Wednesday, August 10, 2016

And we are back!

It was almost 3 months ago we wrote our last blog. The last 3 months have been a whirlwind of leaving Colombia, Home Assignment in the US (2 1/2 months), and returning to Colombia. During Home Assignment we visited churches in Colorado, South Carolina, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. We attended the Summer Missionary Conference just outside Chicago, and Curtis presented at the World Hunger Leadership Gathering in Chicago. We visited with friends and family. And so much more!

Sporting our Colombian colors!
Upper left: Curtis and his best friend Andrew
Upper right: Katie and her niece, photo credit Curtis
Bottom: Colombia Ops Team from the Southeastern MN, photo credit Pastor Mark Johnson
The name of our blog is 8000 Feet and Counting (because of the elevation of Bogota, which is just over 8500 feet). So to stick with the tradition of counting things, here are some counting we did during our Home Assignment. We drove over 8000 miles! A huge thank you to my Mom and Dad who loaned us my Mom's car for the majority of that driving, as well as Curtis' parents for loaning us his Mom's car and renting us a car, and Andrew and Leah who loaned us their car. We also stayed in 30 different houses/hotels....I can't list all the gracious people who housed us, but I can say, every single place we were so warmly welcomed and attended to. Thank you! We visited 14 different congregations, attended the South Carolina Synod Assembly, Curtis preached 9 different sermons (each was based on the Lectionary text for that week and how it related to Colombia and our work in Colombia) but because many churches had more than one service, he preached more than 9 times, and I lost count of the number of presentations.

Left: Curtis preaching at St John's Lutheran Church in Northfield, MN.
Upper right: Katie with Pastor Vera at Evergreen Lutheran Church in Evergreen, CO
2nd right:Our display table at St John's Lutheran Church in Beaufort, SC
3rd right: Katie giving the Children's sermon at Faith Lutheran in Dodge Center, MN
4th right: Welcome sign (special for us) at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Johnston, SC
We celebrated my Dad and his twin brother's 70th birthday with a surprise party. Visited my grandparents in Duluth, MN (not really grandparents, but I call them that). Visited with both of Curtis' grandpas. Visited with lots of extended family. Met our niece for the first time - now a year and a half old! Also, visited our other niece and nephew, who are now 9 1/2 and 4 (they've changed so much)....and visited with so many friends.

Happy birthday to my Dad and Uncle Denny! Left photo: Uncle Denny (left) and Dad with their birthday cakes
Right: My Dad and his siblings together for the birthday party, who came from all over the country to celebrate (left to right) Uncle Denny (Arizona), Aunt Julie (Minnesota), Aunt Elaine (Colorado), Dad (Wisconsin)
And some great family time! Upper left photo: Curtis and his Grandpa Kline.
Upper right: Katie's (Andert) family (photo credit, Katie with a timer).
Lower left: Katie's 'grandparents', Don and Barb Garnett, Duluth, MN (photo credit, Bob Garnett).
Lower right, Curtis (Kline) family (photo credit Katie with a timer). 

And some photos are too cute not to share: Curtis and his doubt they are related! 

Curtis with what we brought back to Colombia with us!
Last Wednesday as we finished our Home Assignment we packed everything up, and flew back to Colombia! Thank you to everyone we saw and everyone we met. Thank you to all who welcomed us, the churches who sponsor us, and the churches who support and are interested in Colombia. Thank you to all who listened to our stories and asked such thoughtful (and difficult) questions. The time went too fast, but we are so thankful for the time together.  

P.S. We will return to our regular schedule of blogging every Tuesday, starting next week.