parked our RV at their place during our last trip to China.   This past weekend, we enjoyed dinner with Cloyce and Teresa Titus, another couple at Lewisville. 
This past Saturday morning, we went to Sanger to the Smith’s house for Ron to help Millard with an electrical problem in connection with his carpentry shop.  They wanted to take us to a fish place for lunch.  Huck’s is famous in North Texas, serving Mississippi catfish.  Ron and I had no idea it was about an hour’s drive north, almost to the Oklahoma line.  We arrived there at 1:30 and there was a crowd waiting for a table.  After 30 minutes we were at a table but when we left the restaurant, there was still a crowd waiting to be seated.  That’s how famous this restaurant is and how good it is.  We arrived back at the Miller’s home and enjoyed coffee and a delicious apple cake that Nancy had made early that morning. 
Arriving back at the RV about 5:30 p.m., we found that we had an electrical problem with the RV.  Something appeared to be shorting out and the red warming light was coming on.  Ron spent the next few hours, checking the manual and everything he knew.   It appeared to be a faulty inverter switch (whatever that means).  I know nothing about electrical and mechanical stuff. 
We ended up just closing down everything electrical and going to bed Saturday night.  He turned it back on long enough to get ready for church Sunday morning, but there was still a problem.  The only thing he found as he tried to diagnose the problem was low water in batteries so he bought distilled water and filled them up.  It didn’t seem logical that this would cause the system to do this but he could not identify anything else.   We don’t know how people own these vehicles when they know much less than he knows about these things.   I guess they have to call someone for everything and pay the cost for repairs.
We still had a problem this Monday morning so we are sitting at this moment at an RV service place while they check the system out.   Ron may have found the problem with the batteries needing water.  We didn’t expect that to correct the problem but driving over here to the RV place recharged the batteries and it appears to be working perfectly right now.   We are happy that it isn’t a major problem so maybe it won’t cost us an arm and a leg!   It’s like going to the doctor and symptoms are better by the time you get there and you are told no surgery is needed. 
With an RV, no matter how perfect it may seem when we leave the last service place, there are always things going bad.   It’s like a car or anything else that is mechanical.  Even houses have electrical or plumbing problems so there’s no escape for very long until there are costly repairs to be done.
We have a busy week ahead of us.  Ron is preparing lessons for the second weekend in April at Harding University.  He is schedule to speak five times to different groups that weekend.  The next weekend (Easter weekend) he is conducting a leadership workshop for a Chinese group at the University of Mississippi (Oxford, MS, my hometown).  He is also working on that series of lessons and power point presentations.   He will be at Berry’s Chapel in Nashville, TN the middle of May for a special event.  We will continue to give an annual report to congregations along the way in Tennessee and Kentucky during the early summer months. 
Ron has completed our income tax returns and got them filed.  He also completes Ronald’s returns, even though he does not receive income in the U.S.  He told Ronald in an email that he had completed it but unfortunately he was going to have to pay this year because of Michelle Obama’s $12,000 dress and her trip to China.  He told Ronald he could meet her in China if he wanted to.  There was NO REPLY to Ron’s emails.  I expected Ronald to write me asking, “Has Dad completely lost his mind?” 
Ronald’s health has improved greatly but he’s been house-bound for almost two months.  By the time they changed his blood pressure medication and his feet and legs stopped swelling, he sprained his ankle.   Gigi’s father died so the past month has been very hard for all of her family. 
Ronald made a trip to another island to check with a local preacher of the church that has land to build a church building in hopes there might be enough space for an orphanage as well.  His lot is in a triangle so it’s not feasible for both buildings.   Ronald did not feel that he could work with the preacher to combine the two efforts.  He felt the preacher was a little overbearing and we know the church that supports him from the U.S. is also a very liberal congregation.  So, Ronald continues to search for the right place to build an orphanage as we continue to pursue funding for the project.
Here is the small house Ronald and Gigi rented. 
They have a garden growing well.  I think Gigi has been diligent to weed and water it due to Ronald’s limitations to get out with his swollen ankle and foot.   We continue to seek funding for them to build an orphanage in the Philippines.  They will do a great job there helping a lot of the little children without families and home due to the typhoon that occurred about six months (or less) ago.  There are more orphans now it the Philippines than there are in China, according to reports.

Judy Yang, one of the Chinese girls that worked with us in Georgia, will arrive March 30th to spend five days with us.  We are very excited about her visit for several reasons.  She wants to come back to work with us in the U.S. and the elders have approved her re-employment.  She and Ron will spend several days working on the paperwork to re-apply for the R1 VISA so she can work for us again. 
Judy did our bookkeeping for several years and did a great job.  The Chinese girl that now coordinates the children coming for surgeries in the U.S. tried to do the bookkeeping but she does not understand accounting procedures enough to do it well.  Ron has tried two different CPA’s and they struggle with our books because of the Chinese on the expense slips and reports coming to back up the funds transferred to China for the care centers.  We just have to employ a Chinese person to do it correctly so Judy will assume that job again when she returns.   She will live in Lewisville and be a member of the Lewisville C of C.  We look forward to working with her again. 
We have been busy transferring the incorporation of our 501 © 3 non-profit corporation from Tennessee (where it was first formed) to Texas.  Ron and I worked on the Bylaws and incorporation papers one day last week.  It’s in the hands of an attorney now for review.  With it being a Texas corporation, we will not undergo an audit every year which will be a great blessing to our work. 
Being with members at Lewisville and getting to sit in wonderful Bible classes has been very uplifting to Ron and me.  We will enjoy a few more times with everyone before we head east.  People encourage us everywhere we go and it’s truly a blessing to be with God’s people and get to know so many wonderful Christians. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Traveling in South Texas

This one should have come before the last one.  I wrote it but didn't have enough internet to post it and add pictures.  

This is about the traveling in January (January 4th – February 4th).  During the week days, we are on our computers all day (Ron is also on his for several more hours every night).  I have completed about 300 tax letters for sponsors’ donations in 2013 in addition to answering emails and helping with some reports on the orphans.   We never have any real “free” time.

We have been moving a lot since we headed south from Boles Children’s Home on January 4th.  We were in the Houston area for a couple of weeks visiting churches and individual supporters in that area.  We went to churches:   Westbury (both English and Chinese services), Champions, Tom Ball, Memorial Road, Jersey Village and Stafford.   We parked in the back of the church at Stafford.  They were so gracious and helpful, leaving a back door open for us to use the facilities in the building.  Since our power amps were limited, one morning I took my coffee pot inside the building to the kitchen and plugged it in.  I was wandering around in the fellowship hall and saw a car out the window (looking through the blinds).  I thought the secretary or someone had pulled in to come in the front door.  I had not combed my hair so I quickly ran my fingers through my hair trying to make it look decent.  I thought it was taking too long for someone to come in so I peeked out the blinds more carefully and realized it was OUR car parked there.  Oh the joys of being senile!
It was great to visit in the home of David Fang and his wife in Houston.  David is now the minister for the Chinese congregation at Westbury C of C.  David used to work for us in China before he came to Bear Valley to attend their school of preaching.  David’s sweet wife prepared a very delicious Chinese dinner for us.  He has a precious little daughter and son and they are adjusting O.K. to life in Texas.   We also had a good meal with the Chinese congregation at Westbury the day Ron gave them a report on the work.  It was good to meet some of their members. 

We also got to see Mary and David George at Tomball.  We knew them in the congregation in Montreal, Quebec but had not seen them for 20 or more years.  It was great to have lunch with them and catch up on their lives and their daughters’ lives now.   We also enjoyed a great time with Carole Booker, our Westbury teacher that goes to China almost every summer to help with our work.  This past summer, she went to the hospital in Wadian and began setting up the pharmacy.  We had dinner one night before Wednesday night service with Woodie Williamson who has generously supported our work for many years.

I am reluctant to mention all of the people we meet along the way for fear I will leave someone out.  We love meeting friends and supporters so much.  Being on the road all the time, we soak up these friendships and enjoy a little social life with wonderful people such as these. 

We spent about three days parked in the driveway of the churches in Alvin and Angleton.  Both congregations received us with wonderful hospitality and we enjoyed getting to know more people at Alvin this year.  We had never been to Angleton before but it turned out to be a joyful visit.  We made good friends with the minister and his wife (he’s also one of the elders).  They had us for dinner one night.  I attended the ladies’ Bible class one morning and went out to lunch with the ladies and enjoyed it so much.

When  we left Angleton, we drove to Bay City and parked in the minister’s driveway.  Each year we go to Bay City, we really enjoy our time with Larry and Mary Ann Macomber.   They are so much fun to be with.  We enjoyed a good dinner at their house and again with them and another couple after the service on Sunday.  Mary Ann is an animal lover so it’s like being at a petting zoo.  They have three dogs, three cats and two ducks.   It was interesting to see all of the animals interact with each other.  We left their home that Sunday afternoon and drove to Port Lavaca.

It was our first visit to Port Lavaca.  There are always fewer people at the Sunday night service but the ones we met were so friendly and welcoming.   We stayed in their parking lot overnight.  
The next morning, we left to drive on to Port Aransas.  We arrived about noon but coming through Aransas Pass, the small town before we cross the ferry to the island, we were driving down a narrow street and a tree limb hit the RV on the passenger side.   It is difficult to judge the distance of tree limbs and the top of the RV.  Neither Ron nor I saw this limb.  He thinks it must have been a huge limb that had been cut and leaves had grown over it to make it less visible.  We said we were going to drive back by and see it again to understand why we did not see it.   It caused a big thud so I knew there was damage to the RV.  Almost immediately we saw the canopy dangling on the right side of the RV. 

Ron was in the right lane so he turned at the next stop and pulled over into a large paved area.  The limb had damaged the housing on the canopy and made it fall.  A drunk man (homeless man we found out later when he came back by the second time) stopped to help but Ron told him we really didn’t need his help.  He walked on off.   I tried to help Ron hold the canopy so he could pull it back up and tie it down but it was too heavy for me and I could not reach high enough.  I was too afraid to get up on a ladder and try it. 
Very soon a man stopped to help.  He said he lived on the island and was retired. He called his wife and told her he would be there helping us for a while.  He owned an RV like ours and knew what to do to help.  He went back home and got a saw to cut the bar that was bent so badly it would not let the arm go back up so the canopy could be pulled back up and tied down.  He got on a ladder to push it up while Ron got on top with a rope and tied it off.  
Of course, he would not let us pay him for his help.   He said he would appreciate anyone stopping to help him when he has trouble so he was more than happy to help us. 
We were able to drive on to the Tropical Island RV Park on Port Aransas.  The Geico adjuster came yesterday.  We will get it repaired at Iron Horse RV Repair Service in San Antonio when we get there.   Our deductible is $1,000 so that tree limb was expensive!  It will cost over $4,000 to get it repaired.  Ron will go up on top and secure it even more for the drive to San Antonio to be sure it stays until we  get there. 

Usually, this Tropical Island Park is full of campers but there are lots of empty spaces this year.  Yes, it’s been a cold winter all the way to the Gulf but I don’t know where else they could go for the winter.  The Rio Grande Valley is a little further south but these cold fronts have reached the entire distance to Mexico this year.   The weather has been raw this entire month.   It’s been very windy and cold.  Even when the sun is out (which isn’t but a day or two every week), the wind will cut you into.   Our RV is rocking today from the strong wind.  Sometimes at night we have to pull one of the sliders in to cut down the noise so we can sleep.  There’s a little canvas strip over the top of each slider and the wind whips it and makes a lot of noise.   People in the Corpus Christi area tell us it’s been the coldest winter they can ever remember.   No one is out walking or enjoying the island.  I heard the weather man say today that the entire nation is as cold as two ex-wives.
Our daughter, Leigh Ann, attended a Charity Fair at Jackson Healthcare on the day of the snow storm in Atlanta.  She got caught in the traffic going 9 miles back home.  After eight hours of sitting in traffic jams, she was still not close to home.  She phoned her neighbor and they told her of friends along the way that she could stay with.  She ended up staying with a family she did not know overnight and until noon the next day.  She was very grateful for good people (a doctor and his family) that took her in.  Many spent the entire night in their cars.  It was a horrible situation for many people in Atlanta that night.

After we complete our visits to churches in Rockport, Ingleside, Corpus Christi, Portland, Weber Road and Alice, we will go to San Antonio.   We will leave here on Sunday afternoon, February 16th.   We will not drive on down into the Rio Grande Valley as we usually do because of more pressing appointments in middle Texas cities. 

We spent some time with Gerald and Phyllis Lee is Portland.  What a joy it is to be with them.  They treated us to dinner out twice and had us come to their house one cold Saturday afternoon.  Phyllis cooked a delicious salmon lunch for us and we made fudge later that afternoon.  They took us for a drive around their neighborhood.  Their house is on the waterfront.  Gerald built the house and it's very lovely with a view of the water.   I wish I had taken pictures but it was a very grey day.  They own Century 21 in Portland and are still oversee that thriving business. 

We enjoy seeing the many oil refineries along the way.  They stretch on for miles and miles.  At night, they light up like Christmas lights and are beautiful for a long distance.  This one is Citgo, owned by Venezuela.   As we drive, we see beautiful sunsets and interesting plants and landscapes that are unique to southern Texas.

We had a delightful Sunday with Jamie and Mickey (also David and Charlene) at Bent Tree in Rockport.  They prepared a wonderful lunch for us.  We also had dinner with Ann and Gary (minister and his wife at Ingleside) on Monday night.   After a couple of years’ visit, we are developing some wonderful friendships as we travel which brings a lot of joy to our personal lives.

When we return to the Lewisville area Ron will work out of there to visit some of the congregations not too far away.  We have many churches we still need to visit in TX.   Ron said yesterday:  “Texas is a big state!”   Well, duh!   Everything out here is bigger!   We have not been out to the Abilene area in years and there are so many churches we could contact in Midland, Odessa and other cities west of Dallas.  The potential for informing churches and getting others involved in the work in China is endless.  While Ron continues to add some churches in TX and Oklahoma, Mike Gifford who is our newly hired CEO, will be calling on churches in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida that have never been contacted. 

Many missionaries have left foreign works due to lack of support.  With the economy, churches are very careful to evaluate each mission work.  Some have lost their missionaries and are actually looking for other good works to support.  We don’t ask for support but Ron gives a report and many of the elders and members ask what we need and how they can help. 
The hospital in Wadian, China, is nearing completion to open its doors to the public.  When we visited the hospital in December, it was obvious from meeting the land developer, the official from the health department and other government officials that it would be virtually impossible for us (Americans) to get a license to operate the hospital.    We were told from the beginning that it would not be a problem but it turned out to be a huge problem.   After a lot of negotiation, Julia Ng, our new worker who lives in Hong Kong, has worked out a contract for Dr. Joshua and Tony, another Christian man (minister in Shanghai) to operate the hospital and get the license.   Tony’s wife, who just retired from a large firm in Shanghai, will be the administrator of the hospital.  Dr. Joshua will be the chief surgeon and physician.  They will hire whatever additional staff is required by the Department of Health.  The contract (approved by our attorney in Beijing) states that they will treat all the poor children in the area (and any from our orphanages that we can send there) free of charge.  They will also give free medical care to expectant mothers and deliver their babies.  They can do cleft palate/cleft lip surgeries at this hospital but will not have the expensive equipment for heart surgeries.  Heart patients will be referred to us for surgeries in the U.S. or other hospitals in China. 

The land developer was very pleased with this contractual agreement.  He and Dr. Joshua grew up together.  He gave the land for the hospital site so he had a big say in what we do there.  He is building a town from a village.  He hopes to have a 30,000 town in a few years.  Condos and high rise apartment buildings are going up everywhere.  He agreed to give us two of the condos to use for an orphanage.  We looked at one unit almost completed while we were there in December.  We will be able to put a door (or maybe one on each floor) between the units to house about 50 children with one set of house parents.  These units are three floors with three bedrooms on the top two floors.  The master bedroom, living room, kitchen and bath are on the first floor.  In the second unit, I can visualize the large master bedroom to be used for a lot of children in bulk beds.  We may have to add an additional bath to accommodate 50 children.   Mr. Zhu’s wife will stay there as the house parent until we are able to find a couple.   Mr. Zhu has already identified about 35 orphans that can move into the Wadian units as soon as they are ready for occupancy.  The churches in the Red Boiling Springs, TN area may be combining efforts to support all of these children.  Jerry Cherry, one of our sponsors is looking into that possibility.  
Mr. Zhu will relocate to be the director of Wesley’s House in Pingguo.  John Xue has resigned his job there and will be leaving soon.  Mr. Zhu will meet with government officials in Pingguo to see if we can use the rest of the old school building for orphans.  We have a portion of the building already and now that the new school is completed, a large portion of the building is empty.  There was a fight between the Department of Education and the local police because they want to use part of the building for a police station.  That would not be good on our campus with cars coming in and out all the time so we are hoping the Education Department will win the fight and give us the rest of the building.  We will remodel the rest of the building and add restrooms and enlarge our occupancy in this location to over 200 children.   We will consider this as the new location to replace the North Canton Christian Care Center that we closed last year. 

With Julia Ng taking over the oversight of the care centers and the hospital, our son, Ronald, has now moved to the Philippines.  He and Gigi have rented a small house for the time being.  They are visiting two other islands to meet missionaries that have land available for orphanages.  They will check into the requirements to obtain a license.  They hope to find a location to build an orphanage in the near future.   Ronald had a bout with pneumonia the last two weeks he was in China but he’s overcome the illness and is feeling well now.  We are so grateful for his recovery and for those that assisted him in China to get treatment for him. 
It is Chinese New Year in China so the children are visiting relatives for their winter vacation.  The spring semester will begin by the first of March and all will be returning for another session of study.  We are always thankful when the children come back safely to the care centers.  There are always a number of firework injuries each year in China during the Spring Festival. 

Please keep Ron and me in your prayers for safe travels and good health.  Also, remember our work, the children and workers.  Thanks to so many of you who encourage us and help us in so many ways.



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Winter and March 2nd, coldest day of all

Our travels in January and February have taken us south to Houston, Bay City, Port Aransas, Corpus Christi, Ingleside, Portland, San Antonio, Hamilton, and we are now in Abilene, TX.   We plan each year's reports for sponsors so we can be in the warmer areas during the coldest winter months.  It did not help very much this year.   Weather was pleasant in Houston in December but in January it was quite cold in Port Aransas and Corpus Christi.  

Crossing the ferry to camp at Port Aransas Tropical Island RV park.  (first picture).
Campers stayed inside most of the time.  They would go walk their dogs and go back inside their trailers.  The wind was strong and the temperature too cold to enjoy the outside.  We did not get to go walking a single day we were there.  

We spent a week at Iron Horse in San Antonio having repairs done on the RV which is a yearly chore.  We visited individuals and churches in each of these cities and enjoyed our friendships that bring us to these areas only once a year.

We had a delightful weekend in Hamilton, TX and then arrived in Abilene a week ago.  We parked the RV at Abilene State Park for two days and nights but we could not access our internet from the park.  We drove about 20 miles to the nearest library to work.  We relocated to the back parking lot at Oldham Lane Church of Christ in Abilene and have been here a week on Wednesday.   We had a couple of warm days and then the north pole moved south.

Sunday morning we found the car covered in a thick layer of ice.  Drizzle had frozen on the mirrors to the point we could not even scape it off.  Deicer did not work because the temperature was so cold.  An 18 mph wind hit us all day with temperatures dropping throughout the day.  There was sleet on the grass and trees but the strong wind blew it off of the highways.  We drove about 40 minutes to Merkel, TX and had a wonderful morning and lunch at their museum's BBQ with one of their members.  The museum was celebrating Texas's Independence Day.   The MC said when he got up he thought it was going to be a disaster fund-raiser but it turned out so well they ran close on having enough food.  Sunday night we went to Oakland C of C and returned to the RV to dig in for a winter night. 

Ron worked hard to insulate the door and front area where it gets so cold with the large windshield.  We brought the slides in because the wind was so strong it was making noise like a freight train coming.  We did not have much room but we packed on the cover and went to bed.   We set the heat but it must have run all night even on low thermostat settings.  We slept warmly and woke up to 11 degrees and 18 mph winds.  We cooked little on Monday and worked in cramped quarters but we stayed warm. 

This morning it was 22 and now at noon it's in the 50's.   What a change a day can make.  Everyone says in TX, if you do not like the weather, just wait a day or two and it will change.   That is so true!  It can be 80 (last Saturday) and 25 (Sunday) the next day.   We have proof of it this past weekend.  We are still very blessed because most of our nation is still under a deep freeze with much snow and ice today.  We are coasting toward warm days the rest of this week. 

On Friday, we leave for Lewisville, TX (our home base).  We will go to Groesbeck Sunday morning and Garland Sunday night so it will be a long day for us.  We will be at Lake Park for almost a month (during the winter, they let campers stay 30 days).   We will attend Lewisville C of C a few times but we will travel to report to other congregations around the area by car whenever Ron can get appointments. 

Judy Yang, who worked with us for at least four years in Georgia, is coming to the U.S. from Shanghai.  She had 5 days free after her business trip so she's flying into Dallas to stay with us.  We are very excited to see her.  It's been at least three years (maybe 4) since she left to return to Shanghai.  Leigh Ann met her for dinner at a restaurant in Shanghai when she went to China in September, 2013.

We did not go all the way to the Rio Grande Valley this year.  We are going to have to schedule some churches to get a report every two years.  We just cannot make all of the rounds each year.  We know many of them will understand and maybe not even care, although some insist that we come every year.

Ron has five times scheduled to speak in Searcy, AR early in April.  We will be on our way to Oxford, MS where he will give a weekend leadership seminar to the Chinese congregation on Easter weekend.  

We have been well - not even a cold this past year.   In December, while in China, we did have a runny nose for several days due to the pollution (we think).  Last week, we have our two-year check up in Hamilton but expect our blood test to be O.K.

We were in shock to get the news from Ronald first (and then over our networks) about terrorists attacking people at the train station in Kunming and killing a lot of people and many other were injured.  I read that 10 people (including at least one woman) all dressed in black arrived at the ticket had a bag that he opened that contained all of the long-bladed knives.  Each of the 10 got a knife and began slashing people.  The police were able to kill four of the attackers and arrested one.  The other five got away.  I also see headlines on the internet that bombs were set off at an elementary school in Guilin and another one not far from a school in Guangzhou.   These are muslin terrorists that live at least 1000 miles toward Tibet.   They have been in this region for hundreds of years but usually are not violent.  In the past, they have only attacked government facilities but now it seems they are going after crowds of innocent people and maybe even school children.   It will affect tourism in China.  We have never felt any fear whatsoever in China.  No one has guns and no one every threatens us or appears suspicious.   They are warning tourist and residents to be aware of their surroundings and report anything that does not seem normal.   I guess China security will have to increase now to watch train and bus stations as well as airports and other facilities where a large number of people might be gathered.  

I look forward to posting more regularly in the months to come when we are not so pushed for time and I have more internet access.   Thanks to friends and family for following our travels and keeping us in prayers. 

Some pictures near Corpus Christi
Sunset heading out of Corpus Christi toward Alice, TX

Here's one of many oil refineries around TX. 
This one is right outside of Corpus Christi, TX