This will really be a quick synopsis of weeks 5 and 6 of our 2015 furlough. I’m sorry that I haven’t taken more time to stay caught up on events as we travel as it is so easy to lose the memories that make each place special. Week 5 took us from my dear Aunt Helen’s house in Reno through some of the most desolate country I’ve ever seen on into Las Vegas. Wow! It is amazing to be able to see 150 or 200 miles in every direction and not see another living soul. I had no idea how remote some of those places in NV and CA were. Mariah got a little bit of drive time in as she gets ready to take her driving test and Benny had plenty of issues with car sickness as we weaved and bobbed over the uneven terrain. Las Vegas was special because of the place that we stayed at. The Bellagio, you ask? Maybe he Oasis? Na, we stayed at a Christian family’s home who, even though they didn’t know us, was kind enough to put a candle in the window and give us travelers rest on our journey. They were a dear family of biological and adopted children who were essentially running their own stripped down version of our children’s home at Loma de Luz. The patriarch was an absolutely joyful man with one of the most generous hearts that you will ever find. The family was just wonderful to be around. The wife was struggling with back issues and yet, was so gracious. We were really blessed to be able to stay with them. We went in that night around 11pm for a very quick tour up and down the strip and a look at the Bellagio fountains and the inside atrium. We enjoyed our time, but were quickly off to Flagstaff the next morning.
We left Las Vegas and took a very brief stop at Hoover dam (a place that I have always wanted to see) and then drove on into Flagstaff. After several consecutive days of driving 250-300 miles per day and then staying with someone, it was a wonderful blessing to have a VRBO home provided for us in Flagstaff to stay in for three days. It was a true oasis of rest for us. One day, our dear friends Greg and Deborah Levine from – CSU College Days – drove all the way up from Tucson to see us. It was just such a blessing to see them after probably 25 years or so. I can honestly say that we picked up right where we left off and just felt so close to them. God is so good and the fellowship of His kingdom has really been evident to us on this trip. The next day we toured the Grand Canyon. Wow. What can you say, except “How Great Though Art”? Benny mentioned several times that he “felt small” at Hoover dam and that he felt “even smaller” at the Grand Canyon. Yep. I agree. After Flagstaff, we were on for an overnight at Albuquerque and a quick, but wonderful overnight with the parents of some friends that had come down to visit us in Honduras. We so enjoyed getting to meet Ben and Emily’s parents as they just took us into their home and blessed us with tons of hospitality. Once again, the KINGDOM is such a beautiful place. One very special treat for me (and for Benny also) was that Ben’s father was an Air Traffic Controller with the FAA for many years. Well, when he found out how fascinated we were with ATC, he arranged a TOUR for us of a ground based control center. Benny and I got to sit with an actual ATC and watch over his shoulder as he worked! It was beyond fascinating for me and I gained a whole new level of respect for the people and the system!
Week 7 will have us in Colorado enjoying family, and home cooked meals, and I’m guessing a few struggles as we cope with a new reality of life after the passing of Marinajo’s father last year. Stay tuned.