When we moved ourselves down south, one of the things we were most excited about was that our dear dear friends, Doug and Kelly, would only be about 4 hours away. I mean, that’s a little far for just a dinner out, but it is close enough for a weekend visit a couple times a year.
And then we remembered, they’ve been called to move out west to plant a church in Utah. And not only were they called to move, but they were called to move in September! It felt like we’d just gotten here, and already our bff’s were leaving…before we’d even seen them.
Nathaniel called Doug on a Tuesday to find out when we could see them, and on Thursday we packed up our clothes, our son, and his favorite Curious George stuffed animal, and headed south west towards Demopolis, Alabama (a 7,000 person town). We always seem to stay with them when they have a two week old daughter, but Kelly is a gracious host, and an even more gracious post-partum lady, and allowed three more people to crash their house, while it was on the market, while they were adjusting to their 4th newborn, oh, and while they were trying to pack up all their worldly goods. Gracious, I tell ya.
Our time together was wonderful and comfortable, and filled with laughing and sweet communion. Since both of our lives revolve around children, it made outings, not easy, but easy, and not relaxed, but relaxed at the same time.
One of the most fun parts about visiting Demopolis is the other people we get to see. The church there has sent two missions teams our way. The first one was a trip to Huanta in 2006 (where one of the team members met and married one of Nathaniel’s cousins), and the second was weeks before Jeremiah was born in the summer of 2009, when they came over to Escondido to help run the VBS at our Hispanic church. So, we know and love many of the people there, and had a sweet reunion with them. In fact, for much of the weekend we didn’t pay for any of our meals because we had invitation after invitation from dear people to take us out for a meal. It was lovely.
So, we were excited when the church asked Nathaniel to speak on Sunday night, and Nathaniel prepared his message. Doug sort of led him to believe that he would be preaching, whereas the church more had the vision of a missions presentation. Of course, Nathaniel didn’t realize the church’s vision until he had been introduced by the pastor. The church, knowing Doug so well, laughed when Nathaniel told him he had prepared a sermon, and with out missing a beat, Nathaniel gave more of a short “charge” to the congregation and went on to do a wonderful and interesting missions presentation. I was proud, even though I was in the back walking around our stir crazy one year old who had just spilled cereal puffs all over the pew and floor. Nathaniel was invited back to speak at their missions conference in February, so I guess the cereal puffs weren’t too much of a problem.
We had really wanted to spend some special time with Nathaniel’s cousin, husband, and their gorgeous daughter, so late Sunday night while they were working at the town’s only movie theater, we stopped in to say hello. Have you ever gotten to see the inner workings of a movie theater? It is so fun up there in the reel-room. They gave us a tour of what it is like to have to cut the film strips and move the reels and make sure everything is running smoothly. They also told us what it is like to order movies from the companies, and which movies sell the most (incidentally, Tyler Perry movies do really well there). But, what we really enjoyed was their company and letting our little children, who are only a month apart, play and get to know each other. We are really excited because their future plans include moving back to Huanta.
After a super fun-filled weekend, on Monday we said our good-byes and headed home. Jeremiah was a pretty good traveler, although after that trip we decided he needed to face forward from then on – it eliminates the screaming significantly. We are really going to miss knowing that these friends are just a few hours away, but we are also happy that we have extended family (literally and figuratively) in a sweet little southern town just a short 4 hours south west of us.See what else the G's are doing: www.servinginkas.com