We landed in Columbus, Ohio on July 21 to a great welcome from some of Gaby's best friends from her school there. She was so happy to spend the afternoon with her friends again.
That same night Marcus and I went to watch a Clipper's game. It was a beautiful evening for baseball and a cool surprise was that I actually knew the starting catcher for the Clippers; we went to EMU together!
On Sunday we got together with our church, Columbus Network of Microchurches. We brought along some Ecuadorian jewelry to sell to help us raise more support as we support local artisans from Ecuador.
The next week we went to visit friends in Johnsville, Ohio and then on to Conservative Mennonite Conference in Kidron.
We got back to Columbus the next Sunday for another picnic with our church.
Monday all day Naty and I got together with the LAMP (Latin American Missions Partnership) team in Hartville, Ohio where we met some new potential international workers from Costa Rica over Skype.
From Ohio we headed east to Virginia where we stayed with our friends Russ and Melissa and their family.
We invited several friends and supporters from the Harrisonburg area to join us at Taste of Thai restaurant and we had a great time reconnecting with many friends there.
From VA we headed to PA and spent the first few nights with Naty's Belleville family and also her sister and her family.
It was Thea's first time in Amish country!
She loved seeing all the country. I sometimes wonder if she thinks she's a Holstein cow since she's also black and white!
We were glad to visit with (great)-grandma Hostetler.
We spent two days and two nights camping with all of the Peachey family near Lancaster, PA.
I finally had the chance to relax. This was probably the highlight of the trip for me!
After camping we got to visit with some of our great friends, the Tutens, from AAI. After 9 years in Ecuador they moved back to Pennsylvania this summer. We will miss them dearly, but are so glad they live in PA so we can see them when we get home in the summers.
After camping we went back to Belleville where we got to take in the fireman's parade and festival.
They were throwing Hartley's chips?!? What a treat!
I was glad to get back on a road bike again.
At 12:00 midnight, Marcus and I got up to help my brother Daniel start cooking pork shoulders for our second annual pulled pork fundraiser.
The next day we had more of the family involved in the smoking process.
Then Sunday, with help from lots of others at our church we fed over 350 people and raised $6,500 for our support for the coming year.
We ended our time in Belleville visiting with our pastor and mentor Max.
And also with some other great friends and supporters.
After that, Naty and I flew back to Ecuador and Gaby and Marcus stayed in Bellville for almost two more weeks.