Our second weekend in northern PA started with more family time. One of Joel's brothers (he has two) hosted a barbecue for the entire gang (I believe there were 34 of us; Joel is the youngest of 5 and there are 21 grands and 1 great-grand). Asa was thrilled when Uncle Tim threw him in the pool.Uncle Chris, who has spent Christmas with us the past two years, came to visit from CA the same time we were there.The cousins closest in age to our kids are his brother Jeff's triplets. Yep, triplet girls. They are a year older than Rylee (the oldest cousin is in his late 20s--so the range is quite wide). The triplets also have a sister who is just 2 years their senior. (So anytime I thought I was possibly overwhelmed by having twins on the heels of a 21 month old, I would think of my sister-in-law who had triplets on the heels of a 22 month old!)
The triplets were great with our three big kids. They took them down to the creek, were showing them how to play softball, and splashed around with them in the pool. Our kids have talked endlessly about their cousins since we left.Joel's mom and dad. They don't look too thrilled, but I think they were enjoying themselves.Saturday afternoon we had the chance to visit with a few friends and supporters one-on-one. It was great to sit back and relax and just catch up on life.
Ken and Jeanne are sweet friends. Their son, Nate, and Joel were best friends growing up. Joel was best man for Nate in 2000 then Nate came out to Arizona in 2002 to be the best man in our wedding. Old friendships are such treasures!
On Sunday, we shared at Calvary Chapel of the Twin Tiers in Elmira, NY (just a few minutes from Joel's hometown and where he worked as a teenager). Then, we grabbed lunch and headed south to Millersburg. We stayed there with our friends, George and Denise. (I was too busy enjoying the time to take any pictures; but I'm hoping Denise will send me some.)
After a day of fun, we headed slightly south to Harrisburg, where we would spend the next 10 days. We called Harrisburg "home" for 5 years prior to moving to Texas in 2007. Joel had served as the youth pastor at a local church and our hearts are still very connected with our friends and church family there. We also started our family while there; our oldest three were born in Hershey.
We arrived to stay with the Rowell family. We had the pleasure of staying with them during our last support trip to Harrisburg in October 2008. They have four great children, who are now all teenagers. We always have a blast with the Rowell family.
During our first week in Harrisburg we met with supporters one-on-one. We had lunches and dinners planned for every day of the week. We also hosted an ice cream social to thank those faithful friends who have supported us as we serve at GFA.Pastor Ross and Mrs. Nancy blessed the kids with some neat books and magnetic puzzles. They enjoyed having Pastor Ross read to them.We also enjoyed seeing Eric and Holly and their boys. Rylee especially loved their lizard. Eew!!We didn't take any pictures of our time with the Imboden, Brown, Cooke or Derr families. Bummer. We were too busy chatting and enjoying our time. I completely forgot to take pictures! But, when we arrived for dessert at the Lingle house...I remembered! The Lingles have 7 children so our crew got lots of one-on-one attention. They ate it up!
That evening concluded the second week of our trip. I'll have to see if my friend Terri has any pictures from our ice cream social. I, again, was too busy to think about taking pictures. I was enjoying the moment!