From Kansas City, we drove down to Athens, TX, making a quick overnight stop in Tulsa to stay with Don and Donna Millican. We spent a month or two living with them when we were fundraising so it was great to get to visit with them again.
We arrived in Athens on Saturday night and Russ preached the next morning. I took Jackson to the nursery and happily stayed to play with him (by that point I'd heard THE sermon several times). I want to take a moment here to say how much I enjoyed being in the land of church nurseries and cradle roll classes. Jackson loves getting to hang out with other kids and he really loves singing (Our kid loves singing? Go figure!). And Mommy? She enjoys the break! Some of my most precious furlough memories are slipping into the pew next to Russ after making sure Jackson was settled in the nursery and being able to focus solely on worship.
Jackson and his "Tia" Candy
Back to Athens: This time we stayed with Gary and Candy Landis, who took care of us like family. Candy insisted on babysitting for us one night while we went to one of our many dinners. And Gary and Candy live on Cedar Creek Lake so the week was filled with fishing and trips on the Waverunner in just perfect fall weather.
That's not entirely true. The week was filled with eating, eating, eating--we just squeezed in time for the other stuff! It's always the same: when we get to Athens, the sweet folks at Eastern Hills have us over or take us out for meal after meal. I think we both gained a few pounds that week. Not that I'm complaining! There are some awesome cooks at Eastern Hills!
Time on the lake and desserts aside, I have to say what a blessing Eastern Hills is to us. Russ and I spent so long trying to find a church that would oversee our work. We had raised the majority of our funds but still lacked that critical piece of the puzzle. It's quite fitting that this time we stayed at the Millicans right before we went to Athens, because that's where we were living when we heard about this church in the middle of nowhere that was interested in us. At that point, we were happy to have any church willing to sponsor us but even now, we are constantly reminded how blessed we are to have this church. Whenever we are back in Athens, we're reminded how wonderful the members, staff and elders of Eastern Hills are. We spend our time with our family at EH in both deep spiritual conversation and laughter, which is just the way I like it! Every time we visit, we leave marveling at the goodness and faithfulness of our God for providing us with such a great church!
We spent two Sundays in Athens and then got up Monday morning and headed to the Dallas Metroplex for more adventures...