Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

Our family spent Thanksgiving at my sister's house in Midland this year. It was a change from our usual every other year gathering at my parents house. Hutton had football practice on Thursday morning and Lee Ann and Tod really wanted to be home this year, so we headed west.

God provided great food and several inches of snow. It was Emily's first introduction to snow and she loved it! We couldn't get her to come inside. We ate, watched football, saw a movie and had a great snowball fight.

Emily and Rainey had a blast in the snow!

My girls and my brothers girls, The Bailey girls of North Hurst: Rainey, Caitlin, Jordan and Emily.

The three oldest granddaughters: Bailey (in her first year at ACU), Caitlin (Jr. in high school) and Jordan (in her second year at Harding).

My brother preparing to fire. Yes, even Uncle J. (aka Uncle JJ, aka Uncle PJ) got into the fight.

My sister Lee Ann was just taking pictures, but couldn't avoid having to dodge a few snowballs.

Tod after being attacked by his children.

The cousins: Rainey, Hutton, Jordan, Bailey, Caitlin, and Emily and Reagan in front (notice Tod in the background about to nail them with a snowball).

Of course, we missed Connor who would have loved every minute of the weekend. His absence was glaring. The empty space at our table and in our pictures is still difficult to comprehend. As you can see from the pictures, however, we are not destroyed. We shed some tears over the holiday, but we laughed a lot too. We missed him in laughter and tears.

Many of you have told me you were thoughtful and prayerful for our family over the weekend. Words cannot express how much that means to us.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Peru 2007

Now that I've had some time to rest and reconnect with my family, here are some pictures of my wonderful trip to Peru. Olive Branch ministries out of Austin did a fantastic job of organizing this trip. Thank you Scott and Malena!

We set up a clinic in Viviate (medical, dental, eye glasses and pharmacy) and saw over 2300 patients in 5 days. I met with some Christians there and some seekers for three of those days. When I wasn't with them, I had the pleasure of assisting my dad in the dental clinic. The team Olive Branch put together was so much fun to work with. Everyone worked together well and we laughed a lot. I can't imagine how the trip could have been better.

Dad and me with a happy patient.

Three beautiful ladies waiting to see the dentist.
A good example of why foot washing is such a humbling job.

This is not the line to get in at the beginning of the day. This is the line forming for the next day as we are leaving for the night. People waited all night to get in and see a doctor.

I really enjoyed meeting with the small group of Christians in Viviate. I especially enjoyed the singing. They sang songs I was familiar with, so even though it was in Spanish, I could keep up. This is a shot of the worship leader. She did an outstanding job!
Our interpreters were the best! Most of them were college students from Piura where we stayed during the clinic week. These two sisters, Adrianna and Andrea, showed us their neighborhood and took us out to eat one night. They were very smart and funny. Very cool people.

On our last night in Piura we had a dinner with some of the Christians there, our team and our interpreters. The interpreters got together and gave us all "I Love Peru" T-shirts. One of our team doctors (he's also our family doctor) Cody Mihills models his.

Once the clinic week was over, we headed for some R & R in Cusco. Everywhere we went, the Peruvian people proved to be as beautiful as their country.

We saw a lot of llama and alpaca. This woman is hand weaving with alpaca wool. She can weave up to 4 inches in a day. It was amazing to watch. I wish Stephanie had been with me.

I tried some interesting food in Peru. Here I am feeding an alpaca. I felt it was the least I could do considering the fact I had eaten his cousin the llama for dinner the night before.

And yes, I did try the guinea pig. It was a bit gamy for my taste. The Peruvians keep guinea pigs as pets, but do eat them on special occasions.

In Cusco I walked out of the hotel and ran into this guy. He wasn't sure why I was taking his picture, but hey, how often do you run into a die hard Idaho Vandals fan? I thought my in-laws would appreciate this.

I met this mother and child in a market in Cusco. Every child I saw made me miss my girls.

On our next to last day in Peru we went up to Machu Picchu. It was fascinating, spectacular and amazing!

Our guide in Machu Picchu was named Ruben. He was very knowledgeable and understandably proud of his heritage. It was his people who built Machu Picchu.

What a blessing it was to get to make this trip with my dad. This was his 8th trip this year to help hurting people around the world. He is working harder in "retirement" than ever before and loving every minute of it. He embodies the undeniable truth that it is more blessed to give than to receive. I'm proud of him and so thankful that we were able to make this trip together.
I'm sure I'll have more to say about this experience as I have time to process it. I have A LOT more pictures if anyone is interested. Thank you for your prayers while I was away. God truly blessed our trip!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Greetings From Peru

I arrived in Peru early Monday morning, about 20 hours after taking off from DFW. I won`t go into detail here, but I will write more about the trip when I get home next week. I just wanted to say that I am safe and covet your prayers as we work here. The trip was organized by a group out of Austin called Olive Branch Ministries. We have set up a health clinic and I´m meeting with a group of teenagers every morning and assisting my dad in the dental clinic every afternoon.

Here are some quick thoughts: My dad is amazing. I don´t know how he goes on so many trips like this. Seriously, amazing...Teenagers ask universal questions and have universal teenage concerns...We are so spoiled. When we arrive at the clinic each morning, there are long lines of people hoping to get in. When we leave at night, the lines for the next day are already forming. Some wait all night and for hours the next day to see a doctor or dentist...Children can find a way to have fun in any circumstances.

Please pray that things continue to go as smoothly as they have thus far and that my wife can survive another week of single parenthood.