James and Ben are having lots of "firsts" here in the USA.
James is doing cub scouts for the first time,
selling boy scout popcorn for the first time
learning to play the clarinet and is in the 5th grade band.
He's mowing the grass with a reel mower,
playing on a community soccer league,
experiencing cold weather for the first time ever..
Ben is playing American football for the first time,
going to a big high school for the first time,
carving a pumpkin for the first time in his memory,
getting ready for his first homecoming dance, having a job that pays for the first time,
experiencing cold weather for the first time in 12 years - he was five when we moved to the Philippines so life in the USA for him now is almost as new to him as it is to James..
(I don't know why all the pictures turned sideways..will try to get that glitch fixed soon)
Transition is never easy. We've been living in packing mode and out of suitcases since early May - and to be honest its really old now....but thankfully, we are unpacking and settling into a house we recently purchased in the village of Goodrich.
The boys are registered for school and start August 27. They'll be going to Goodrich public school - high school for Ben, grade 11 and Oaktree Elementary for James, grade 5. Ben is playing American football this year and has had two weeks of practice. He's enjoying playing this sport which he hasn't played before.
James is signed up to play soccer which starts the end of August. Both boys are making friends and the lonliness they were experiencing when we first moved is easing up a bit with the increase of friends in the neighborhood and at church.
It is such a blessing to be together again as a family.
We are so thankful for the many items that have been given to us for moving into the house - furniture, friends who helped us move, clothing, dishes.... we are so thankful for God's provision and watchcare.
The minute the wheels of the airplane touched US soil at the Detroit Metro Airport, James was officially a US Citizen!
Immigration went well and we are ALL in the states - in Michigan. Happy to be together as a family again.
Today, May 28, we are leaving the Philippines after being here 11 years, 6 months, and 2 days! What a journey it has been.
Pray for our safe travels and good transitions!
We have emptied our house and moved into a mission guest house for our last few days here in the Philippines.
That made getting rid of refrigerators, furniture, air cons, and household items easier since we were no longer needing to use them.
We've visited Jerard's grave for the last time,
Talked with many to say '"so long"
James is spending lots of time with friends
I've had a last class celebration with my Bible Students. I gave them each a sarong as a symbol of remembering that God is our shelter and covering
I've enjoyed eating a halo-halo
We've been celebrating with friends, writing notes of appreciation, packing
And in 5 days we board a plane to start our journey to the USA. We are so thankful for the 11 years we've been here. It's been life-changing.
The process of leaving has been filled with so many blessings - James' visa approval, being able to get Kurt and James on the same flights Ben and I were already booked on, someone to care for our dog Lacie, the ease with which we obtained James' approval sticker for leaving the country from the Commission of Filipinos Overseas, selling off items, and many graces throughout our days
It's hard to put in words the halo-halo (mix-mix) of thoughts and emotions at this transtition time. But overall, I rest in God's leading and guiding. He is my Abba Father and He is faithful.
I look forward to the journeys God has for us. This journey has been filled with many ups and downs. I am so thankful we've taken this path and I rest in God's continued leading, grace, and love.