I cannot believe that it has been six weeks since we left Australia and landed ourselves in Garden Valley, East Texas. Our new home was quickly tagged as “Life in a Cow Pasture!” We were surrounded by open fields, lots of trees and a farm on the hill. The farm on the hill had “regular” cows, but just up the road there are longhorns. We had two days to settle in before we commenced our training program.
Training was five, sometimes six days a week and from 8-4. We learnt so much that each day felt like information was spilling out! There was so much to take in. Some days were overwhelming and some days were just mind-blowing. It was an amazing experience. We have also met some awesome people from all over the world that have incredible stories of how they came to be here. It is so exciting that, in two weeks, we will be going to the ship with this fabulous group of people.
On Wednesday this week, we finished our training by doing a 3-5 minute presentation on what we had been learning over the 5 weeks. With 36 individuals, the presentations ranged from videos, powerpoints, artworks, childrens’ stories, photographs and even an interpretative dance! No two presentations were alike – it was awesome and we celebrated with an African lunch to start it all off.
Dave’s presentation was an artwork of lines representing the history of his family, our family and now the people that we have met and where we are going. The actual art work is about 3 metres wide and 1 metre tall (fortunately it all folds up for easy transport!) He also made a film of the images and talked through the history and what lies ahead. I created (in Artisan) a self-portrait with all the information, quotes, Bible verses and things that were meaningful and important to me. I chose a self-portrait because the information had really impacted me and the process was changing and transforming me! They were really random thoughts as I found it hard to process all the information as quickly as it was coming.
Have you ever experienced something where time kind of warps? On one hand it’s amazing to think it has only been five weeks of training and on the other hand it feels like we’ve been in class since 1999! Then in a blink, it is all over and we are moving onto our next adventure.
During our first couple of weeks, Dave was contacted by Mercy Ships’ head doctor, who spoke with him about his knee operation, his resulting DVT and then his current blood thinning medication. There were concerns about him travelling to Haiti. It was one thing to be injured in the US but to be injured in Haiti would be a whole different matter and far too risky. The doctor decided that Dave was unable to travel to Haiti. Over the course of the next week, we decided to stay together as a family and head off on a bit of a US road trip!
So here we are, sitting in Grand Tetons National Park on our way to Yellowstone National Park! Dave has always wanted to go to Yellowstone and today is his birthday! We’ve already spent two days on the road and we are enjoying being together as a family of four. We still think in “fives” but are pleased to report that Chloe is doing extremely well without us (she misses us, and we miss her but she is doing fine!) Today while we are enjoying a pleasant summer day, Chloe is snowed in in the Snowy Mountains skiing and at the moment the roads are closed because of the snow and she can’t get home.