Home and Back Again

And another month has gone by.  This time it was scrambling to prepare for my trip to visit my parents, the trip itself, and recovering from the trip once I got back!

It was just me on this trip, Judy and the girls didn’t travel; the first time I’ve been gone for an extended period away from the girls. But nearly daily Skype & Google Hangouts calls helped. The girls had too much fun with the Hangouts effects and drawing plugins!  When else do they have the opportunity to ‘draw’ on my face and ‘decorate’ me?

View from Mom's Balcony
View from Mom’s Balcony

Dad’s health continues to slowly deteriorate. The first day I visited with him, he didn’t seem to recognize me at all; cordially greeting me as he would with any visitor. There was no recognition in his eyes. But from the second day on, he greeted me by name, “Hi Ray.” The second day, he even asked me how long was my visit, and where was I staying. Otherwise, he was his usual very quiet self, often not even answering questions beyond a simple nod of the head or grunts. On the last day, I read excerpts of dad’s autobiography to him, which he wrote a decade ago. He apparently was able to track what I was reading, as he answered questions that I asked him appropriately.

Now that I got mom’s new Chromebook working for her (and tutoring her how to use it), I helped get her new printer installed and running. Supposedly easy to install on your wireless network?!  HAH. No matter what I did, it didn’t want to recognize mom’s network. (Since Chromebooks don’t directly connect to printers, the printer must be connected to the network for the Chromebook to use Google Cloud Print services to the printer.) I finally had to reconfigure her network for the printer to connect properly.  Yuck.  So much for “easy” and “quick start”. At least it works nicely now.

The Chromebook boots and shuts down so quickly (5 – 7 seconds boot) compared to her old XP machine (several minutes, and then it still crawled.) Pretty much everything she does is now web-based, so it is a good solution for her, and almost no maintenance/administration is needed.

While there, I was able to visit a good handful of old-time friends, including a few that I haven’t seen (or had more than a few sentences of greeting in passing) in many years, even decades (wow). I do so appreciate these friendships. But the trip was too short to catch up with everyone that I would have liked to visit.

My mom’s friend has been advocating for our ministry at her church, and she invited me to visit her church, Streams of Life Fellowship. Though there was some mis-communication, at the last minute her pastor was willing to let me briefly share about our ministry with the congregation at the end of the service. I greatly enjoyed talking with a number of individuals after the service, and their prayer team was especially interested in praying for me and our ministry. Turns out my former youth pastor also attends this church!

The second Sunday, I was scheduled to give the morning message at the church where I grew up, Manoa Valley Church. This was the first time in many years that I’ve been asked to do more than a “missions moment” or a Sunday School class. Fortunately it went very well, and apparently well received, that my message was very appropriate in timing for the needs of the church. The pastor had shared with me two areas that the church needed to grow, which turned out to be the two points of my message! You can hear the my message on the church’s website – listen or grab it before it rolls into the church archives. It’s June 8th, “What Do You Do?“.

Returning to Texas (not being able to sleep on the plane much), I was greeted with this sign over the garage door into the house:

Welcome Home Daddy!
Welcome Home Daddy!

It’s taken a number of days to catch up on the yard work, the stack of mail and bills, and the nice stack of contact update forms that people have mailed back to us, some with very nice notes. And one with a check mark but no personal info at all nor return address! Uh, Baltimore postmark, but that’s it. Another form also didn’t have any personal info filled out, but the envelope had a doodle in the return address spot that I instantly recognized, so I knew who that form was from.

Now to get all of these responses organized and get everything into my MailChimp account so that we can start sending out prayer/praise updates via email.

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