Back around Christmas time, Steve’s sister and her husband let the family know that they had been called and asked to serve as mission leaders for our church – a three year commitment. Their location assignment at the time was unknown, but already they were making preparations to step away from their life and family for an extended period of time.
Almost a month later, we were invited to their home where they read the letter announcing their location assignment. We all made our guesses. Christy and James already knew the assignment, but they were asked to wait to announce it to anyone until that evening. So we were trying to read clues and body language as to where they might go.
We knew they had been asked if they would be willing to go to a “hard” mission to which James was eager and Christy was reluctant but agreeable. James learned french on his mission when he was younger so Steve and I started to speculate they would be assigned to an African country, french speaking…we weren’t far off. They were called to Sierra Leone, Freetown mission (however, not french speaking).
Upon hearing the announcement, Steve’s parents were more excited than anyone having served the people of Ghana for years. I think it’s safe to say everyone else was nervously excited for them. Being mission leaders is no small task – having that assignment in Africa is an even bigger task. Not only are they learning how to lead, they’re learning new cultures and languages. (Not to mention they may not have family visitors like they would in other missions that are a little easier and cheaper to get to!)
Our family was able to go visit them and bid farewell just before they left. Their house was in the process of being packed up (their son is going to move in while they’re away), their suitcases were open in the living room, full of necessities and food products (they already shipped a container of goods), and the nerves were palpable. I can’t imagine what they’re feeling and the anticipation they must have.
Bottom line: These two are going to be amazing leaders and I can only hope my children have mission leaders like them when they serve. They are loving and doting parents and grandparents who are uprooting their lives to serve and their entire family is making a sacrifice with them. We are beyond anxious to start following their journey from afar.
When we were traveling home from Lake Powell last week, Steve noticed what appeared to be a fire burning in the far distance in the direction we were headed. As we drove closer, just outside of Flagstaff, we saw emergency response vehicles evacuating neighborhoods along the highway and then our phones started notifying us all the evacuations in the area. Emergency vehicles were starting to line the streets with cones and message boards, and we quickly realized they were shutting down the highway.
The thought of turning around and heading back to Lake Powell was discouraging and we got nervous the more cones and emergency vehicles we came across. By some miracle we made it through just in the nick of time. Just after we passed through the area, we stopped at a gas station and after we gassed up we got a notification that the highway had been shutdown.
My heart ached for those we saw driving out of town with their cars full of the items they owned – so many homes were asked to evacuate. It brought back memories of when I watched a documentary on the large California fire a few years back that consumed so many homes and I found myself in tears mourning their loss. As we drove by the billowing clouds last week, I found myself once again choked up.
We tracked the fire every day after we returned and soon learned that the highway closure we avoided became a much larger closure when the fire jumped the freeway. Fortunately, people have returned to their homes with little loss and the highway is once again open. Unfortunately, our stormy monsoon season is looming and fire season is just around the corner.
Briggs has been telling me for over a year that he has had a loose tooth. I think the excitement of Cannon losing teeth made him convinced that he too had a loose tooth.
More recently, his tooth was visibly wiggly. After an afternoon in the pool, he came inside and told Steve and I his tooth was really loose. Steve loves to pull our kids teeth and for some reason, I would rather not watch. So he sent Briggs to the kitchen to grab a paper towel so he could do the honors. A minute later, we heard giggling in the kitchen. Briggs came running to us holding his tooth – he decided to pull it out himself.
Evidently, youngest kids learn a new level of independence! 🙂
Several years ago, when we just had three little kids, I had them dress up in Steve’s clothes and did a “When I grow up” theme for Father’s day.
We figured it was about time to recreate the photo. So we got the kids back in the same clothing (which fits a little better than it used to – and the kids were laughing that he still had some of those exact items!) and added Cannon and Briggs – all of them wearing things that distinctly define their dad.
Steve has so many great qualities and is such a powerful role model for our kids – I hope they grow up to be just like him.
Steve continues to magnify his role as a father and it’s beautiful to witness. We are happy to celebrate him any chance we get.
There’s always too many pictures for me to choose just a few. Our favorite week of the year definitely deserves two posts… 🙂
And that’s a wrap until next year…