Our eighteen month mission and our time in South Africa has come to an end and so will the blog. I have enjoyed keeping it up both as a way to keep in touch with friends and family and to chronicle our mission. I wanted to make one final post because, to me, returning home seems to be an important part of the journey. After a very, very, very long flight and almost missing our last leg to Las Vegas because we were going by the information printed in Johannesburg, we finally arrived home! We landed in Las Vegas where a couple of our kids with their families met us at the airport.
As you would expect, all of the kids had grown so much. Peter who is standing by me was a tiny baby when we left.
We met baby Kate for the first time; she wasn't too sure of us at first, but warmed pretty quickly.
Ruby and Maia. Maia had lost her front teeth teeth and grown her permanent ones in the time we were gone.
A grandma and grandpa portrait in the airport with seven of our twenty five grandchildren.
Grandpa with the two youngest grandchildren, Kate and Peter.
We arrived late so we stayed over night in Las Vegas. The next day two more families came.
and we had a Cafe Rio party! Hooray for Mexican food!
The next afternoon, our kids drove us home because we had no wheels--a little reversal of the many years we drove them around because they had no wheels :)
Congratulating ourselves on arriving back to our own house. Bags still to unpack as you can see.
The next day, we drove down to St. George to pick up a vehicle that Amie had secured for us--she did all of the hunting and checking and double and triple checking (she's a major bargain shopper) and got just the vehicle we were looking for. Thanks Amie for offering to take on that big task that is never fun.
The next day the kids came up to the cabin for a 24th of July BBQ (or maybe I should now say braai since we've lived in South Africa). This little Gabe is a mini-grandpa and wanted his mom to get him an apron because grandpa wears an apron.
It's good to be home! This is our son Dan who monitored and maintained the cabin while we were gone. He and all of the kids and grandkids worked really hard to get our house and yard and park cleaned up and ready for us. We know it was a ton of work; thanks everyone! They even planted flowers for us as you can see.
They even brought up a batch of cute puppies who played in the yard until they wore themselves out and took a nap on the grass.
Then the next day, we went down to St. George again (we look forward to lots of backs and forths to all of the places our kids live in the coming years.) We went to Jimmy Johns for lunch which is another place that we have been missing while we were gone.
This was a cute little note that Sophia wrote. We were SO happy to be coming to your house Sophia and to all of our kids and grandkids houses. We haven't seen them all yet. Since we are having our family reunion in only a week, it didn't make sense for the other four families who live further away to travel down for the homecoming and then come back again in a week. So we're excited to see them all again for the first time in a year and a half.
There are many, many things we will miss about our mission in South Africa. We'll miss our work, we'll miss how the church is growing, we'll miss the culture, we'll miss our adventures, we'll miss the birds and the animals, we'll miss some of the food, especially the fruit and vegetable market! But at the top of the list of things we'll miss are the wonderful people that we got to know. Africa will always have a place in our hearts now, but as almost everyone agrees, THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME!