Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday Morning

I like Mondays to be quiet days. For people in full-time ministry, Sunday hardly feels like a day of rest. And when you have a little one, Sunday is especially hard as naps and mealtimes get thrown off. So in many ways, Monday is more of a Sabbath for me than Sunday (or Saturday) is.

At least that's the plan.

This morning, however, JT and I woke up at about 6:45. We played for a bit and then Russ got up. I suggested we head out to our neighborhood delicatessen where they have a great little breakfast spread. Russ needed to take the dog out first, so he ran downstairs and told me to just meet him at the front gate. We got to the gate at the same time and discovered a friend of ours waiting for us. He was in the neighborhood, wanted to say hi and our doorman had told him that Russ usually takes the dog out around then so he had decided to just wait for Russ. He walked with us to the deli and then went on his way. We enjoyed a nice breakfast, picked up some fresh bread and headed home.

When we walked into the apartment, I notice the clock on the microwave said 8:20. "Wow!" I commented. "I feel like we've already done so much today!"

Turns out, it was just the beginning. Soon Antonia came for the day. And the exterminator showed up. And a teammate needing a favor. And the water delivery. And someone called needing Russ to go unlock the church building. And another teammate called with some news. And and and.

By 10:30, my apartment was feeling like Grand Central Station!

So now it's 11 a.m. and I'm desperately hoping that this is not my day of rest. If this is my Sabbath, what will the rest of the week look like?!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Furlough 2008: Back to OK

We definitely took the long way from Athens to Oklahoma City! We spent one night in Frisco with our friends Ron and Georgia Freitas. Ron and Georgia work for Continent of Great Cities--they helped recruit us, train us and have been taking care of us on the field. We seem to have a routine now when we visit them: the boys go for a LONG bike ride and Georgia and I go to Ikea. A perfect day for both of us. We also got to drop by the CGC office and say hi to the rest of the staff. The new office is definitely an upgrade from the old Abilene digs!

From Frisco, we made the long and perilous journey to Denison (okay, so it was neither long nor perilous but I was just trying to jazz things up a bit!) where Basil and Rachel McClure live. Basil was one of the ministers at Mayfair when we lived there so he's been our minister, mentor, coworker, friend and personal chef. Any time we get to spend with them is an incredible blessing. (Well, the one negative aspect is that every time we see them, their boys have grown up so much that we feel incredibly old!)

We rolled into OKC in time for church on Wednesday night and spent a couple of days with the old Mayfair gang. The timing was perfect for Jackson to go to the Fall Carnival. It was so different being on the "mommy-end" of things!

Then we headed back up to Blackwell. We spent a week hanging out with the fam. We took Jackson to the pumpkin patch and then on Halloween, his grandma Debbie got to take him trick-or-treating.

That weekend, Uncle Matt arrived from Delaware. This was our big chance to see him and we used it as an opportunity to take some new Quirey family pictures.

After worshiping with the crew in Blackwell one more time, we went back to OKC to finish up our time. I've got to say, I think we could be in Oklahoma City for our whole furlough and still leave feeling unsatisfied! There are just too many people to see and some very dear people that we just can't get our fill of!

We got to go to Homecoming at Oklahoma Christian on our last weekend. I got to see some of the old Honors Program gang and Jenny and the kids came down from Nebraska to see us one more time. (Jenny, you're still my hero for making that trip alone with three kids!)

Our time on furlough was such a blessing. Furlough is always a mad dash for us and doing it with JT in tow was even more work, but it is always worth it. We love getting to see our friends and family, make new friends, worship with those we love, eat familiar food and enjoy a little down time. Our next furlough will be in 2010 and I'm already looking forward to it!

I did it! I finally finished blogging about furlough! You didn't believe I really would, did you?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Missionary Conference

Getting to the conference was indeed like The Amazing Race. We tried to sleep a little the night we left but I only slept for about twenty minutes. I caught another 20 or so on the flight. We landed in São Paulo at about 6:30 Monday morning and we took off running to catch a 7:00 bus. Well, I took off running to figure out where to catch it while Russ waited for our bags. That bus took us to a bus station where we bought tickets for a bus leaving in 10 minutes. We headed downstairs to the gate but I guess taking the elevator took too long to get down there (JT was in the stroller) because the bus had already left. Fortunately it was easy to get our tickets changed for the next bus which was only an hour later. The extra time gave us a chance to have a little breakfast. At 11:00 we rolled into Itu and found our way to the hotel. (A bit of a challenge, since we weren't able to get a hold of the person who was going to pick us up and we couldn't remember the name of the hotel! Russ tracked it down and we ended up taking a very expensive taxi all of four blocks.) A quick lunch and then it was time for all of us to take a nap. I managed to sleep guessed it: twenty minutes! I left the boys to sleep and wandered around the hotel, enjoying the peace and quiet.

The conference was awesome. Don McLaughlin, the main speaker, did an amazing series on the book of Hebrews. It was so awesome to just get to sit and learn for a change. The women's sessions were taught by Cindy Roper, a communications prof at ACU, and were about intercultural communication. The guys' sessions were taught by Steve Allison and I'm not entirely sure what the official theme was but it had something to do with learning to express their feelings and not be such jerks or something like that. All I know is that for the first time ever, the women's class didn't involve crying and the men's class did!

Itu (pronounced E2) is a cute little town and we had a little time in the afternoon for sightseeing. They're known for having big things so we got some giant souvenirs.

We spent one afternoon at the "Chocolate Farm", a cute little place full of yummy shopping. We picked up some chocolate (duh!) and some salami. The farm part was beautiful and there were lots of animals for Jackson to see.

It's such a blessing to get together with all of our missionary colleagues. We have so many common experiences and we have a lot to learn from each other. But we also have a lot of fun together, which was most evident at the talent show on Thursday night. I'm happy to say that Russ and I won second place with our act, winning a "trophy" of a giant Q-tip (one of those Itu souvenirs!).

I love getting to go to the missionary conference because we get to travel to new parts of the country. But somehow we walked away having volunteered to host the conference in Salvador next year! It'll be a lot of work but I'm looking forward to getting to show off our part of the world!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

On the Road Again!

Didn't we just get home? I swear we just put away the last suitcase last week. But tonight we head out again on another (much shorter) adventure. It's time for the Missionary Conference, held this year in the town Itu, which in the state of Sao Paulo.

We didn't purchase our tickets while we were on furlough and thought we'd be okay buying them when we got back, nearly two months away from the trip. Boy, were we wrong! The only flight available leaves at 3:00 AM!!! We fly to Sao Paulo, take a bus to another airport in another city and then take a bus from there to ANOTHER city. Sometimes life feels like The Amazing Race! Then again, on The Amazing Race they're not dealing with 10-month-olds!

We're spending the rest of today taking turns playing with Jackson and napping. And I guess at some point I need to pack, though I'm not too stressed about it!

It's going to be a long night, we're going to be ridiculously tired and Jackson is probably going to be all cranky when everyone meets him tomorrow but I don't even care. Getting to spend the week in the company of our colleagues, sitting at the feet of our speakers and worshiping in English will be so worth it!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Year-End Video

I wanted to share this video with you that our teammates put together. It's an excellent summary of our year. Well, that's not entirely true--it would be an excellent summary of our year if we were featured in it. Unfortunately, we were on furlough while they were doing the interviews and editing it so you'll just have to look for us in the pictures. (Seriously, there's no hard feelings, but I like giving them grief about it!) Enjoy!